Over three decades and 12 albums Julia Fordham has covered a lot of ground. Now she’s heading to Manchester, playing the Elizabethan Suite, Bury, 17 Nov, and the Epstein Theatre, Liverpool, 19 Nov. Lunch boxes are not welcome.
Tell us a bit about your sound and your influences?
I started in the folk clubs at 14 and last year I recorded a jazz album for JVC, a Japanese record company. So I guess I have spanned quite the spectrum across three decades and 12 albums. When I was starting out, I loved and was inspired by the three Joans: Joni Mitchell, Joan Armatrading and Rickie Lee Jones. Recent faves are Laura Mvula and Lianne La Havas. I have been blessed to sing with both India Arie and Michael McDonald.
What are you up to at the moment artistically?
I am trying to prepare for my upcoming UK tour in November. So all my artistic endeavours are currently revolving around trying to sing every day to build up stamina for that schedule. I am always working on a new song in my head as I potter about and live life.
What’s it like to operate in the music industry today?
I operate outside of the music industry and it’s a challenge to be heard and seen. I am fortunate that I was able to build up a fan base during my years on a big label though, and I am grateful for that. Now it’s a case of trying to stay connected to that audience to let them know that I am still here, doing the do. Without record company support though, it’s really about Facebook and video clips. I can’t bring myself to tweet. But I probably should!
How do you stand out from the crowd in a saturated industry?
I never really think of it in terms of standing out. I just do the best me that I can do and that will either blend in, stand out or sink without trace. Sometimes songs resonate and connect and sometimes gems are left undiscovered. I just keep on going, working on my voice and recording songs that come to me and through me.
What informs your music and songwriting?
Life and love, the usual.
What’s on your rider?
Not much, I am pretty low maintenance. Earl Grey tea bags and a sandwich.
Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.
Most surreal experience would be meeting Joni Mitchell and being invited to record my fourth album, Falling Forward at her house in LA with her ex-husband, bass player/producer extraordinaire, Larry Klein.
Tell us about your worst live show.
I think probably an outdoors concert in Japan. It was in a giant green field in the blistering daytime heat. Lovely young ladies politely clapped along. Then they got out their lunch boxes and started delicately nibbling away. The whole band got a terrible attack of the giggles and we all completely lost it. There was something truly humorous in the setting and situation, plus it was recorded so we all got to see ourselves laughing hopelessly on TV that night.
What’s your worst lyric?
Too late for flowers too soon for pins.