Looking into Jully's soul; You'll find a leader there issuing big challenges

11-Feb-2010 | SHARE:



Where: Whistler Live!, Village

Stage Square When: Feb. 20, 4:15 p.m. Tickets: Free

Late in the conversation with Jully Black, it's noted that nobody wants to be a cultural leader anymore. Too much responsibility and the media are always watching for any perceived hypocrisy.

"I want it," Black exclaims. "I want it.

"Give the job to me," she insists. "I'm serious."

The Beatles didn't want the role. Bob Dylan rejected it. Bruce Springsteen never accepted it. U2 sometimes pop up to use it. And who knows what Michael Jackson would do about it? So what makes Jully Black think she could influence the thinking and behaviour of generations?

Maybe it's the confidence she radiates. Maybe it's her concrete religious belief that has convinced her. Black is sure of herself. Maybe she could lead.

In the booklet to her current record, The Black Book, she prefaces each lyric with a cryptic philosophy.

"Nothing is a gimmick with me." Black claims. "It all comes from the soul. [The philosophy] just came from living. I knew that this had to be -- not just a record but an audio guide, a kind of book. So, not philosophical but very present."

The Black Book is more uniform than the previous Revival. The latter record embraced everything from weepy '50s ballads to hard rock -- a revival. The Black Book is less diverse and more recognizable as modern soul.

"I feel it's a reaction," she explains. "Growing up in Canada, I listened to good music -- The Police, U2 -- but it wasn't described by genre. We all knew that Michael Jackson was the king of pop and Aretha Franklin was the queen of soul.

"I'm not trying to be the queen of anything. This is what my challenge is: Open your heart to all kinds of music."

The would-be cultural leader and part-time Canadian Idol consultant hasn't made a record as diverse (or as much fun) as Revival but has progressed nonetheless.

She has learned the way around the studio and knows what she wants.

Thus, The Black Book was recorded live.

"What's on the record is what gave us the chill," Black says. "If it was right, you could feel it. You're tapping into the heart.

"I absolutely be myself," she continues. "I've been doing it since I was 15 years old."

The effort to make a simple record translates well from the studio to the stage.

"It's a totally selfless show. It's about being relatable as well as making a connection. It's about the experience.

"This is the Olympics for me -- it's fun." tharrison@theprovince.com

Jully Black also plays Surrey 2010 on Feb. 19 and LiveCity Yaletown on Feb. 21.

Credit: Tom Harrison; The Province


Photo: Universal Music / In the booklet to Jully Black's record, The Black Book, she prefaces each lyric with cryptic philosophy.; Caption:

Copyright CanWest Digital Media Feb 11, 2010