Julian Lennon: Truly His Own Man

John Charles Julian Lennon, also known as Jules, is so much more than just the eldest son of Beatle, John Lennon, and former first wife, Cynthia Powell. He is also a very accomplished singer, songwriter and musician, and an amazing photographer, among many other things.

Named after John’s deceased mother Julia, Julian is also an avid environmentalist, and his White Feather Foundation raises money and awareness for many different projects, such as clean water, education and health, and indigenous projects on a global scale.

We first came to know Jules as a small boy, who even had several Beatles songs written about, or inspired by him. Good-Night from the White Album, and the now infamous Hey Jude were both written about him. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was inspired by him, written by his father after Jules painted a watercolor picture of his good friend Lucy, surrounded by stars.

After his parents’ divorce, and a substantial separation from his father, they were reunited when then-girlfriend May Pang encouraged John to develop a real relationship with his son. John even bought him a Gibson Les Paul guitar and a drum machine for Christmas 1973, and encouraged his interest in music by showing him some chords. Jules later said: “Dad and I got on a great deal better then. We had a lot of fun, laughed a lot and had a great time in general when he was with May Pang. My memories of that time with Dad and May are very clear — they were the happiest time I can remember with him.”

Jules made his musical debut at age 11, playing drums on his father’s Walls and Bridges album. However, his greatest musical success started when he was 21 years old. Sadly, his father had been murdered four years prior, and didn’t get to see his son achieve success. He released his first album Valotte in 1984, produced by Phil Spector, to immediate praise and adulation. The album spawned two huge hits, Valotte and Too Late for Goodbyes, earning him a “Best New Artist” Grammy nomination.

However, his second album wasn’t as warmly received, but Jules was undaunted, and pressed on both writing and recording new material, even to this day. He also developed a passion for photography, as well as cooking, sculpting, and sailing. He’s also starred in, and/or produced several documentaries, including one about himself. Lennon’s first-ever tour in early 1985 was documented as part of the film Stand By Me: A Portrait Of Julian Lennon, a film profile started by Sam Peckinpah, but completed by Martin Lewis after Peckinpah’s death.

Lennon continues to work tirelessly on environmental issues, as well as his various charity works, including one of his pet projects, The White Feather Foundation (TWFF). While still touring, he received a white feather gift from an indigenous elderly member of the Mirning tribe in Australia, which also turned out to be an inspirational message to him. Jules has said of the name: “Dad once said to me that should he pass away, if there was some way of letting me know he was going to be OK – that we were all going to be OK – the message would come to me in the form of a white feather. … the white feather has always represented peace to me.” And in 2007, he founded TWFF.

Under the TWFF umbrella, Jules has other various projects worldwide, but another one very close to his heart is The Cynthia Lennon Scholarship for Girlsnamed after his mother, the late Cynthia Lennon, which is a program designed to help Kenyan girls receive a better education. In 2015, after the Nepal earthquake, TWFF raised and contributed over $100K to the Music for Relief’s Nepal aid fund to support the victims of the earthquake that had devastated the region.

His very impressive photography is on display on his website, and his Facebook and Instagram pages dedicated to showing his craft. His photography website states “I have always felt that I have observed life in a different way to others…  Music has always been one creative outlet for me,  but now I’m happy to add another one too, that being photography.”

He also maintains a very close relationship with half-brother, Sean, and has said his relationship with Yoko Ono is “reasonably cordial.” He also has still kept in touch with Paul McCartney. Lennon has never married or had children, revealing that his difficult relationship with his father had discouraged him from doing so.

I have had the extreme pleasure of meeting Julian twice, both times at parties in Los Angeles. He is truly so genuine, warm, and down to earth, and such a really likeable person. I greatly admire his photography, and also his dedication to all his causes. He speaks very fondly of them and works tirelessly to make the world a better place, and that’s something we need so much more of.

Tami Danielson is the main in-house blogger and Director of Operations for Pop-Daze. She was raised in California and Florida and currently resides in Oregon. Tami has written for a variety of periodicals and has provided digital marketing services for a number of artists. She can be reached at [email protected]