Jully Black is not known for keeping her opinions to herself.
The outspoken Toronto-born musician was the youngest of nine children and had to shout to be heard. Driven and unafraid, the 28-year-old Black backs up her refreshing frankness with immense talent.
Blessed with a powerful, soaring voice and songwriting skills to match, Black has made a big name for herself in the Canadian music scene and is a widely respected R&B star.
Aside from her gold-selling 2005 debut This is Me — which spawned the ubiquitous summer single "Sweat of Your Brow" — Black has also composed songs for artists like Destiny's Child and Nas. On the side, Black has developed a TV career as a commentator and correspondent for CTV's eTalk Daily.
Black's interviews are must-see television, because unlike all of her peers, she possesses an infectious energy and snags great clips from celebs — often getting them to duet with her and break out into song. On the red carpet for events like the Emmys and Grammys, she attracts reluctant stars to drop by for screen time. "I'm 6'1" in heels," she says. "There's no way they're going to pass this black woman in heels that's sexy and voluptuous on the red carpet."
We caught up with Black to discuss her upbringing, why her music is intently bling-free and why she loves to blog.
Yes, you see Kardinal, Socrates, we all met at summer music camp in 1994. We weren't who we are now; basically we didn't have aliases.
Of course, of course. The thing of an eight year old being able to run next door, to run up the street to grab something for your mom is over because of crime and all that stuff. But we were able to go to the mall by ourselves at young ages. We were able to create music and dance. The school is there, and the library is there. I remember back in the day—‘cause we didn't have computers—we'd go to the library to listen to music. It's still a community where there's a lot of growth going on. I'm proud of being from there, I lived there for eighteen years and it basically made me who I am today.
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