She likes Billie Holiday, Radiohead, Pink Floyd and Talk Talk. Her voice and beauty are often compared to a certain Norah Jones, and her London wit is reminiscent of Amy Winehouse... But Julia Biel doesn't look like anyone else. She proves it once and for all with a fourth album, which asserts her singular aura.
One is not born Julia Biel, one becomes it. It all started long before she was born.
the world. 1957: her father, a mixed-race South African, disgusted by the segregation of his native country, which forbade him to be a history teacher, left with his family for England. Shortly after, he meets Julia's mother there. She grew up in the ruins and poverty of post-World War II Germany. A typist since she was 15, she starts a new life in the distant London suburbs where, with her husband, she raises Julia and her sister. The two little ones grow up in an environment that is not very immigration-friendly. Julia does not quite feel excluded, but rather an outsider, outside the system like her parents. With them, she struggles to talk about her roots. Her only means of expression is the piano, which she has practiced assiduously since she was 5 years old. "When I felt lost, I immediately found myself in music, which became the reference point of my existence," she confesses.
Curious and cultured, she left to study languages at the prestigious Oxford University. There she met Idris Rahman, with whom she formed a jazz band, and began to write her own songs. When she moved to London, some friends built her a home studio.
She was free to sing the music she wanted to sing - not the overrated pop music a producer tried to get her to record. After three years of working in an office, Julia Biel has a revelation: she has a say in music. Even if it is up to her to define it, alone. Trying her hand at mixing, she released a first self-produced album with a jazz collective, Not Alone, in 2005, which was critically acclaimed. She then spent many years crafting Love Letters & Other Missiles (2015), a MOBO Award and URBAN Music Award nominated album in England. The United Kingdom, Germany and Austria fall under the spell. Jamie Cullum repeats to anyone who wants to hear it that he listens to it over and over. Julia performs a series of concerts, while writing new songs here and there.
With the contribution of producer Idris Rahman and the mix of the Grammy Award-winning sound engineer Laurent Dupuy (Angélique Kidjo, Salif Keita, Christophe, Féfé ...), a third self-titled album is born in 2018 of a last decade made of doubts, hopes and artistic revelations. With Julia Biel, the author-composer assumes his identity: "I arrived where I wanted. I can finally offer the sonic landscape I've created while cultivating what I love: timeless, authentic and emotional songs, as close to who I am as possible. ". Love, breakup, roots, loneliness... She tackles deeply universal themes with her skin-deep sensitivity and, above all, her deep voice, recognizable among thousands. Julia Biel is much more than a jazz singer who explores the grounds of pop, she is a gifted multi-instrumentalist in search of the most magical thing that simplicity can offer.
Shining with a highly elegant jazzy pop, Julia Biel is the vocal and orchestral manifesto of an accomplished musician who is now impossible to live without.
Julia Biel - vocals/piano/guitar
Julia Biel - vocals/piano/guitar
Idris Rahman - bass
Rob Updegraff - guitar
Ayo Salawu - drums
An award-winning original artist – singer, songwriter, piano player, producer, guitarist – whose neo mellow sound combines an indie jazz approach with folky art-pop sensibilities, Julia Biel’s soulful, unhurried, unmistakeable and timeless voice drips with emotion with every syllable. Fiercely gentle, she soothes and stirs the listener in equal measure whether accompanying herself on the acoustic solo and stripped back piano versions from her current ‘Black and White’ series or singing over fuller studio productions.
Since her debut album release in 2005, the airy folk-jazz of the much praised ‘Not Alone’, Julia has emerged as one of the leading lights of London’s vibrant jazz scene. With her unique artistry combining powerful songwriting skills and an individual jazz vocal style, she has gone on to produce two further full studio albums as band-leader featuring her self-penned material. MOBO-nominated ‘Love Letters and Other Missiles’ (2015) and the eponymous album ‘Julia Biel’ (2018) have resulted in the last few years being filled with extensive touring for Julia and her band and have seen them performing headline sets right across the UK, Europe and beyond at some of the world’s biggest jazz festivals such as Rochester International Jazz Festival (New York), Jazz in Marciac (France), Zorlu PSM Festival (Istanbul) and many, many more.
Being able to count the likes of Bob Dylan (for whom she opened at Stuttgart’s Schloßplatz during the JazzOpen Festival in 2019), Jamie Cullum (who frequently features her on his BBC Radio 2 show) and Ben Watt of Everything but the Girl (with whom she has collaborated alongside the german producer Stimming) among her famous fans has certainly given added momentum to her word-of-mouth success but the dual British and German national with South African roots has quietly been earning rave reviews and winning over the hardest of hearts with her spell-binding performances wherever she goes.
Broken Little Pieces
Broken Little Pieces
You Could Turn a Rainbow Grey