Photograph by Peter Van der Veer, courtesy of Julia Messenger©
Here’s the scoop! Yesterday I met the lovely singer songwriter Julia Messenger at her favourite coffee house (the Pope Joan Cafe) in Brunswick, to talk about the launch of her new CD “Live at Bennetts Lane”.
The first time I saw Julia perform was at Bennetts Lane earlier this year when the CD was recorded. That will be me clapping (a lot) at the end of every track…what a voice, what a woman, what an exceptional talent!
Her voice is big and lustrous, like blue-black silk velvet. I heard echos of that velvet voice when she laughed during the interview. It filled the air waves of the cafe. After hearing it the first time, I found myself looking for ways to make her laugh, just so I could hear it again.
Photograph by Jenni Williams
She’s a natural singer. As a young girl she describes channelling Aretha Franklin while singing with her two sisters. Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Sarah Vaughan and Nina Simone have all influenced her. On top of that she’s classically trained… Melbourne University, Bachelor of Music, she topped her year in Opera. She knows how to use her natural talent.
While she has a devoted following at Bennetts Lane, Germany is her second home. She first went there years ago with the all girl band “Ruby Fruit Jungle”. She’s lived there on and off over the last decade and is much sought after for gigs and recording opportunities. She’s known for her electronic songs and music in Germany. Jazz is a bit of a departure from that. Her grandmother was a jazz singer and more recently encouraged Julia to go back to her roots. Whether it’s electronic or jazz, Julia admits that,
“Singing and making music full stop, is my passion.”
This latest CD is her “first ever live album”. I’m playing it right now, as I write this. Why Dont You Do Right has me adding sassy and seductive to the description of her voice. While in Skylark that voice is as smooth as King Island cream. Her rendition of The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, had me reaching for the replay button. Julia’s talent is well and truly up to the task of Edith Piaf’s Padam Padam… so gutsy! Perhaps I’ll play that one again as well! In addition to these classic songs, dotted through the album, her own songs create a fusion of her electronic songwriting and the strains of the jazz band. All together- uber cool.
Julia produced, mixed and mastered the CD herself at her own studio in Melbourne,. Hopefully this won’t be the last time that she produces a CD with this quality of jazz vibe. Go to Julia’s website to sample some of the album for yourself. There’s also a great interview on her home page.
Photograph by Jenni Williams
Julia Messenger’s Launch of “Live at Bennetts Lane”:
Friday, November 18th @ 8.30pm.
Bennetts Lane (25 Bennetts Lane, Melbourne CBD)
Julia’s favourite, The Pope Joan Cafe, can be found at 77-79 Nicholson Street, Brunswick East. They do a great coffee and a monster egg and bacon roll, complete with runny eggs!