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Julia Biel

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Biography of Julia Biel

From Bjork, Thom Yorke and Billie Holiday, to Alison Goldfrapp, Suzanne Vega and Rickie Lee Jones, singer/songwriter Julia Biel has been compared to them all. Julia describes her sound as 'acoustic soul-folk' - and although critics have struggled to define her sound they all agree that she is a huge talent with her own style. With skilful songwriting that contains a distinctive truth, and an ability to deliver emotional content with a depth and authenticity, it is no wonder that The Guardian heralds her 'a star on the rise'.

In the summer of 2005, Biel released her debut album, Not Alone. 'Blessed with an expressive, beautiful voice' suggested Time Out, 'the album is a seductive affair... with songs that mark her out from the crowd'. Indeed, Julia immediately grabbed the attention of critics, concert-bookers and fans alike - the album received a plethora of glowing reviews and has sold around 3,000 CDs to date in the UK alone - no mean feat considering Julia produced and recorded the album herself, and released it on her own label with a skeletal promo campaign that still saw her managing to bag herself an interview on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour.

Julia will be joined on-stage for this tour by a line-up of outstandingly gifted musicians - 'one of the best rhythm sections around' - exalted the London Evening Standard. These include her collaborator and co-writer on 'Not Alone', guitarist, Johnny Phillips, Idris Rahman (flute, clarinet and BVs); Ben Davis (cello) Jasper Hoiby (double bass), and the Mercury nominated drummer Seb Rochford.

Although comparisons have been drawn between Julia and a plethora of other artists, she's drawing her influences from within rather than anyone else: 'Like any artist I readily absorb influences from other musicians. And maybe that's why I'm not really listening to too much other music at the moment. I need to keep a sense of myself - so I like silence as it gives me time to connect with myself. If I'm not in touch with myself I can't begin to express anything with real meaning.'

Julia first rose to fame when she won the Perrier Vocalist of the Year Award back in 2000. Around that time she also began her involvement with the revered London based F-IRE Collective - inc her co-songwriter on 'Not Alone' Jonny Phillips, otherworldly pianist Robert Mitchell and feted drummer Sebastian Rochford, who invited her to perform lead vocals on the debut album 'Dimlit' from 2005's Mercury Prize nominees Polar Bear. Jazzwise magazine noted Julia's contribution to the album: 'its chilly, hair-standing-on-end effect is unimaginable without the voice behind the lyrics, singer Julia Biel' and BBC Radio 1's Gilles Peterson subsequently invited Julia to record one of her co-written tracks for a session on his prestigious 'Worldwide' radio show.

Julia released her debut album 'Not Alone' in the summer of 2005, garnering plaudits from all the broadsheets – the album was placed as review number 4 out of 50 in the August issue of the Observer Music Monthly with a stunning review that proclaimed it: 'a well-crafted album of originals that explore a wide range of moods (where) she's content to let melody and lyrics do the work for her. Not only is her voice warm and natural, but nothing sounds forced and she's convincing. Which of course, is a sure sign of genuine talent' - as the paper proclaimed, Julia is indeed the 'real Biel'.

It comes as no surprise then, that since the release of Not Alone, Julia has been very much in demand. With news of the debut album spreading fast and a near sell-out 20-date UK tour in the spring, the ad men of Soho quickly tuned into her music and recruited her as the focus of a global print campaign for the new Nokia MP3 player/mobile. The campaign, entitled 'I am My Music', was launched in June 2006, and reflects Julia's life as an artist with photos of her with her band, her friends and growing up.

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