At first glance, you think you are witnessing one of the newest models to hit the scene. With perfectly sculpted cheekbones and angled jawline, this 6-foot, 2-inch goddess will set catwalks ablaze. Juliann Johnson may not be a model but she is taking the world by storm as an international pro volleyball star and songstress. Added to her accomplishments, she has multiple endorsements which are managed by Naturally Fit Agency.
Join us as Johnson shares being trained in classical music, an unexpected love for volleyball, and the unveiling of her new album, Complete, which was written in only five months.
Q: You are an international pro volleyball player, artist, singer, and songwriter. How are you able to balance and manage your time?
JJ: I sometimes get overwhelmed with the demands that come from balancing so many different things, but then I just step back and realize how grateful I am for the opportunities to do all of that. I think our natural thought as humans is to limit ourselves to one thing, but in reality, we are limitless. I try to focus on what I am doing in the moment. Right now I am in Japan playing volleyball and the demands are high with traveling and playing so much. But as soon as I get free time I am writing, or singing because it’s a good way to relax my mind from volleyball. I just try to enjoy the moment and do what I can, as best as I can.
Q: How excited are you about the 2020 Olympic games in Japan?
JJ: I’m super excited. Right now I am not in the USA gym training with the team as a member of the squad, so I don’t know if I will get the opportunity to be there, but I never want to give up on myself, or the dream. Anything can happen. So as long as I continue playing the best that I can and training as hard as I can, I will be ready for the opportunity when it presents itself.
Q: At what age were you classically trained in music?
JJ: I started being trained classically my freshman year in high school. I was in the choir, and my teacher was one of the best in the state of California. She took me under her wing and taught me a lot about music.
Q: What instruments do you play?
JJ: I started out by learning the violin, but never quite picked it up. I don’t play any instruments now, but I have taken piano and guitar classes.
Q: In your early years, what caused the shift from music to volleyball?
JJ: I was a competitive gymnast for most of my childhood until I just sprouted up and became too tall for the sport. My dad had been urging me to try volleyball, so I went to a camp and fell in love with it. I went in crying and left not wanting to leave.
Q: Did your father, former linebacker for the San Diego Chargers, encourage you to pursue a career in sports?
JJ: Absolutely. He wasn’t fond of me being a gymnast and then a cheerleader, but always supported me. Once I was hooked on volleyball he was thrilled and that’s when we got really got close. We could relate on the sports level and he is a huge reason why I am where I am today with my volleyball career. He has pushed me to be the best I can be and has been the best coach I could ask for.
Q: You suffered a serious knee injury in 2016. Did that change the trajectory of your life and career?
JJ: Yes. It was a pivotal time in my life, where I suffered some depression and life changes. I hadn’t realized how much playing volleyball really meant to me, as I had lost some of the love for it in the recent years leading up to my injury. After my injury, I made a decision to get stronger mentally more than anything. I had always been the strongest in the room physically but I could never master my mind, and that had hindered me a lot in my career. So during the time of my recovery, I focused on meditation, visualization, I read a ton, and that’s when I wrote my first album, Complete. I did a lot of soul searching during that time, and it turned out to be the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
Q: Tell us about your first single “what I need” and the second single “Fantasia?”
JJ: I co-wrote and recorded them both in Italy when I was playing professionally there. It was so fun to be able to do that. I had never been in a recording studio before recording music. It was such a fresh and invigorating feeling. I didn’t think anything would come from recording the first single, but shortly after its release, I was asked to work on Fantasia. It did pretty well in Italy. It was a fun time for me.
Q: What’s most important in your life now?
JJ: Peace and balance. My husband. And being the best version of myself daily.
Q: Tell us about the new album Complete. What can we expect from it?
JJ: Honestly it’s just about my journey to understanding who I am and learning about how to love myself and be okay with where I’m at. Much of it is about freeing myself from negativity and embracing who I am fully. I didn’t expect to release it until it was almost finished and people who heard it said it had impacted them. I realized that it needed to be released because maybe it could help one person out there struggling like I was. I hope that it could bring positivity and light to the world.
Q: Were there any collaborations?
JJ: I worked with producer Maurice Alexander, aka Malex, who was the engineer on the Recovery album by Eminem. He is a Dallas producer and friend. I also collabed with Erreon Lee, a Dallas based rapper who featured on my song “Fearless”, which happens to be my favorite song on the album.
Q: You wrote the entire album in 5 months! Where did you draw inspiration to write the album?
JJ: Mostly from my experiences playing volleyball actually. Sports tend to pull a lot of emotions out of you, and your ego shows big time in low moments. The last couple of years before I wrote this album had been really tough for me in my career, and I wasn’t where I wanted to be. I wasn’t confident in myself and I wasn’t free to just play. And it started to bleed into my everyday life. So I liberated myself by writing about it, and that’s why the songs mean so much to me. And the lineup of each song is basically my journey into being Complete.
Q: What are you most proud of about the album?
JJ: That it came from myself, and that I could accomplish doing something like that. Writing seven songs with little help was something I never dreamed I could do.
Q: Are you able to record in Japan?
JJ: I haven’t found anyone to collaborate with here yet, but I’m working on it!
Q: Has blogging helped with the transition to Japan?
JJ: For sure. It’s been a great way to document what I am doing and understand the culture. In order to blog and video log, I’ve got to get out and explore. So that’s helped with getting out of my comfort zone and seeing as much as I can.
Q: Tell us about the campaign “bridging the gap?”
JJ: Bridging the Gap is a campaign about bringing women of all ages closer together. It’s about realizing that age has no limit, whether you are in midlife or a millennial, we are all one. More than anything, it’s about crushing those stereotypes that society puts on women. The campaign brought mostly female bloggers together from all over the world. One midlifer and one millennial, paired together to bridge the gap between age, where we wrote about one another and examined how truly similar we all really are. Thanks to Catherine Grace O, the leader of this campaign, my life has been changed from the experience.
Q: Where can we purchase your album?
Q: What are your social media handles?
Twitter and Instagram: @JuliannJohnson_
Facebook Page: facebook.com/juliannfaucettejohnson