From Motown Vibes to Activist Lyrics: Unpacking Julie Title’s ‘Running’

“… and so everyone becomes isolated in their own struggle…”

Julie Title - Running

Speaking to singer, songwriter Julie Title about her brand new single Running, released on the 23rd of February, her passion about the new song, and of the messages it contains within, become very clear, and all too very, very evident: especially when touching on the subject of the environment, and about what she pens, dauntingly, as, “late-stage capitalism”.

“Running, is a folk rock track I recorded with Canadian heavy hitters Erik Nielsen (City and Colour) and Aaron Goldstein (City and Colour, Daniel Romano, Kathleen Edwards). Erik can be heard on bass and Aaron is featured on electric guitar, drums and organ. The song was recorded in both Vancouver and Toronto,” Julie reveals during our interview. “I composed and performed the music and lyrics on acoustic guitar and vocals, and performed and arranged all backing vocals and co-produced,” she continues excitedly, apparently rushing to get every word out just in case one should fall unseen by the wayside: she was obviously very hands-on during the whole process, something that doesn’t come as a surprise after you have spoken to her.

          For on Running, Julie’s is a haunting voice, angst-filled yet beguiling and distracting, whilst the lyrics, absorbing, even if overtly doom-laden, are coloured with an accompanying soul-searching harmony from Goldstein’s almost sobbing guitar and heart-beating drum. The song has an unmistakeable “Motown” tinge, a very 60s, early 70s feel, reminiscent of activists like Joni Mitchell and Laura Nyro; bittersweet and teetering on being, or becoming, lost, a paradox of vibrancy and mournful concern, ever fearful of all that is here in the present, swirling all about us and around us, and all that is approaching far too fast, as yet unseen! And Julie is finding this whole prospect terrifying.

“The Joni comparison is beyond flattering, so thank you,” she tells me, almost sounding embarrassed. “My early influences did include Joni, along with Crosby, Stills,

Nash and Young, Sarah McLachlan, Alanis Morissette… And I grew up on, and love everything to do with, Lilith Fair, Tori Amos, Mazzy Star and PJ Harvey.”

          Not surprising then that the track has such an activist’s attitude?

“Running is a song that attempts to capture the emotional moment of late-stage capitalism and environmental decline,” she is desperate to explain, her tone of foreboding strong. “Particularly the lyrics, ‘all my friends are starting over / fumbling for the exit light / just one more day, one more week, one more night’. This captured the hamster wheel of capitalism where people are in survival mode, working themselves sick just to get to the next moment where you might rest only to find that you can’t.

“Everyone I know,” she continues with that real sense of urgency, “is just dragging themselves through the intense demands of the cost of living crisis, trying to raise a family while your community is too bogged down in their own suffering to help you and so everyone becomes isolated in their own struggle to make ends meet.”

          But the song, amongst this gnawing dread and universal struggle, also dwells on Julie’s strong anxieties for our future, especially in the face of the environment’s inevitable decline, a decline which she fears will make everything seem, “sort of futile and nihilistic, like okay let’s say you keep running on that hamster wheel and making it work and making yourself sick keeping up with inflation – what is it all for if the world is ending?” she asks. “If the people in power don’t care and won’t change? If the kids won’t have a healthy safe place to grow up? It’s like, why bother?” she adds quickly, still insistent though, despite all this, that our only option is to continue, is to simply carry on.

“That’s where the line, ‘you might not wanna live but you don’t wanna die’, comes from,” she tells me. “It’s a vague suicidality that I, along with my friends, especially in the neuro-divergent and queer community, experience regularly.”

Julie Title

          Growing up north of Toronto, Julie went to the University of Toronto, double majoring in English Literature and Gender Studies, subjects that have, without doubt, coloured and infused her writing, at least currently. She has certainly invested a lot of herself passionately throughout Running, the new single encapsulating her fears and her vision of a bleak future that she sees oncoming with a sense of crashing stark inevitability. And it seems that she holds little optimism with the way things are going? It is an unpromising outlook; desolate and depressing, and forlorn of any real hope for us, individually or collectively. But has that really been her sole experience, everyone now too isolated or too busy to help, even in this day and age; after a world-wide pandemic, of food banks, and with numerous supposed avenues of support and comfort?

          Is it all still so wretched?

          And what of her future? Can she at least leave us with some small flicker of hope there?

“I have a 4 song E.P. coming out this summer… still untitled,” she reveals, “but it will be a departure from the folk sound, and more of an indie vibe,” she promises, surprisingly upbeat all of a sudden.

          You never know, perhaps there is reason to be optimistic, somewhere?

Running was released on the 23rd of February

Connect with Julie Title via


Find Running by Julie Title on our NEW INDIE MUSIC playlist!

Simon Gale
the authorSimon Gale
Simon was born in London but now lives in beautiful Cornwall. Whilst waiting for his first novel to be discovered by the rest of the world, he spends his time reading anything and everything, and listening to and writing about the music he is passionate about.


  • Her vocals draw you into another world, accompanied with the music video it’s both a spooky but also a really emotional experience. It’s the kind of song you can listen to on repeat and won’t ever get sick of it. I agree with the Joni Mitchell comparison, love this article!

Leave a Reply