Julia Nunes (born January 3, 1989) is a singer and songwriter from Fairport, New York. Her career has progressed online through her videos of pop songs on YouTube in which she sings harmony with herself and plays acoustic instruments, primarily the ukulele, guitar, melodica and piano.
Nunes was born into a musical family in New York. Her father is a pianist and a composer of children's songs. One grandfather was a composer of Portuguese fado music and the other a jazz pianist. Nunes started piano lessons at age seven before switching to the guitar in her teens. She started writing songs at age 14 and began playing the ukulele in 2005. She also plays guitar and melodica. She indicated in the comments section of one of her YouTube videos (see below) that she holds dual USA-Portuguese citizenship.
Nunes is known for her videos on YouTube. Among them are original songs, as well as covers of some of Nunes' favorite bands, such as Say Anything, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and Destiny's Child. Her original songs have been featured on the main page of YouTube twice, under the username 'jaaaaaaa', which she says was the result of holding down the "a" key randomly after the "j" key, the first and last letters of her first name.
On Good Morning America (June 30, 2008) Molly Ringwald said that she took up the ukulele after seeing Julia Nunes on YouTube. "I've always wanted to play the ukulele, and she completely inspired me," she said.
Nunes is also featured in a YouTube cover video of "Some Nights" by Fun alongside members from Walk off the Earth.
She opened four times for one of her idols, Ben Folds in May 2008 at the piano player's request and performed at the Bushman Ukulele Luau in May 2008 after having won the 2007 Bushman World Ukulele Video Contest. She performed at The Knitting Factory in New York. On October 25, 2008, she opened for The Bacon Brothers at The State University of New York at Geneseo. On November 22, 2008, Nunes performed her song "Maybe I Will" on YouTube Live '08 in San Francisco. She was joined onstage by The YouTube Ukulele Orchestra, which is composed of fellow YouTube ukulele players Wade Johnston, Dustin Domingo, Philip Fernandez, and Narciso Lobo. In January 2009 Nunes played four sold out shows in London, England, and was interviewed and performed on BBC Radio 1. In June 2009, she played two shows, and participated in the artist signing tent, at Bonnaroo, the independent music festival in Manchester TN, and a second tour of England. She began recording her third CD of original music in August 2009., working with Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn of Pomplamoose as producers.
Nunes has also appeared in several videos with Jake & Amir of CollegeHumor.
She played at Bonnaroo 2010, her second time there. Nunes started the event on the main stage at noon 11 June 2010, and also played alongside Weezer on the second night. Nunes opened for Ben Kweller at Indiana University's Buskirk-Chumley Theater on November 13, 2010, as a part of Ben Kweller's tour. On January 24, 2012, Nunes made her television debut, performing "Stay Awake" on Conan.
In December 2008, Nunes participated in the Vlogbrothers' Project4Awesome. Rather than tell YouTubers to donate time or money to a charity, she offered one of her hand-knit hats on eBay, promising to donate the proceeds of the auction, and her own matching funds, to the Lupus Foundation of America. After a bidding war, the hat sold for US$1,250.00, to Kenny West, a musician from Philadelphia, PA. When she realized the amount she'd have to contribute to match this sum, she asked her viewers to help her make the donation, promising US$500.00 of her own money.