With his EP release set for this Friday May 6th, the unique journey of Juni Ata continues to be told through his sonic storytelling.
The five new tracks on Some Songs are an homage to his sojourn with vulnerability, loss, and perseverance, and is delivered with a magnetically melodic sensibility.
Growing up in a household surrounded by music, Ata- whose real name is Jesse Daniel Edwards- has early memories of family and music. By his teen years, he was writing music, and playing half-a-dozen instruments. The dream of being a professional musician was in full swing.
As an adult, Ata moved to Nashville from his home in California and found a mentor in iconic artist manager Al Bunetta (John Prine). The two became close friends, and Ata says Bunetta always believed in him. However, Bunetta’s 2015 passing was the first in a string of tragedies for the artist, leading to the indefinite pause on his dream.
In 2018, Ata was spending time with friend and fellow musician Jake Rosswog, who was not only encouraging, but also the “galvanizing force” behind the recording of his songwriting. That paired with the ample time the two had in 2020 led to the release of his first solo album, Saudade.
Now, Ata is on the cusp of releasing his latest collection of sonic musings with Some Songs.
We got the chance to chat with Ata about his journey, the new album, and much more.
Can you share with us a little bit about your journey into making music and what led you to be a songwriter?
I grew up in a small town, and the imagination was the one and ONLY method by which to explore the world beyond its humble bounds. To this day, creativity through poetry and music has been the most genuine and profound way to communicate to the others monkeys on this rock- the grace, the passion, the pathos. Poetry is our salvation, music is our soul. Never forget that, people.
It seems like a long journey for you in terms of putting out solo music as Juni Ata. Was there a tipping point for you when you decided to finally pull the plug and start releasing your own music?
Not one tipping point, but a series of seasons; just like the seasons of love, happiness, sparrow and hope. I lost everything! It felt that way, anyway- but then, a season of renewal dawned once more, and with it, a season of new songs. Be true to your self, and be true to your season. Do not look for the turning of the seasons, merely ready thyself to receive it.
So you’ve got your new EP, Some Songs, soon to be released. What’s so special about this collection of songs to you?
These songs perfect endcap the massive musical marathon of Saudade, and Juni Ata. What two men set out to do (Jacob Rosswog, and Jesse Daniel Muthafucking Edwards)- and succinctly put that is, craft a beautiful tender, but poignant, GRITTY sounds collection- is now DONE. With this final extension of that session, the EP, Some Songs.
Is there an overarching theme or motif throughout?
Many- vulnerability, grief and abject loss, but the hope and faint, phantasmic promise of redemption. And always, Always, ALWAYS- Love. Live for Love = Love for Life.
What made you choose the track, “Someone Else’s Rising Sun,” to be the lead single?
Jacob chose it, based on a number of elements such as: tempo, vibe, time of year, perception of general trends etc, and overall rocking-ness of said track. It represents us trying out some “badass” chi- only you can say if it works or unworks ya.
And how did you get hooked up with Sierra Ferrell to be on the track with you?
We met because of another mutual friend in Nashville, Travis Stephens. He is a great orchestrator of personages. We needed someone vibey, on-the-level, and certainly musical, to lend shades and hues to some of these tracks. Lo and behold, Sierra shows up and just dives in, kills it, AND hangs like a muthaboss. She’s a gem, a Gem, a GEM- as an artist, and as a personage.
How might Some Songs compare and contrast from your previous album, Saudade?
It is one and the same, but later on.
I see you’ve worked with a host of notable artists in the past. What are one or two pinnacle moments in your musical career thus far?
Getting kicked out of a festival for the bands’ bad behavior (after a standing ovation), and possibly saving my friend’s life.
While it may be like picking a favorite child, what song or two on the new record are you most excited for fans to hear? How about to play live?
The EP, Some Songs, are my favs of the Saudade session, hands down and planted. Let it be known.
What else might you have planned for spring and summer?
Tours, regional gigs? Singing, playing- basically wherever they’ll have me. Blessed to be alive, blessed to get to jive. God bless you, all of you.