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Fast Five: Julie McKee



When did you begin making music, and did you ever ponder a different career?

I started playing piano when I was about seven, but I’ve sung for as long as I can remember. My first career was in publishing, but I harboured dreams of doing music professionally and was always going to open mics, doing gigs with different musicians and trying stuff out. Then I began in earnest when I went to the Guildhall School of Music & Drama to do a postgrad in jazz and things took off from there.

How would you describe your music?

It’s always changing, but very lyric-driven, mostly acoustic and often intense with shades of soul, folk and blues. Think Agnes Obel meets Randy Newman meets Regina Spektor and that gives you some idea.

What have you been up to so far and what can we expect over the coming months?

I’ve been writing, recording, gigging and am playing songs from my latest album, Light on the Ledge, at a showcase concert at the Brunel Museum’s Tunnel Shaft, a new performance space, in London in April.

If you could duet with anybody who would it be and why?

Randy Newman, because he’s so witty and has a lot of humour in his way of performing.

What’s your desert island disc and why would you take this one album?

Nina Simone, Released. Although she has made so many albums, this one is quite rare, with loads of different moods and styles – there’s always something on it to draw me in. I love the way she takes a song and sings and plays it like nobody else. She makes covers sound like she wrote them herself.


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