Land of my mother, it’s always a pleasure to perform in Germany! The year’s shows kicked off with a run of three shows in Ludwigshafen, Augsburg and Minden. After my guitar got left behind in London (thanks British Airways :/ ) we were re-united just in time for the second half of the show at Ludwigshafen and then it was onto Augsburg. Here’s a lovely review of that show to whet your appetites for more upcoming Germany dates, this time in Einbeck and Idar-Oberstein!
What a fab year it has been!! Thank you so much to everyone who has come out to see and hear me and my musicians this year at all the various shows around and about! It’s always a huge pleasure to get to play my songs for you.
This beautiful year is rounded off visually by ‘Something Beautiful’ by the videographer Jordan Copeland who has created an amazing sequence out of archive footage for my song. He had this to say about his approach:
"For me, this song belongs to the ancient tradition of ambiguous love poetry, in which it’s unclear whether the subject is a person or something more spiritual. Like Rumi - I wanted the video to ride the line between personal and profound, to say something about the human condition, about capital-B Beauty, to offer a perspective on the fundamental nature of things.”
When I watch what he has created, it speaks to me about mankind’s discovery and enjoyment of our beautiful planet whilst warning of our impending and careless destruction of it. It offers a timely wake-up call to our species to realise what is happening. I love what he has made. See what you think and watch it here!
Wow, guys sorry it’s been a while since my last confession.. I mean blog post ;) . It’s been a glorious summer in many ways, and not just weather-wise so even though it’s getting colder again I feel thoroughly warmed by meeting so many amazing new people at all the shows over the past few months. I really appreciate it when you take the time to come and chat after and give your words of appreciation and encouragement.
This year it’s been so wonderful to be able to start touring in France and there have been really memorable shows in Strasbourg, Chamonix and Montpellier in the last couple of months alone. Amazing times and so great to be so incredibly enthusiastically received.
Here’s a lovely live review (below) from the show in Chamonix as published in Le Dauphiné Libéré, the regional newspaper.
The final show in France this year happens on 7th December in New Morning Paris!! See you there!
I knew it was risky bringing out my third album and making it self-titled. Generally the preserve of the debut album, the eponymous title generally says 'hello world', or 'introducing...' and I've already put out two albums before this so what does doing this now say about who I was before? How does it make sense to pick this route now? Am I navel-gazing?
Of course the pursuit of anything artistic can be dismissed as navel-gazing if you can't see past the creator to the creations themselves - it's what the songs are saying to YOU that matters far more than the way the songs emerged from me. That is always the way I feel about things created - they are made to belong to everyone, for everyone to engage with and not to keep to yourself.
But the process of writing songs and creating music or creating anything inevitably makes the creators confront themselves. Because it's only natural that you would examine what you have made before putting it out into the world.
And so many of my songs have come into being out of my subconscious mind that it can sometimes feel like I'm doing the aural equivalent of charting a map of unknown lands. And when confronted with myself listening back, I have realised that the whole pursuit of making music for me has been about and continues to be one about shaping and defining an identity through sound. A context in which to explore a human nature that doesn't 'belong' to a particular racial tribe (the consequence of a very mixed racial heritage) but belongs as we all do under the category 'human'. Just one sentient being as we all are, feeling emotions as we all do.
I didn't set out on this trip into music-making thinking 'I must create my sonic identity', but the further I have gone on this trip the deeper the realisation that this is what it is about. These are interesting times as the identity issues of mixed race people of colour are just beginning to be talked about more widely and I for one am glad. The binary world-view that we have all been encouraged to or collectively forced to exist in (and be on one side of) strips away and almost denies many complex nuances of experience and I think in many ways my music is a direct response to that.
So in calling my third album after myself I'm expressing a thankfulness to music for giving me a context in which to know myself, I'm saying I feel like I may have reached a milestone on the way to knowing myself and I'm saying I feel like I've reached a place sonically that represents me and here it is. But mostly I'm saying, here am I, just a person - treat me as a human-being, see all of me before you judge me, see me for the person that I am. I'm just like you.
It's come around so fast!! Only two weeks to go til my new album 'Julia Biel' is released. Some lovely reviews trickling through already including this very comprehensive one from Jazz in Europe. If you've already ordered your CD via this site or via bandcamp or elsewhere, your CD will be dropping through your letterbox on 9th February or shortly after - and if you haven't yet, well, get involved! If you do so right now, you can be part of the build-up to the big day :)
There's so much going on behind the scenes - I've been working on a new video for 'Always' (the photo here is a still from it) - I can't wait for you to see the whole thing! Any day now....
You can listen again here to my little chat with Jamie Cullum on his BBC Radio 2 show (14.30 mins in)... Next week there's full band live session being recorded for BBC Radio 4's Loose Ends programme... I'll be in Paris for a few days in the week of the launch and in Germany for a few days the following week doing a full round of interviews and radio sessions... Meanwhile the ball is well and truly rolling in the Netherlands where 'Wasting Breath' has just been playlisted on NPO R2! Later in the month it's back to Germany for a full band live session on breakfast TV.
If you see me anywhere, hand me a bottle of water and give me a thumbs up like I'm running the marathon!!! Thanks for all your support everyone, I couldn't do it without you. The tour diary is filling up fast for the rest of the year so I really hope to see you somewhere along the way!
It's official!!! My new self-titled album 'Julia Biel' will be released 9th Feb 2018!! 12 songs in all, it's been a real labour of love and I can't wait for you to hear it :). Thanks so so much for your support everyone, it means the world to me <3 <3 <3
You can pre-order it now and get 2 songs instantly!!
http://bit.ly/2yoM3Sf. Available as downloads and on CD in luxurious digipack packaging with 12-page lyric booklet.
Idris Rahman Laurent Dupuy Rob Updegraff Samy Bishai Marco Piccioni Laurence Corns Andy Gibson Roy Dodds Khanti Records Marie Britsch Jerome Dupouy brillJant alternatives HEART BEAT & SOUL handshake booking Lander PR
Photo by Jenna Foxton
It's certainly a strange time to be British wondering where exactly the UK is headed. I waver between giving in to a voracious need to devour the news trying to fathom it all out and long periods of time when I find the news too depressing and I need to succumb to the desire to avoid knowing anything outside my immediate sphere so that I can continue to function in a meaningful way.
As a mixed race person, I truly feel like a citizen of Planet Earth so it's genuinely weird to be caught up in this nationalistic colonialist-inspired 'we're better than you' throwback in the form of this thing called Brexit. And as my direction of travel as an artist looks ever outward, one of the greatest joys I am finding is experiencing the warmth that comes with taking my music across cultures to clubs, concert halls and international jazz festivals abroad witnessing first-hand musicians and audiences from all over the world being united by the language of music. It's a beautiful way to remind everyone present how very similar we all are at our core, that we all share a common human experience no matter what trappings of language and customs and nationality we also wear - something fans of 'world' music have long-since known. The feeling of being made welcome and having people 'get' the music when you are not from there is the precise opposite of us as a nation saying 'we don't want to be in your club', because collectively our goal musically is to remind ourselves that there is only one club to be part of.
Last week's show in Vauréal on the outskirts of Paris, got me thinking again about how we will fare as a nation culturally if Brexit actually goes ahead. It's not just the ease of travel for the likes of me and my musicians but also the reverse as fewer and fewer artists and musicians from all over the world will want to come here or be able to even if they still want to. How impoverished will we be through this pursuit of otherness? If Brexit does have to go ahead, here's hoping it is at least not at the expense of the open borders in our hearts and minds. Every time I see a show featuring invited guests from abroad or get to go abroad to play I'm going to think of it as an act of Brexit-busting rebellion against a political landscape that seems to be trying to narrow our world. Just don't anybody say it's 'the will of the people..' I believe the will of the people is that everyone should have equal opportunities in this life. I don't believe Brexit is the way to achieve that. If politicians were really listening they'd concentrate on addressing the inequalities that prompted so many to vote leave and see the referendum for the blunt tool it really was. If ever there was a definition of political 'correctness' gone mad, Brexit is surely it.
A short film narrative concept by director David Tallon and produced by Benn Capon, we had a lot of fun making this surreal fantasy of a video for you! Shot on location at The Clapton Country Club and at various other East London spots over a long weekend, special thanks go to Terence Bates, owner of The Clapton Country Club who not only let us use his club but also his flat and he also features as an extra <3. It was truly wonderful to behold such generosity of spirit in the name of creativity - total legend! Can't wait to play at The Clapton Country Club some time - a gem of a place. Premiered in The Telegraph, you can watch the whole wondrous outcome on this link. Enjoy!
Including this one! I'm really proud and grateful to have been awarded funding from the PRS Foundation's Women Make Music Fund towards the costs of releasing album number 3 in the UK.
Follow this link to read about all the women who are benefiting from this fund this year - thrilled to be in such great company!
Things are hotting up at JB HQ for the release of new material and I can't wait for you to hear it! The first single from the forthcoming new album is called 'Wasting Breath', a song about leaving the past behind and liberating yourself from emotional baggage.
Also, if you're not already on the mailing list, sign up today for a free download of a live track and to be the first to find out when the new album will be released!!
Just before Christmas we squished the band and gear back into the trusty Vauxhall Astra Estate and headed up the M1 to York. First ever time in York and I think we got on pretty well! Thanks to everyone who turned out to see us on the last saturday before Christmas and of course thanks to Liam Wilkinson of Northern Sky Mag for this lovely review.
Saleem, Idris and myself just returned from the last date of our autumn tour of Germany, Austria and Switzerland..!
It was wonderful getting to go back to some favourite venues (Jazzit in Salzburg we love you <3) as well as getting to know some beautiful new places - Volksbad in Jena, Fuerstenfeldbruck, Pullach and Duebendorf. A massive MASSIVE thank you to everyone who came out to see us - it was truly amazing to make all these memories with you.
The Sueddeutsche Zeitung came and reviewed the show at Fuerstenfeldbruck - read all about it here!
As a regular spectator at this amazing annual free jazz festival in London's Canary Wharf, I'm thrilled to have been booked to be a part of it this year! If you're going to be in London on 20th August @ 3pm, do come and bagsy a place on the grass and join us.
Loads of other amazing acts on offer too - you can find all the line-up info here.
It's not every day you get to play a sold out concert in a hall this beautiful! Heartfelt thanks to Ulf and his team for featuring me as one of the 'Women in Jazz' at this year's festival in Halle, Germany. An amazing trip!
You can see some lovely photos of the concert (and soundcheck) by Ruediger Schestag here and get something of the beauty of the hall from this little iphone video of 'You made me write a love song' filmed by Idris during our soundcheck and uploaded onto the facebook page here.
Hope to see you somewhere soon!
Have you seen it yet? Shot in a studio in deepest darkest Kingston, the claustrophobia of the video for Triptyc's re-working of the song 'You do my head in' intentionally highlights the unsettling nature of his version's rumbling hypnotic drums and eerie analogue synth sounds. Check it out here.
This re-working of 'You do my head in' forms part of the Remix EP 'Licence to be Cruel' released shortly before Christmas. I've been collecting remixes for a while but these ones are my favourites - and so the EP contains the work of 5 amazing remixers re-imagining my songs brought together on this remix EP for the first time,
You can get hold of all 5 tracks on a Limited Edition CD from the shop page (only a few left now!) or via bandcamp and it is also available as a digital download both in the shop page as well as from all the usual places. The guys over at The Musical Melting Pot website wrote a lovely review of the EP which you can have a read of here.
Stay tuned - more new music coming soon!
Happy New Year everyone!! I hope 2016 is kind to you as we wave goodbye to an intense 2015.
For me, as well as some much needed catching up with the people I love, it's been great to have the time to reflect back on an amazing run of shows in 2015, think about all the people I met and whose company I have enjoyed and of course on all the music we made. The time has come to make a new album and I'm happy to say it's shaping up better than I could have imagined so I cannot wait for you to hear it and I hope you will during the course of 2016.
Let's see what 2016 brings. Personally I'm hoping for a little kindness and compassion to enter the political realms. All the while remembering it all starts with us - being good to ourselves, listening to our bodies and above all, finding a stillness amid the franticness just to enjoy the miracle of being.
Wishing you everything you wish for yourself,
Ok, now I'm sorry because this is going sound like gloating no matter how I tell you - before I start I'll just say that if I could take you all with me, you know I would ;).
Just got a last minute booking to close Penang Island Jazz Festival in Malaysia, on a stage called 'Jazz by the Beach'!!! There I said it.
Fortunately the word 'wow' is great vocal warm-up so it'll tie in nicely as I expect I'll be saying it a LOT.
#ontour #jazz #singer #songwriter #Malaysia #PenangIsland