What can you say about an amazing artist who is known world wide and is considered to be one of the most influential female vocalists of our generation? Only that Julie Dexter's musical talents are genius because her music speaks for its self. SayWhatNews had the pleasure speaking with England's Queen of Soul about her music career and latest album:
SayWhatNews: Good morning Julie. Its such a pleasure speaking with you this morning. First tell us who is Julie Dexter?
Julie: GOOD MORNING TO YOU TOO. JULIE DEXTER IS A MOTHER, WIFE, SINGER, SONGWRITER AND MUSICIAN BORN AND RAISED IN BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND OF JAMAICAN PARENTS.
SayWhatNews: So, you were born and raised in Birmingham, England. At what age did you realize your love for music and discover your gift of song?
Julie: I WAS ALWAYS INTO MUSIC, THEATER, THE ARTS FROM AN EARLY AGE. I DIDN'T FOCUS ON MY VOICE TILL LATER ON BUT ALWAYS LOVED MUSIC. I STUDIED CLASSICAL MUSIC. MY FIRST INSTRUMENTS WERE THE CLARINET & VIOLIN AND I LATER GOT INTO JAZZ . I SUNG IN A JAZZ BAND BEFORE STARTING MY SOLO CAREER WHEN I MOVED TO ATLANTA GEORGIA.
SayWhatNews: Julie you hit the music scene back in 1994 with the release of 'The Jamaican Beat Vol. 1 with Jazz Jamaica. How did you land the opportunity to work on this project?
Julie: GARY CROSBY FOUNDER OF JAZZ JAMAICA WAS ALSO THE FOUNDER OF THE FIRST BAND I SANG WITH TOMORROW"S WARRIORS. SO, THAT WAS HOW WE MET. HE HEARD ME SINGING AT ONE OF HIS JAM SESSIONS AND ASKED ME TO RECORD WITH HIM ON THAT ALBUM.
SayWhatNews: Your sound is soft and sensual with a jazz infused sound and at times has a Jamaican sound. What inspired your sound?
Julie: MY MOTHER PLAYED A LOT OF REGGAE MUSIC WHEN I WAS GROWING UP LIKE BOB MARLEY, DENNIS BROWN AND ETC., SO THAT WAS ALWAYS WHAT I CONSIDERED THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY EARLY YEARS UP UNTIL AROUND 14, WHEN I STARTED GETTING INTO OTHER STYLES OF MUSIC. I GOT INTO JAZZ THROUGH SINGERS LIKE NANCY WILSON, DIANE REEVES, BETTY CARTER AND ABBEY LINCOLN.
SayWhatNews: Julie your music has crossed over many genres of music like Jazz, Broken Beat, Bossa-Nova, Reggae, Afro-Beat and Soul. How have you as an artist been able to find a perfect blended sound that has been able to cross over so successfully?
Julie: I DON'T KNOW IF THERE IS A PERFECT BLEND BUT I KNOW I PURPOSELY TRY NOT TO PUT MYSELF IN A BOX, MUSIC IS TO VAST TO DO THAT, I STAY TRUE TO MYSELF AND GO WITH WHAT FEELS GOOD TO ME AND HOPE IT FEELS GOOD TO SOME OTHER FOLKS TOO.
SayWhatNews: Who were your musical influences growing up?
Julie: BOB MARLEY, DENNIS BROWN, MARVIN GAYE, ROBERTA FLACK, PATRICE RUSHEN, MICHAEL JACKSON, EARTH, WIND & FIRE AND STEVIE WONDER.
SayWhatNews: Now Julie, you are a classically trained artist who composes and arranges your own music. How important is it as an artist to have those abilities when you are working on new music?
Julie: I THINK IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT ARTISTS LEARN TO READ AND WRITE MUSIC AS WELL AS PLAY IT, IT HELPS WITH YOUR WRITING AND COMMUNICATING YOUR MUSIC WITH OTHERS. IT'S NOT ESSENTIAL BUT T HELPS A GREAT DEAL. FOR ME THAT'S HOW I'VE LEARNED TO WRITE MY OWN MUSIC.
SayWhatNews: After the release of the 'J-Life', a European Jazz quintet formed by Gary Crosby in 1997 with Dune Records, you decided to move to Atlanta, Georgia and launch your own label Ketch A Vibe Records. What inspired the move to the States and the launch of your own record label?
Julie: I TOOK A CHANCE , WASN'T REALLY SURE WHAT I WAS DOING OR HOW IT WOULD ALL GO DOWN, BUT I FELT I HAD NOTHING TO LOSE AND WHY NOT GIVE IT A GO. I'M STILL HERE 12 YEARS LATER AND AM STILL LOVING IT HERE. MY LABEL IS STILL UP AND RUNNING AND I JUST RELEASED MY 6TH RELEASE OFF THE LABEL.
SayWhatNews: Many artist have taken their music careers to Europe to better their career. As an British vocalist have you found it easier or more challenging to have a music career in America?
Julie: I THINK THE STRUGGLE IS THERE NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE. IT'S ALL ABOUT OPPORTUNITIES, TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THEM, WHO YOU KNOW AND ETC. . IF YOU HAVE DRIVE AND AMBITION AND ARE DEDICATED YOU CAN MAKE IT ANYWHERE. IT HAS WORKED IN MY FAVOR BEING BRITISH BUT REMEMBER EVERYONE AND THEIR GRANNY SINGS, PRODUCES, DANCES VERY WELL HERE IN THE U.S. SO THERE IS A LOT MORE COMPETITION. IT'S ALL RELATIVE.
SayWhatNews: From 2000 - 2005 you released the EP, 'Peace of Mind', 'Dexterity' and 'Conscious'. Which is your favorite and why?
Julie: 'PEACE OF MIND', BECAUSE IT WAS AND STILL IS THE MOST REPRESENTATIVE MUSICALLY OF WHO I AM, BRITISH BORN, JAMAICAN PARENTS, FUSING JAZZ & SOUL.
SayWhatNews: Your single 'Ketch A Vibe' was featured in national radio ads for than, Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Barack Obama (now President Barack Obama). How did that opportunity come to be?
Julie: THE GUY WHO WAS HEAD OF HIS MEDIA CAMPAIGN JUST HAPPENED TO BE SOMEONE WHO CAME TO ONE OF MY SHOWS IN ST. LOUIS BACK IN 2000. HE HAD PURCHASED PEACE OF MIND AND WAS A HUGE FAN. HE CONTACTED ME VIA EMAIL IF HE COULD USE KETCH A VIBE AND I WAS LIKE....OF COURSE YOU CAN.
SayWhatNews: How amazing was it touring with Jazz legend Courtney Pine as the lead vocalist for his ensemble?
Julie: TRULY AMAZING, LIFE-CHANGING, HUMBLING, IT WAS THE START OF THINGS TO COME FOR ME. HE IS SUCH A MAGNIFICENT HUMAN BEING, A SUPER TALENTED MUSICIAN, COMPOSER, BAND LEADER AND A TRUE SHOWMAN. HE SET THE BAR FOR ME.
SayWhatNews: Julie, you have shared the spot-light with some amazing artists like Mint Condition, Jill Scott, Rachelle Ferrell, Ledisi and Bilal to name few. Who would you love to collaborate with?
Julie: ESPERANZA SPALDING.
SayWhatNews: Your latest album, 'New Again' really pleases the ear. Its one of those albums you listen to all the way through without skipping to the next track. What inspired the album?
Julie: LOVE, LIFE AND RELATIONSHIPS, MY OWN AND OTHER PEOPLES. THE PRODUCER REALLY INSPIRED ME, THE TRACKS THAT I ENDED UP CHOOSING WERE SO REMINISCENT OF OLD SCHOOL R&B TO ME. IT PUT ME IN THE MOOD OF STYLISTICS AND ROSE ROYCE. THIS IS MY GROWN FOLKS ALBUM
SayWhatNews: Do have any plans for a tour?
Julie: I AM CURRENTLY TOURING THE STATES AND WILL BE HEADING TO EUROPE IN OCTOBER. CHECK MY WEBSITE FOR MORE DETAILS WWW.JULIEDEXTER.COM
SayWhatNews: What's next in the future for Julie Dexter?
Julie: TAKING CARE OF MY FAMILY ( I JUST HAD A BABY BOY AND HAVE A ALMOST 6 YR OLD DAUGHTER) AND MORE MUSIC, RECORDING & TOURING.
Julie Dexter Website