CALGARY _ Juno Award-winning R&B singer Jully Black seems to be the busiest woman in showbiz these days.
Black, who won a Juno as R&B singer of the year in Calgary earlier this year, signed on as a cast member for ``Canadian Idol'' for this season.
The Toronto vocalist, who has also reported for ``ETalk,'' is serving as a mentor, confidante, critic and coach to competitors of the CTV singing competition.
On Tuesday she put on a different hat _ in the form of a white Stetson _ as she served as master of ceremonies at the media kickoff for the 2008 Calgary Stampede. The ensemble did not include blue jeans or cowboy boots, as she stuck with her traditional short skirt and high heels.
``Today is the first time I actually put something on my head and messed my hair up,'' she chuckled.
Black sang three songs, including her runaway hit ``Seven Day Fool,'' as she gave the audience a taste of what to expect when she performs during the Stampede which runs July 4-13.
The singer, who grew up in Toronto's Jane and Finch area, notorious for gangs, drugs and violence, has never been to the Stampede but knew it by reputation.
``Of course I've heard of it. My best friend Erica Savage, she's from out here, and she was like `Oh my gosh, you're doing Stampede!' '' she said.
The Stampede announced its entertainment lineup for what is billed as the ``Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.'' In addition to Black there will be shows by Kid Rock, Natasha Bedingfield, James Taylor, the Judds, Sugarland, Hedley and Puddle of Mud.
The president of the Calgary Stampede said it's important that the 10-day festival, celebrating the cowboy way of life, remains current.
``Half these groups I don't even know their names, for heaven's sakes _ but the kids say you're having so and so and I say is that good?'' said George Brookman, who has become a big fan of Black.
``She's huge. I just loved her,'' he said.
It was the Stampede organizers who contacted Black.
``I didn't get dragged into it _ the organizers called and that's the beautiful thing, that they see what I do and they're playing it forward,'' said Black. ``They're spreading the word about Jully Black and the music, and I'm playing it forward and telling people about the Stampede.''
Many in the crowd were already into the Stampede spirit, with a sea of cowboy hats, boots and jeans at the Stampede Roundup Centre.
``The beauty of it is businessmen, women, families, kids involved in its culture _ and I think that represents equality and just letting things go,'' Black said. ``I'm looking forward to it.''
Copyright The Canadian Press Jun 17, 2008