Life may be cold in Chicago, but Illinois-based alt-rocker Jude Shuma keeps warm with creativity and ambition, staying true to himself and dedicated to his craft even when the odds are stacked against him.
Jude first discovered his passion for music in early adolescence, finding inspiration in the melodic yet simple songwriting of legendary acts like The Beatles and Nirvana. Armed with an 8-track recorder, he began to write and capture his own ideas on tape, a hobby that has since resulted in an impressive collection of over 100 songs that ignite the imagination and fuel the spirit, beckoning anyone who hears them to join in on a dream-fueled journey through multicolored sonic innovation and fantasy.
What first got you into music?
I found my grandma’s guitar underneath my parents’ bed. I loved to sing in the car a lot as a kid, so once I knew there was a guitar around, I was driven to start to write songs.
Who inspired you to make music?
Nirvana & The Beatles, and to be honest, I’d say 95% of that inspiration came from hearing their demos. There’s something about hearing a song not finished yet. It gave me that feeling of hey, maybe I can do this too. It’s not as complicated as it’s made out to be.
What is your creative process like?
I feel like my creative process is always changing. For this last record, I wrote a story out before even writing any of the music. I had never tried that before this. It’s really easy to feel like the process is stale if you do the same thing every time. I have about a million voice memos on my phone from ideas I have during the day. Maybe a melody comes to me while I’m riding my bike, I record it really quick, and then head to my studio later where I try and match chords to it. There’s the start of a song. Or I hear a great drum beat and try to start with that. It’s constantly changing. Usually, it starts with me trying to demo out something and sculpt an idea or motif.
Are you finding the isolation of the pandemic conducive to your writing or is it hindering the experiences you can write about?
A little bit of both. Obviously, I didn’t let it stop me from still making new music, but there were definitely times where I was not feeling inspired. Ultimately, my new record was about the desire to want to get out and see things. I think that was subconsciously embedded in there somewhere.
With the pandemic, how have you found a way to get your music and your message out there?
It’s funny, this whole concept of making a comic to go along with the record was supposed to help do just that. Everyone was stuck at home so I thought it would be nice to have something to do at home while sitting around. Listen to the record and flip through the book. But then of course the pandemic started to ease up.
What is one message you would give to your fans?
If you want to do something just do it. Do it for the sake of art, do it for yourself. Don’t listen to what other people tell you because misery loves company. Failures are inevitable so don’t focus on them too much. Just keep going.
If you had to describe yourself as a flavour, what would it be?
Sriracha – I’m spicy with a sweet finish.
What’s your least favourite personality trait you like about yourself?
Stubbornness – it’s both beneficial and detrimental at the same time.
Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?
Nicolas Cage. I absolutely love everything he does. I love garbage films.
What’s your most expensive piece of clothing?
I bought a $200 leopard print chiffon shirt while in New York. Seriously no idea why.
What do you think the greatest invention has been?
Probably the internet. Information is so accessible you can literally learn to do anything from your home now.