Georgia-born singer-songwriter Julianna Smaltz, also known as Shebloom, debuted her EP Rotations last Thursday during a release party at Vinyl. Following her 2019 single “Burn,” Smaltz’s four-track EP explores her identity and evolution as a musician and as a woman.
With Smaltz’s gospel music background and soulful, experimental pop vocals, Rotations provides a genre-bending sneak peek into her artistry.
ARTS ATL caught up with Smaltz to talk about her hopes for the EP and about the important message it carries to her fans.
ARTS ATL: Where did you find the alias Shebloom?
Julianna Smaltz: My producer name is Shebloom, but I still love to be who I am, Julianna. I want to release acoustic content that’s underneath Julianna, and then Shebloom becomes more of this evolution of me expanding my soundscapes. Shebloom is this thematic reminder to myself that I am always evolving and continually trying to reach this beautiful realization of self and what my music is supposed to be. With Shebloom, I don’t have any genre, I don’t have any box, I can experiment. Regardless of what inspires me, Shebloom is for me to work on myself and keep evolving.
ARTS ATL: What is your intent with Rotations?
Smaltz: I want people to hear me and my lyrics — just enjoy the lyrical content I have to offer and have fun exploring the complexity of it. “Meanwhile” is more of a poem — it’s going to give you a story, and you’re going to interpret it how you want to. My lyrics and my natural talent are really going to pull people in — I know they’re strong enough to. Also, the relationship I have with horns, specifically the trombone I have on the EP, is really beautiful. Blending with the trombone does something to my tone, so I’m going to experiment a lot with brass instruments as I keep making acoustic music.
ARTS ATL: Is there a specific song on Rotations that you feel most connected to?
Smaltz: The last song on the EP, called “Second Time,” was a very intimate recording — it was a one take. I sat at the piano and was recording the piano and my vocals at the same time; there was no editing. That song was the first song I wrote after a very long period of not writing music last year. I was going through a really dark depression after this relationship ended — he was also my music collaborator. We had made so many songs that we didn’t release, so I had to say goodbye to all of that. [“Second Time”] is kind of like this reset of a song — I felt fresh, I felt like a new songwriter, kind of a new person. That song means a lot to me because I want to encourage other people that it doesn’t matter the cycle that you have been through; you can find fulfillment and satisfaction in your life if you just ride through it and embrace whatever change is coming.
ARTS ATL: Why do you make music?
Smaltz: To spark freedom inside other people and self-curiosity because whatever I have within me is within you. Whatever brief moments of joy that I have during a recording can be made to last forever in a song and make other people feel good. There’s something deeper within all of this, a deeper joy, a deeper sense of fulfillment that I’m still searching for. I want to inspire self-awareness.
ARTS ATL: What obstacles do you approach as a musician?
Smaltz: I’m still trying to discover why I keep going. A lot of people ask me, “Why do you keep going? I’ve seen you do this since high school.” I think it’s because I haven’t reached my best self yet. I know a lot of musicians that go hard — they’re touring, they’re putting out records, they have found a way to get signed and they have a full-time job. When I see how other people are capable of doing that, there’s no way I can throw in the towel; I’m not there yet. I know I have so much more to give, [and] once I can get over myself all these hurdles, I can really start giving more selflessly with music.