Julia’s songs strike a chord with Pinoys

Leah C. Salterio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Through the years, her songs have become anthems of those who are in love, the loveless and even the forlorn. Starting from the late ’80s, when she burst into the international music scene with her self-titled album containing the best-remembered single, Happy Ever After (which became a Top 40 hit), Julia Fordham has undoubtedly made a name for herself as a successful singer and songwriter.

She has charted songs that include instrumental arrangements and heartfelt lyrics (which she mostly wrote) to combine with her deep, mellifluous voice and impeccable range. Her albums were certified chart-toppers both in the United Kingdom and the US.

Her memorable hits include Invisible War, Girlfriend, Love Moves in Mysterious Ways, Porcelain, Falling Forward, Where Does the Time Go, Something Right, I Thought It Was You, Manhattan Skyline, I Can’t Help Myself, Tower Block, Different Place, Different Time, her versions of Loving You and Someone To Watch Over Me, as well as songs from her latest CD, Under the Rainbow.

The release Under the Rainbow contains Julia’s biggest hits and well-loved tunes, which have become fan favorites. It was another collaboration with Grant Mitchell, who produced some of her early albums. Released middle of last year, Under the Rainbow also contains a new single, Skipping Under the Rainbow.

In 1991, the song Love Moves in Mysterious Ways (from Julia’s third album, Swept), was featured in the romantic-comedy film, The Butcher’s Wife (starring Demi Moore and Jeff Daniels).

Meanwhile, she re-recorded Happy Ever After as a tribute to the late South African president Nelson Mandela, who died last December.

“When I started writing the song 25 years ago, I took a break after the verse and chorus were written,” Julia posted in her website. “I turned on the TV and was overwhelmed and inspired by a piece on South Africa, Nelson Mandela and the apartheid.

“Having just absorbed such shocking information, I couldn’t just continue with a theme about love and life wondering if I would be happy ever after. Nelson Mandela is a shining light of integrity, such an elegant and eloquent man. An inspiration to us all. ”

Julia started her music  career singing in pubs in the UK, where she was born (Portsmouth). Now based in Los Angeles, Julia still moves around performing for worldwide fans. Just last year, she launched her series of concerts in the UK.

Thankful and thrilled for the fame she is enjoying, Julia never imagined she would reach singing stardom after starting as a mere back-up singer to her fellow English artists, Mari Wilson and Kim Wilde, in the early ’80s. Apparently, she was destined to go solo and achieve international success.

Julia is a favorite artist of many Filipino music lovers. Her songs are also well-loved by local listeners. No wonder she has visited the Philippines a number of times. Every time she gets invited to return to the country, she doesn’t pass up the opportunity.

On Feb. 14, Julia will be in Manila anew to hold a Valentine concert, Love Moves, at Solaire Resort and Casino Ballroom. She will be joined by Jazz Prince Richard Merk, who will perform a duet with her. Also featured in the show is Jazz Queen Annie Brazil. The concert is a benefit for the trauma healing sessions of the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda (last November).

On Feb. 15, Julia will have a special show, Up Close and Personal, for architects and doctors to be held at the new Merk’s Place at the ground floor of United Architect Building, Scout Rallos, Quezon City. Special guests are Annie, Richard  and Rachel Anne Wolfe Spitaletta.

Musical director is Grant. Lead guitarist is Noel Santiago, bassist is Richie Ramos, drummer is Jun Austria, back-up vocals are Sammy Gaddi and Emcy Corteza. The show is for the benefit of Panaghoy Foundation of Cesar Montano and Roni Merk, as well as for Habitat for Humanity.

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