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Black and White, Volume 1

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Black and White, Volume 1
Black and White, Volume 1


An award-winning original artist - singer, songwriter, piano player, producer, guitarist - whose neo mellow sound combines an indie jazz approach with art-pop sensibilities, it's JULIA BIEL's voice and piano playing that feature on her 4th album release, an album of exclusively solo recordings. 'Black and White, Volume 1' comments on the binary concepts of 'black' and 'white' in what she feels should by now be a post-'racial' world. Using just the black and white keys of the piano and her mixed 'black' and 'white' heritage, the British-born dual British/German national with South African roots seeks to reach beyond the polarising concept of division along skin colour lines, to remind the listener of and to confront them with their own emotions to take these two colours and transform them into a landscape of sonic colour in the process. "Because on the level of shared emotion is where everyone connects," says Julia. "Skin colour, background, political persuasion or any other societal construct should have no bearing on our ability to empathise with each other nor should these things be allowed to deny someone their right to expressing anything less than the full spectrum of human emotion." Recorded in her own studio, produced by long-term partner Idris Rahman and mixed by Emre Ramazanoglu, the result is a set of intimate and raw solo recordings rendered spell-binding in large part due to hers being a voice like no other. Unhurried and unmistakeable, dripping with emotion with every syllable, you can hear this voice unashamedly bending notes, whispering, sometimes emerging pure of tone, sometimes cracking woundedly, or soaring with wordless adlibs; liberated from artifice to be fully and freely expressive in the moment of the song being sung. Deceptively simple songs deal with confusion, pain, insecurity, joy, the power of words, the power of love to uplift us and also to constrain us and more and are all imbued with her trademark poetic storytelling, revealing an ever sharper perspective on life and love with repeated listens. Since her debut album release in 2005, the airy folk-jazz of the much lauded 'Not Alone' when she was surrounded by her erstwhile F-IRE Collective cohorts, Julia has carved out an individualistic career path combining her singular song-writing artistry with a jazz-informed vocal style, producing two further full studio albums as band-leader. MOBO-nominated 'Love Letters and Other Missiles' (2015) and the eponymous album 'Julia Biel' (2018) have resulted in the last few years being filled with extensive international touring, and have seen her performing headline sets with a full band right across UK, Europe and beyond at some of the biggest jazz festivals in the world. But whether headlining Zorlu PSM Festivali in Turkey or opening for Bob Dylan in Stuttgart, she would return each time to her native Britain and find it increasingly in turmoil and divided, often finding herself struggling to find her place within it. "As a nation I think we are going through a period of learning what happens when we don't fully understand our own part in a shared global history and how that will play out is yet to be seen. I'm not saying resolving this stuff is easy but in my view it all begins and ends with the commonality of the human experience. If we can hold onto that and connect to some real emotion in our own selves then we stand a chance of acknowledging a shared humanity and recognising the equal value we all bring to this world."


  1. Name
  2. Broken Little Pieces - Solo Piano And Voice Version
  3. Diamond Dust - Solo Piano And Voice Version
  4. Room With A View - Interlude 1
  5. The Wilderness - Solo Piano/Voice Version
  6. Three Little Words - Solo Piano/Voice Version
  7. Shhh - Solo Piano/Voice Version
  8. Licence To Be Cruel - Solo Piano/Voice Version
  9. Little Girl - Solo Piano/Voice Version
  10. Onwards - Interlude 2
  11. Say It Out Loud - Solo Piano/Voice Version
  12. You Could Turn A Rainbow Grey - Solo Piano/Voice Version

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