“.. We’ll set aside our pride and teach by showing, pain as a part of life and fear as a twisting knife ..” — Julia Cannon’s “The Shore”

Donna Block
6 min readMay 20, 2021


Julia Cannon is a Nashville-based singer-songwriter and music producer who is hard to forget. Her soothing, honeyed voice and quirky personality offer a pleasing contrast to the bittersweet honesty of her lyrics. Cannon was raised in Alaska by a hardworking Filipino mother, in a household Cannon could only describe as “unorthodox.” She developed her wicked sense of humor and offbeat persona early on. As one of only a few people of color in a mostly white, ultra-conservative community, her creative voice cemented her identity as a young woman who could not — and would not — be overwritten.

“Our ancestors can come from so many different cultures, which means that we don’t fit in a box.” How can we use music to achieve positive social change?

I think that the answer lies in being as true to ourselves as we can be. People are always trying to fit us into categories because that’s how humans try to process things, but it often gets in the way of positive social change. And it’s often a subconscious bias too, so we don’t even notice when we’re doing it. The less that we try to pander to boxes, the less boxes we’ll fit into.

“I highly recommend recording yourself when you practice.” Without much feedback from fellow artists and fans this past year, what else have you found yourself relying on to continue to evolve your craft?

I was in therapy this last year which helped me to process the mountain of garbage that we were all dealing with. In therapy, we talked about how I have been motivated by an audience my whole life and that during the pandemic, I had to find a healthier and more consistent motivator. I was so busy before Covid that I only had time to do what I needed to do and not enough time set aside to explore my creativity regularly. My input to output balance was off. I was focused on