Julia Fordham gets mixed, shaken and stirred

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You have such a unique and theatrical sound. Have you ever considered working in theatre as a performer or composer?

If something came along and I was asked, I’d run all the way to an audition. Perhaps in England, because I have a little bit more profile there.  It’s a world that I love but I don’t move in it and I don’t know anyone who does so I wouldn’t know where to begin.  I also think possibly my voice has a tone and a sort of timbre and fragility to it that’s probably not welcome in show biz theatre and Broadway productions.  It seems to me the performance that they’re hoping for, and I’m not knocking it, it’s a genre of signing BIG. (Launches into faux power ballad example.)

The other problem is that I don’t think I’m famous enough.  I think you literally have to be The Beatles or Carole King.  I can’t see who would come and see anything based on the songs I’ve done because I don’t have enough profile for that. I’m certainly  100 percent open.  The same way I was 100 percent open to the remakes idea.  I think I understand musical theatre much more than I do “the clubs.”

Talk about the decision to cover your eponymous debut album as “Mixed, Shaken and Stirred.”

Well that wasn’t my decision at all. I met Vinny Vero, a true historian with an encyclopedic knowledge of all music, and just the loveliest bloke. He interviewed me for all of the Cherry Red re-releases of my records we started talking about records and album sales and basically the punch line is that he could not believe that I was an unrecouped artist. That even if I’ve sold a million records or something I still have a massive debt to the record company and I don’t make any money whatsoever. God love him, this bothered him so much, he just became like a man obsessed.

Now beyond his encyclopedic knowledge about my work, he also is really genuinely plugged into the clubbing, mixing, remixing world, of which I know nothing.  He asked me if I would be open to letting him remix “Comfort of Strangers.” I knew he was musical and he wrote songs and I mean I kind of obviously Googled him and did a background check. Then he decided to contact all these other mixers and they all did the project.
Not realizing it at the time, I set myself up well with re-recording my original vocals for “Under the Rainbow” because then I had ownership of myself doing these vocals. So I basically recorded the vocals with my long-time collaborator, Grant Mitchell, and we gave them over to Vinny and his group of merry men.  So I can claim no credit for this interesting project that’s been done.  All I did was say “Yes.”  It’s fantastically fun.  I would never have thought to have done that and I would never have known how to make that happen.  So the credit entirely goes to Vinny.

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