Good buddy Mike Rogers at Marketing Japan passed along the hush-hush video to me of one beautiful young Japanese woman named Julie.
Just last week, her second album of smooth songs "J" was released globally, and it is garnering rave reviews.
I am unsure what 'J' stands for: Julie? Japan? Jazz? Joint? But, it's good not to be pigeon-holed.
Take a look at the YouTube video below of her new release Johnny Guitar, an old jazz classic... as Mike says, and I whole-heartedly agree... it doesn't seem like it's a Japanese anything.
Expecting J-Pop, or someone singing totally in Japanese with three poorly pronounced words of English? Look somewhere else.
This is internationalization at work here!
Yes, Julie is Japanese... Japanese-American to be precise... born in the U.S...
In the video, the first thing you notice is that it completely feels European... Italian, in fact. No idea... perhaps because it lacks to sizzle of US videos, and instead relies on maintaining decorum.
The video was filmed in Italy and directed by an Italian director... and it was done for one reason and one reason only... Julie's music is not Japanese... it transcends borders, and is only restricted by those who want to pigeon-hole it as 'jazz'.
If Johnny Guitar is jazz, it's soulful jazz.
Usually to me, having played jazz on the clarinet, jazz is a eight musicians high on something playing eight different variations of a song... not necessarily the same song, in the same time signature or even the same key. I kid, of course.
But Julie does capture the key component of jazz - feeling the music. You can feel the emotion in Julie's voice, and it gives me shivers up and down my spine.
Anyhow... songstress Peggy Lee originally sang Johnny Guitar, the title track of the 1954 western film of the same name... and, having seen the movie many years ago, the song is much, much better.
In fact, the song is definitely more famous than the movie... and Julie does the song proud.
Here's a short bio on Julie (yes, no last-name offered):
JULIE born in California and raised in Japan. She is a jazz singer with Hotei Tomoyasu's company (He played for the queen of England for her 50th Jubilee). Julie comes from a very musical family and has been around musicians and famous people all her life. She is a very big David Bowie fan. Her favorite movie is the Rocky Horror Picture Show. She speaks perfect Japanese and English.
Anyhow... while I don't know Julie personally, she is the daughter of a friend, and if you like what you hear, buy a copy of her album.