Singing a classy brew of jazz, funk and pop, JULIE LORD has a hot new CD out there. Mike Rimmer met the lady.

Julie Lord: Voice of a lifetime

Julie Lord is sitting in a smoky cafe in Newcastle city centre and it's the first time we've met. Our previous contact had been via email so I am a little shocked to find Julie is an Essex girl! Singing since the age of 16 and a member of '80s band Crossfire, when she relocated to Newcastle, Julie fronted a local AOR band Heart & Soul and that experience has helped define her own solo work playing to both church and unchurched audiences. She remembers, "Heart & Soul played many commercial as well as Christian gigs as it was our vision to get heard outside the 'cosy1 Christian environment."

Julie has spent time performing in clubs. "Soul destroying I know and those audiences don't take prisoners. I went out on my own and learnt how to handle all types of audience and I'm still learning! I sang at pub gigs and some Christian and church events then Andy Curtis rang me and my direction changed!"

She explains what happened, "I wasn't planning on doing any more recording at all but God had other ideas! As a result of an ad I placed in a Baptist regional newsletter, Andy Curtis of Griffin Studios phoned me and asked if I'd do some session singing on some worship songs he was recording. In return he recorded an original track of mine, 'Forbidden Fruit'. But this one track quickly turned into a four track demo, which in turn became an album. Before the album was finished, Brian Taylor of New Dawn Music liked what he heard and brought the project into the New Dawn stable."

The 'Lifetime' album itself straddled the gap between Christian and mainstream music. Julie agrees, "In a way this was deliberate. Heart & Soul had a vision to play Christian-orientated material to a secular audience, kind of pre-evangelism, hoping that people, while enjoying good quality music, would take some note of the lyrics and begin to question. This is the way I write. I have continued in the same vein as H&S as I feel God has taken me into the world of pubs, clubs and hotels for a reason. He has trained me to cope with audiences, and really enjoy it. I also got to know the Christian CCM scene. I feel there is definitely a place for this kind of music with non-blatant but definitely Christian lyrics. The churches we have played in certainly think so."

I suggest to Julie that she makes adult music. She laughs and responds, "Maybe it's because I'm an adult!! I think the style is different from most other CCM, but does have chart elements to it. Our music seems to appeal mostly to people 25 plus, but having said that it has gone down very well in youth-orientated events. I actually feel there is generally a lack of musical events for 'adults' in churches. It seems like the youth group gets the rock band and the adults, if they're lucky, get the classical recital. Well, here's some news, church leaders, the youth group have grown up!" CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.