Today, WOLF is back with a new single called “Hoops,” featured below, and it’s a flowing alt-pop anthem that shows the New York singer-songwriter celebrating her closest pals.
“I wrote it about a year ago actually,” Julia Wolf tells American Songwriter over email. “It came from a nostalgic standpoint thinking back to college when my friends and I would shoot hoops everyday after class. Seeing as I always showed up in my TUK platform shoes and the skinniest jeans known to mankind, I realized the routine we were forming was less about the game and more of a place to talk about life and share advice.”
“That kind of honesty is something I cherish,” Wolf continues. “I want people to hear the song and apply it to their own lives, remembering how imperative it is to keep these connections alive. As someone who was a shyer kid growing up (and would end up eating alone in the choral room everyday), I really missed out on those kinds of bonds. But finding them later in life has made me appreciate it all the more. I had to express gratitude for the people who allow me to be myself completely and unapologetically.”
“We wanted to make the track highlight the lyrics as much as possible, and pull from the hip hop influence that I’ve always loved,” says Wolf. “I’m constantly telling Jackson to make the 808s louder! When we started messing with the lead guitar and landed on that strum pattern I instantly knew it gave me the same energy I felt when I was on the court, a sort of giddy dance-around-my-bedroom type feel, or singing at the top of your lungs in the car.”
The final product is lush and atmospheric. “Put the car in park / spilling out your heart,” Wolf sings in the track, her voice shining over crisp electronic percussion. “I would never lie / I’m fucking real from the start.”
“Lyrics always come first,” Wolf says of her songwriting process. “The most random line will pop up in my head and trigger a whole song, or perhaps a strong flood of emotion from something I experienced will do it too. The flow and melody sort of naturally align afterwards. After lyrics I’ll open up a logic session and start producing a rough draft of what’s going on in my head. Other times Jackson and I will be in the studio and make the beat from scratch. He’s an absolute genius at fleshing out what I’m envisioning, he knows my style so well, and brings a ton of fresh perspective to the table.”
It’s no surprise that lyrics come first for the Italian-American songstress. After all, her Spotify bio reads “lyrics over everything.”
“My favorite lyricist by far is Frank Ocean,” she says. “I’m also a huge fan of SZA, J Cole, and Ashnikko. Tons of rappers—XXX, Young Thug, the list goes on. They all have such a gift of storytelling with captivating and unexpected word choice and that’s always been what I gravitate towards the most.”
Wolf’s favorite lyric in “Hoops” is the opening line, “Can I have your face / I’m tired of mine.” “When my mom first heard it she actually got mad at me, saying I shouldn’t talk about myself like that,” she recalls. “But I had to laugh because when I wrote it, it came from a place of admiration, like ‘I’m looking at my best friend and this is just how I feel!’”
Another standout lyric in “Hoops” arrives in the second verse: “Brace yourself for the impact / we’re making moves / my favorite sound is cicadas and truth.” “Honesty is a hard quality to come across,” says Wolf of that last line, “and cicadas are…my absolute favorite sound in the world.”
“Hoops” follows a string of recent singles including “Styrofoam Cup,” “Play It Safe,” “Pillow,” and “Chlorine,” all of which appear on WOLF’s Julia EP. Check out her new song below.
“Hoops” is out now.