“My world came to a crashing halt…once the world “paused” there were no more distractions for me to avoid looking at and feeling what was underneath the surface.”Jules Schroeder, musician
Entrepreneur, singer, writer, and millennial influencer, Jules Schroeder, aims to inspire. By drawing inspiration from artists like Amy Winehouse, Adele, Janis Joplin, and Norah Jones, she has created her own fusion of what she calls, “soul-folk,” which she uses to transport listeners through an emotional and timeless journey.
In addition to performing, Jules travels the world speaking, coaching, and hosting her podcast, “The Unconventional Life,” which tells the stories of millennials following non-traditional paths, on Forbes Under 30 channel. As if that’s not enough, she also leads events in exotic locations all over the world for Olympic athletes, artists, musicians, and fellow entrepreneurs.
This past June, she was scheduled to lead a group on a luxury cruise, but due to Coronavirus, that was put on pause.
The subsequent months of stillness have been especially difficult and have forced her to take a closer look inward. She spoke with us about her work, her struggles with mental health and why she is committed to talking about it and creating a safe space for others to do the same.
Q: How have you been spending your time during the pandemic?
JS: This time has definitely been a reflective period for me. Right before the pandemic hit, I was gearing up to host a group of 500 entrepreneurs, artists, and thought leaders on a cruise ship in Italy this June. My world came to a crashing halt. I’ve been battling mental health issues and once the world “paused” there were no more distractions for me to avoid looking at and feeling what was underneath the surface.
I’ve been spending a ton of time in music. I quarantined with a few friends and wrote an entire album’s worth of new songs. I find playing the piano and singing is one of the best ways to channel and process what I am feeling. It is a huge outlet. Without having an outlet, I notice it is much easier to stay in fear of what is to come or in uncertainty of the world.
One of the biggest gifts that I have had during this time is to assess and ask myself what really matters and what do i really want to spend my time doing, rather than just being “busy.” I am becoming more intentional with my “yes” and deepening my relationships with those close to me. It has led me to have a lot of real and vulnerable conversations with people about their emotional and mental states that I wouldn’t have normally had. Seeing and watching so many people deal with their own turbulence has inspired me to launch a show called, “In The Dark” to pull back the curtain on top performers’ mental health. My goal is to share stories of people coming out of silence to talk about real stuff that we all deal with so that we have permission, hope, and ultimately more joy in realizing we are all in this together.
Q: It takes a lot of bravery to open up in the way you have. What have you learned about yourself during this time of self-reflection?
JS: I have struggled with mental health my whole life. The more success I accumulated, the more contraction, low, and darkness I felt on the other side. I just started to expect it. As the success became bigger, I realized it became even harder to manage the downward swing. Over the last six months or so, the down got so big, I sought additional help outside of my tools and resources. I was diagnosed bi-polar 2 and spent the last many months understanding and looking at what that means and specifically, what it means for me. It made me realize how important it is for us to be able to talk about it and how in doing so, we are opening the space for others to heal and feel less alone.
Q: How do you use music to heal?
JS: Music connects us. It can transport us and allow us to access parts of ourselves that we sometimes forget about when we are down, sad, busy, or feeling uncertain. I think music and sound have the power to heal the world.
Q: Tell us how a wake-boarding accident changed your life.
JS: In 2015, I set off on a summer morning in Colorado to wakeboard with some friends. I would’ve never known that a few hours in, I would launch off my board to get big air, face-plant, and then ultimately have a near-death experience. I knew when I hit the water something was wrong, but it wasn’t until I came out of the MRI in the hospital and saw a white figure and six black shadow figures approach me telling me that I had more work to do in the world, would I really know how much my life was about to change.
The doctors thought my neck may have been broken and that I may have been paralyzed and I just remember saying in my out of body experience that I didn’t want to come back as a vegetable. I remember being then zapped back in my body and feeling an energy forge my neck back together and shoot down my spine. When I woke up back in my body everything felt different. It was like I came back running on a 1000-volt battery rather than a 10 volt I had been running on.
Over the coming months I literally had to learn how to integrate this new energy or “battery” into my physical body. It was definitely a huge awakening. I no longer felt afraid of death and felt like I was brought back with an accelerated purpose. I started to see success as coming through me rather than driven by me. I started listening, slowing down, becoming more patient and ultimately more present. It has completely shifted how I see the world and what I have been called to create.
Q: Talk about your “unconventional life” podcast.
JS: I started the podcast at the beginning of 2016 and never would have imagined it would reach millions of people in over 75-different countries. I feature guests who are living life on their own terms, no matter what that looks like. The interview is more like a conversation where we look at who the “human” is behind the accolades so that each one of us can have more permission, “per-my-mission” from ourselves to go for it in whatever form “going for it” might mean.
Q: What’s next for you?
JS: I’m releasing an album this fall called, “Restless Soul” which is a series of songs written and recorded in Vancouver, Canada. I am also in the process of doing the first round of interviews for “In the Dark,” each of which will end with an unplugged music performance. If any one feels called to support or be a part of the In The Dark mission please reach out via email at www.julesschroeder.com!
Elise began her career as a Writer/Anchor/Reporter at CNN headquarters in Atlanta, GA. She also served as Supervising Producer at E! Networks and most recently, has been busy freelance producing and writing for numerous magazines and blogs.