Julia Biel returns to Chichester’s Minerva Theatre on January 21 at 7.45pm on the back of her latest album, Love Letters and Other Missiles – an album which came ten years on from her acclaimed, self-produced debut, Not Alone.
“The album took quite a long time to come to fruition for various reasons,” Julia says, “and then when it emerged, I was pleased with the way it came out.
“My journey as a singer-songwriter has been topsy-turvy in terms of normal progress. In the main, a lot of singer-songwriters start out on their own and perform on their own and then maybe or maybe not they build up a band around them after their initial foray. But I began as a singer and started writing songs with a guitarist and then we put a band around us as a unit. I wrote songs on my own, but they were not the songs we came out with. We had a band, and I was there fronting a band of five other people. And then after that, it became smaller and smaller and then I worked on my own and became a self-accompanying singer-songwriter on stage after having had that experience of working with a band. For me, that’s how it was, and I wouldn’t change it.
“The downside is that I was not fully aware of having to explore my own voice. I thought it was great to do this collaboration and didn’t fully explore my own voice on its own. And then I did, and I wanted to fully look at the sound world I had. My first album was 2005 and then we were touring that until the end of 2006, and then after 2007, I really hunkered down to focus on my own songs and find out what my own sound world was. That was the beginning of quite a long process. I began accompanying myself on stage, and then I began to learn the guitar at that point. And then I had to find the right instrumentation around me. It was almost like beginning again and so there was another long break. In some senses, it was a bit of a downer because the first album was really well received and it would have been the easiest thing just to do another album in the same vein. But I am not the kind of person that always takes the easiest route. But you are learning and growing and evolving all the time…
“On Love Letters and Other Missiles there are a couple of songs where my producer contributed a little bit more and so I credited him as a co-writer. (What the album is about) is pretty much there in the title. I wanted a title that would reflect the fact about the emotional violence that we do to each other on an every-day level. We give and we receive a lot of stuff that has quite a lot of emotional impact which we often don’t realise. That was what I was trying to put across. You have to write from personal experience.
“The next album is very much underway and should be out at the end of the year.”
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