Big Dreams: An interview with Idea Grant recipient Julian Yuliawan

Julian Yuliawan is a seventh-semester music and entrepreneurship major at UConn. Through the UConn Idea Grant program, he was able to secure funding to create his own hip-hop music project “Big Dreams”. Prior to gaining funding, Julian performed at open mic nights across campus and worked on his music on his own.

I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with him about his process and what the plan for the future is.

Amar Batra: How did you settle on the music project as your idea?

Julian Yuliawan: In high school, I started getting into recording myself. [I was] just buying my own microphone, that kind of thing, getting familiar with digital audio workstations like Logic and kind of making my own songs myself. So when I got to UConn, I wanted to kind of see what resources were out there for musicians and artists and things like that.

I actually read through the Daily Digest about the UConn Idea Grant program, and as soon as I read it - you know what they do, what the program is - I immediately said, “Hey, I could use this money to make a music project”.

So you got the funding over the summer. What did you do then and what are you currently working in regards to the project now?

Yeah, so pretty much through the summer, what I did was write material and figure out what the songs were going to be on this project. I had 11 to 12 songs. I’ve narrowed it down to about six or seven that I really want on the project.

So my summer was pretty much writing, recording – [I was] sitting here in my room recording pretty much all summer.

And so now, I’m at the mastering part. I’m working with an audio engineer to mix and master all the songs, and then, when that part is done, it’s all about marketing, getting my music out there, promoting it - things like that.

You mentioned that this project is a kind of hip-hop album. What musicians influenced your style? Were there any specific people or groups you were drawing from?

So, for me, my biggest musical influence would be Kanye, obviously because he’s one of the GOATs, as well as Jon Bellion. He’s an artist that I found in high school and ever since I’ve looked up to who he is as an artist, a creator. I draw inspiration from him, The Weeknd - I think we each have similar styles to the way we sing - Bryson Tiller, Logic even. Just artists who have kind of really made their own lane, in their own way, but also have great music.

If you had to pick one artist that hasn’t influenced your style, but you still think is super cool, who would that be?

Definitely the Beatles. just because I would listen to them when I was little. I grew up on the Beatles and “The Beatles: Rock Band”. That’s my childhood right there.

Final question. What’s the end goal? What’s the plan once the Idea Grant is done?

The end goal? Would definitely just be pursuing my passion. If I can make music that people will want to listen to and love my music and come back, and then I can make more music and pursue my passion for a living and follow my heart.

There is currently no set release date for “Big Dreams”. but there is a release party scheduled for Jan. 24, 2018. Readers interested in more information can follow Julian on Instagram @Julianyuliawan for updates about about “Big Dreams”.


Amar Batra is a senior staff photographer and weekly columnist for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email amar.batra@uconn.edu. He tweets at @amar_batra19.