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Local artist earns first award of music career

(Photo courtesy of Luke Todd @thatkurlyheadedginger on Instagram)

By Courtney Bachar/The Oshawa Express

A local music artist has earned his first major career achievement.

Jules McCools, also known by his birth name, Paul Giulietti, took home the Music Video of the Year award at the Oshawa Music Awards recently.

He received the honour for his debut music video for the song Encore.

“It’s so cool. It was such an awesome process,” he says. “To be able to be nominated for my first ever music video is crazy.”

McCools says the entire process of just being nominated for an award has opened up so many doors for him.

“It has been an awesome experience to even be nominated,” he says. “It brings validity and reassurance that I do have something to offer to the world – that what I’m doing is unique and valued.”

And, at only 24 years old, McCools has already been able to experience things many young music artists only dream of.

McCools’ love for music started when he was about 11 years old – around the time that the video game Guitar Hero became popular.

“I was pretty good at it,” he says, adding that it was the game that introduced him to rock, specifically classic rock, and what initiated his interest in starting a band.

McCools loved to play bass and thought it would be the best way to join a band, but since he loved to write songs, he quickly learned that it’s difficult to write songs on a bass.

Not long after, McCools asked his parents for a standard acoustic.

“I wanted to write my own music,” says McCools, adding they got him a guitar, which he still uses to this day.

It was around this time, around 12 or 13 years old, that he started writing.

“The songs from this era are super cheesy,” he says, adding that one song he wrote, I Wanna Rock and Roll, was his first real memorable song.

The summer after Grade 7, when McCools was 13, he attended a summer camp run by Durham College, School of Rock and Roll, which was a five-day camp. Students provided their age, experience and taste in music and were paired with other musicians with similar interests. The camp taught about being in a band, song writing, performance, costumes, stage appearance, and sound.

“It was a cool program. The program no longer exists which is unfortunate,” says McCools, adding that it was there where he met Kieran Lynch, who would later turn into his best friend and number one supporter.

“He was pretty similar to me. We bonded instantly,” says McCools. “He is one of my closest friends today and his involvement in my career has not slowed down.”

After summer camp, McCools and Lynch decided to form their own rock band, The In-Class, and performed their first show in 2010. McCools was 14 and Lynch had just turned 13. They performed in Whitby at a pub, which at the time was called Tilted Quilt.

“It was surreal,” says McCools of the experience. “We really felt like we had something special.”

The following summer, McCools and Lynch returned to summer camp where they were paired together again and met Matthew Seely, who joined their band.

“Our music chemistry was just awesome.

During the week at camp, McCools says the groups would focus on one song to perform at the end of the week, and they chose to perform the song that he wrote – I Wanna Rock and Roll.

It was after this performance that a local promoter, who was impressed with the original music, approached the group and offered them a gig.

“It was a dream come true – the kind of stuff in movies,” says McCools. “Just finishing Grade 8 and being told we’ve got what it takes to perform.”

The promoter started booking them shows and The In-Class would open for other bands. This continued through all of high school.

However, the end of high school marked the end of the road for The In-Class. McCools headed to university in London, Seely went on to college, and Lynch would head to university the following year.

Thus began McCools’ solo music career. His stage name, Jules McCools is a combination of both his name, Giulietti – Jules, for short – and inspiration from the name of a character in one of his favourite movies.

“I wanted to complete the artist stage name persona,” says McCools.

McCools’ debut EP released on January 2, 2020. It contains five songs. The title of the collection is My Battery is Low and It’s Getting Dark.

McCools’ music, he says, as happy and light-hearted as it sounds, is also drenched in self-reflection and despair.

The song, Encore, which is the second song on the EP and the song that earned him Music Video of the Year at the OMAs, is written in a major key and is very bright sounding, but paints a picture of something joyful that’s about to end, he explains.

“The narrator talks about how this concert that he’s at, he can tell it’s about to end, something he’s enjoying but it’s slipping away and about to be in the past – nothing more than a memory,” he says. “Metaphorically, it’s any moment you wish you could hold on to. To me, it’s very much a break-up song,” in which he says his video director Keegan Doyle did a perfect job of capturing in the music video that earned him his first music award.

“He (Doyle) was the real mastermind of the video,” says McCools. “He understood what my music is truly about and captured it brilliantly.”

Looking ahead, McCools is grateful for the new opportunities just being nominated at the OMAs has brought him.

“The entire process of just being nominated has opened up so many doors for me,” says McCools. “It was through the OMAs that I got a chance to show more of the world what my music is all about.”

McCools has many plans in the works, with the hopes to release more singles and possibly splits (collaborations), in the future.

“I really believe in my work as a song writer. It is my greatest talent that I have to offer.”