Julian Lennon Reveals Why He Broke His Self-Promise And Sang “Imagine” Publicly — And Shares Details Of His Beatles Memorabilia NFT Collection

Julian Lennon has always felt that he has observed life differently, perhaps because his path through life has been so unusual. Born in Liverpool, England, Julian Lennon began his artistic trajectory at a young age with an inherent gift for playing musical instruments. Those abilities would soon broaden into the cinematic and visual arts. As an observer of life in all its forms, he developed his personal expression through such mediums as music, documentary filmmaking, philanthropy, and now photography. ‘Timeless,’ his first photo exhibition, staged in Manhattan in September 2010, debuted Julian’s considerable talents behind the camera, and since then, he’s had multiple exhibitions throughout the world, his most recent ‘Horizon’ which reconciled photography with philanthropy, the results of a Charity: Water and White Feather Foundation initiative, bringing critically needed clean drinking water to parts of Africa. Most recently, he released the new singles “Freedom” and “Every Little Moment” off of his upcoming full-length album, which is set to be released later this year. Here, we chatted with Lennon about his new music, his foray into the NFT world, with items minted from various pieces of Beatles memorabilia, why he decided to break his self-pact and sing “Imagine” publicly for the first time, and which of his dad’s lyrics mean the most.


What was your inspiration for this new album?

I actually hadn’t planned to record another album, but I kept listening back to songs that I’d written relatively recently and up to 30 years ago, that never made it onto other projects, and many of those songs are still valid today, lyrically & musically speaking. In the process of revisiting those earlier works, I simultaneously started writing new songs and discovered that all of these songs worked well together, and in reality, you wouldn’t know that some of the work was written & recorded all those years ago, as I updated the production on the earlier songs, to today’s standards. I thought maybe I’d release a few singles here and there, but the deeper I went, the more I was able to creatively bring to the surface and …Voila! It was enough material for a complete album, and then some!

Why did you choose “Freedom” and “Every Little Moment” as the first two singles?

Because they both represent two worlds that all of us think about… The idea that we could, if we all wanted to, live in a mostly happy and peaceful world. And that we all just want to be happy and free; ffree inside, without constraints of any kind, and beholden to no one, with of course the idea that we don’t hurt or harm anyone in that process.

How would you describe this new album?

It’s a coming-of-age reflection of my life throughout the years, really. Many of the songs on the album are me trying to get to a place of healing and forgiveness on all levels. I grew up with “Hey Jude,” as part of my story, since my uncle Paul (McCartney) wrote it, to comfort me as a child following my parents’ divorce. The song ultimately became so much bigger than both of us, because of its massive success, but as a result in the years that followed, I felt like I became Jude. Now, I’m at the point where I’ve made peace with my past and I’m ready to share that journey.
JUDE felt like the right title at the right time, for such a personal and somewhat poignant album.

Tell us about your NFT collection… What made you want to venture into that world?

I started collecting ‘personal’ items that related to Dad & I for years, as nothing was really handed down to me. Then slowly but surely, I started collecting a few Beatles items that had certain meaning. Before I knew it, I had a full blown memorabilia collection, which I did ‘Tour’ in several locations, the best of which was in Liverpool, and I had plans to tour the collection worldwide…But then the pandemic hit, so that put an end to that concept—at least in the short term. So all of these items had to go back in the vault, which was not something I was happy about, as I saw no point in having a collection, if nobody was going to see it. So when the idea of NFTs came about, I was truly intrigued. To create NFT versions of these items meant I didn’t have to part with the originals, but others could share in the ownership in an innovative and intimate way. So we created ‘Lennon: Connection.’ We were able to make NFTs of items like the cape my Dad wore in the Beatles film Help!, the afghan coat he wore on the set of Magical Mystery Tour and Uncle Paul’s handwritten notes for ‘Hey Jude’ in addition to three guitars that Dad gave me, in my younger days.

Can we expect any more NFT collections from you?

Absolutely. We’ve only just scratched the surface. I want to make them available to a wider range of fans and collectors. Stay tuned …

What is the most challenging thing about launching an NFT?

When you create anything meaningful in an artistic form, it’s important that the details don’t get lost in translation. For this debut collection, in addition to making sure we had top-quality videography and photography, I also provided an audio narration to tell the story of each piece, so those who bought the items would get their history as well. As an environmentalist, it was important to me that we minted the NFTs in the most energy-efficient way possible, which we were able to do through Yellow Heart, and also give a portion of the proceeds to an organization (Nori, in this case) that provides carbon removal offsets. Also, a percentage from the sales would also go to The White Feather Foundation, to enable them to continue their work.

Tell us about your most recent photography collection with RH.

That actually came about through a partnership with Portia de Rossi’s art publishing firm, General Public. Portia and I were introduced through my photography agent, Wendy Posner of Posner Fine Art, after Portia expressed interest in some of my work. Once we connected, it was clear our values and artistic styles aligned very well, so Portia curated a collection of my photography that is now available in RH stores. It’s been such a pleasure to work together, we look forward to collaborating on additional collections in the future.

Any other projects in the works you would like to share?

Through my charity, The White Feather Foundation, we’re currently raising funds to help the Aboriginal tribe that inspired me to begin the Foundation, to preserve their ‘Native Sea Country’ in Australia. I’m also producing/working on various documentaries, and finishing up a theme song I wrote for an upcoming humanitarian/environmentally orientated documentary series.

Do you ever carry any of your father’s lyrics with you as a mantra? Which most accurately showcases where you are in life?

If I were to carry anything ‘with me’, which I do every day, it would be the absolute ‘LOVE’ of My mother Cynthia.

The first time you performed ‘Imagine’ publicly was for the “Stand Up for Ukraine” Global Citizen rally. Can you tell us why you felt compelled to perform this now and what this song means to you?

Firstly, I had always said, to myself and anyone else, that I would NEVER sing ’Imagine’ unless it was the end of the world… And in my mind, right here, right now, is as close to the end as we can get, bar literally pressing ‘The Button’. The song is timeless in sentiment, and means so much to so many people worldwide, including me. I was at Tittenhurst when Dad originally recorded the album itself, and I have fond memories of time spent with him there. So I wanted the song to continue to bring people together, the way it has, since Dad first released it in the ‘70s. Over the years, I’ve been asked to sing it on many occasions and always declined to do so. So again, If there was ever a right time, that time is now, when the people of Ukraine need the rest of the world to step up and unite to help them. It’s going to take all of us coming together to bring an end to this unimaginable, unjust war, as well as all the other suffering that continues, day to day…

What to you is the greatest luxury in life and why?

To be honest, being left alone… and not having a schedule. Taking in sunsets at remote locations around the world (alone, or with a friend in tow). Hearing the ocean, or the breeze through the palms. Nothing to me is greater than the wonders of nature. It’s heaven on Earth.