When the successful run of Universal Music pop group Sugar Jones came to an end Julie Crochetiere decided to kick-start her solo career.

In 2003, she wrote and independently released her first EP, Café. This led to performances at some of the most highly respected music venues in Toronto, Montreal and New York and invites to the Toronto and Ottawa jazz festivals, Canadian Music Week, North by Northeast and the Montreal International Jazz Festival.

Even though Sugar Jones had achieved platinum-selling record status, Crochetiere says she always knew there was something more for her to explore.

“Well, nobody really left Sugar Jones — Sugar Jones just kind of dissipated, it’s a group that was formed and had a specific mandate,” Crochetiere tells Metro. “Eventually, everyone sort of parted and started doing their different things and the record company moved on to other things as well.”

The break gave the singer a clean slate and a shot at writing her own music and building something from scratch. Her debut album, A Better Place, was released through Somerset Entertainment earlier this year.

So far, Crochetiere’s soulful vocals have been compared to the likes of Norah Jones, Sade and Corrine Bailey Rae.

“I’m very inspired from the sound of the 1970s, musicians in the room, it was strings and horns and choirs, that’s what I really wanted on this album,” she says.

The record, which has been distributed across Canada and the United States in different lifestyle boutiques and listening posts, has gained such a positive reaction from listeners that people have been emailing Crochetiere about their experience in discovering her music.

“It’s kind of surreal and crazy. I’ve had some really good comments … it seems that people are connecting to it which makes me happy because I really put all my heart into this album,” she says.

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