As the COVID-19 pandemic began its steady spread, Juman sensed it was time to move—physically and spiritually. The Melbourne raised singer-songwriter-producer, who is of Palestinian-Turkish-Jordanian background, had battled a sensitive immune system since childhood and knew it was time to take self-care further, so she made some sweeping life changes that had both positive and negative effects on life as she knew it. But with the loss came something she never anticipated – radical compassion.
Tapping into those feelings, Juman turned to music. Tear Time is the latest in a string of bite-sized EPs released since 2018. Like all her work, she transports listeners into an eclectic musical world—influenced by Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, Amy Winehouse and jazz—via chill, kaleidoscopic sounds that are as seductive as they are gently vibrant.
Today, Juman says that the process has emboldened her calling to “facilitate safe spaces for women to journey musically together.” Here she speaks to Audiofemme about radical love, healing, and acceptance.
AF: What was happening during that month that inspired Tear Time?
J: March was a month of metamorphosis. Towards the closing of 2019 I made the decision to radically commit to my health and well being. My health is something that I have struggled with since I was a small child. My immune system was down, and I was extremely susceptible to catching everything under the sun. I have always been very dedicated to my health, but it was time to take it to new heights and radically commit. So, I moved in with my mum for a couple of months so that I could afford to pay for therapies and medical tests I was called to do.
Another commitment I made to myself was to move to northern NSW (New South Wales) by the end of February 2020. Since then, my health has never been better, and I now feel like I am thriving in such a newfound capacity. I have always had such a strong pull to this land and my body feels so alive here. This was an extremely hard decision for me to make for many reasons, but mainly because I was in a committed relationship. I was extremely grateful that he was in full support of my decision. He had seen me really struggle throughout our relationship with my health. Melbourne was no longer serving me, and he understood this. He wanted to see me thrive and be well. He was planning to move up with me in a few months, but that never eventuated. When I moved, an explosion of trauma arose to
the surface, boundaries were crossed, and trust was broken. We ended up parting ways.
Throughout this separation there were many fluctuations of contrasting emotions that arose, and the strongest one of them all that constantly held me together through this roller coaster ride was compassion. Such deep compassion! Compassion for our individual struggles and wounding and compassion for the terrified and hurt children that live inside of us that long to be heard, held, and loved! These series of decisions and events that then lead to this breakup inspired this EP. These songs were a way to emotionally process my experiences.
AF: You’ve recently written about “Eradicating those restricting ideas that have been existing in my mind, body and soul.” What are those restricting ideas you’ve been eradicating?
J: The ideas that I’ve been eradicating is this notion that I’m unworthy of love and believing it is unsafe to step into my power. A few stories were at play around these themes, one of them being the suppression of women by men in my culture and what they aren’t, and allowed, to do. It took much excavation to get to these core themes that were buried so deep in my subconscious. It’s all about seeking support. We aren’t here to do it alone. There are different self development modalities and therapies that aid in this exploration. Kinesiology and Somatic therapy have been life changing for me when it comes to uncovering and clearing these deep core wounding’s. When I say, ‘to make more space for greatness,’ I’m referring to this newfound life path potential that has awoken in me. A life of utmost beauty and perfection, heaven on earth!
AF: Did you grow up in a musical family?
J: I grew up with my mum and my two sisters. Nobody in my family played music or sang; they are all great dancers though, so I guess you could say they expressed music through their bodies’ movement. My soul Mumma Sandra, who I also consider to be one of my best friends, my mentor and second mother was a major musical influence in my life. She was my vocal coach and choir teacher when I was seven years old. We spent a lot of time together. She would take me to all of her jazz gigs and would always get me up with the band to sing a standard or two. I was exposed to lots of great music but mainly jazz, soul, and some folk.
My Grandmother who I feel very spiritually connected to lives in both Turkey and Sharjah (in the United Arab Emirates). She used to sing Turkish Opera when she was younger. She was the vocalist in her school orchestra when she was younger, but when her father found out he forbade her from participating. Apparently, he was a very harsh man. Just to paint a picture, he was the general of the Army in Turkey – that’s got to say something. When she married my grandfather and had the freedom to make her own decisions, she brought music back into her life. She would organize regular gatherings with her friends and they would all joyfully sing Turkish songs together. I am very grateful that her gift of song was passed down to me.
AF: What drives your creative process?
J: Creating music is my own personal therapy. I would say this is my main driving force. To give myself the space and time to honor my existence. To really hear myself out. To hold space for myself. To be my own best friend.
All my songs are created from a place of love – love for myself, love for others, love for nature, love for my experiences past, present, and future. Whether they be “good” or “bad” there is always light in the darkest places. Even when I’m expressing anger or pain in music, it is always held with love and acceptance for what is present. Self love is one of the most powerful gifts I am able to give myself. The music I create is an expression of this and is the most loving thing I can do for myself. It’s a space to feel into things without judgment regardless of how ugly or confronting. To just hold myself and the world around me with love and acceptance.
AF: What do you want listeners to experience when they listen to your work?
J: I want my music to act as therapy, motivation, and inspiration for listeners just as my music does for me. I hope that the heartwarming and healing experiences that I have with my music creation is reflected in how people experience it also. I hope that my music inspires people to love themselves more and more each day, as it does for me.
Follow Juman on Instagram for ongoing updates.