Juno-Award winning R&B singer Jully Black plays the Shenkman Arts Centre Wednesday.
Are you happy to be coming back to Ottawa?
Ottawa’s awesome. (I’ve played) Winterlude twice. I feel like it’s my second home. I have family there, I have great friends there. It’s a wonderful place.
You performed for the Queen this year.
Yes, actually, I was in London for Canada Day, playing Trafalgar Square, and got the call to sing for her when she was in Toronto. I visited Buckingham Palace when she wasn’t there. I thought, girl, I coulda sang at your house!
Did you get to meet her?
I did, yes. It’s so interesting. You know they brief you; don’t look at her. They think you’re going to turn into a pillar of salt or something. She was really nice. She came right up to Metric and myself and shook our hands and thanked us for being there. Everybody else was like rigor mortis, stone frozen. We’re from a different generation, clearly. I think people want to be treated like human beings, even the Queen, like come on! I looked right at her and she gave me a little grin, you know, all good. She was wonderful, very cute, petite. It was one of my milestones, definitely, for sure.
Was there extra nervousness before that performance? Are you the type that gets stage fright?
Of course I do. If I don’t get nervous it’s time to buy my own plot and call it a day. The nerves let me know that I’m still doing it for the right reasons. But I wasn’t nervous to sing for her; I was nervous to sing in French. I did part of it in French, and I did well.
Is there any music you listen to that might surprise people?
You know that’s a good question. That’s the first time anybody’s ever asked me that question. Yeah, I think people would be surprised that I listen to Spoon and The Raconteurs and The Script. I think they’d be surprised on the more recent, rock-eqsue type music that I listen to. I’m a late ’70s baby, so The Police or Genesis or all that stuff, that was natural. The radio wasn’t segregated back in the day. We heard everything. I also still dig in the crates and pull out some Dolly Parton because I think she’s the most phenomenal songwriter on Earth.
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