By LaToya Cross, Associate Editor
Julie Dexter: Aesthetically Jazz
Julie Dexter is an artist and composer who creates through the vibrations of life.
Six albums in the game, her music, you may have heard. But her performance is what will win you over.
Breaking into the music scene in 2000 with Peace of Mind and embracing her musical journey for the next 10 years, Julie's dedication to her craft is unshakeable.
She's not after the sensationalism of the industry; she'd rather tour the world, perform and meet her fans.
"Thus far I've been on a journey that was cultivating and nurturing in finding my voice," she says humbly. "I just want to be successful in my journey, pay my bills, feed my family; that's all I want to do."
As an independent artist who owns her own label, Ketch A Vibe Records, and pens her own lyrics, without a doubt Dexter's artistry is inspired by her knack for artistic freedom and the ability to relate life and lyrics in a way that sets a sound only she as a creator could bring forth.
One of her most popular songs, "Ketch A Vibe" from her 2003 sophomore album, Dexterity, is a mantra she lives by creatively.
"Music is about feeling a vibration. So you have to find your niche and your audience. You have to find the people who vibrate with you," she enthuses.
This has been a progressive year for the singer in her efforts to provide visuals to the audio. In February, Julie and her crew traveled to Chicago for the production of her first music video and current single, "Come on Home."
She held her album release party at The Shrine Chicago in mid-March, and now anticipates the release of her newest album, New Again, on April 26th.
Who is Julie Dexter?
Music wasn't something that was planned for the British-Jamaican songbird, nor was it forced into her life.
Music was something needed -- something that Julie never stopped searching for and learning about -- and she still remains a student within its realms.
As a child she was drawn to instrumentation, taking lessons and playing the violin, clarinet, and classical music.
"I was really into jazz ... no one was playing jazz music for me. I had to go out and find it," she says. "I had to search and ask other people who were into that music to put me on ... and once I really got into it, nothing else filled my soul in that way."
It was after hearing jazzy vocalists Nancy Wilson and Diane Reeves, to name a few, that she was motivated to pursue her music with a jazz aesthetic.
"Jazz made me want to sing," she says, her British accent flowing fluently. "I remember singers like Whitney Houston and Chaka Khan and admiring them, but when I heard people like Nancy Wilson, Diane Reeves ... I was like, 'I want to do what they do.'
"Jazz is a different kind of singing to me. Jazz singing is very spiritual to me."
Julie's voice is tranquil with melodies that put one at ease while subtle messages release into the psyche, paving way for a connective gravity that offers an invitation for newcomers to experience an aura of jazz and variations of soul and afro-beat.
After witnessing the vibe of her stage set, one wouldn't even know that she still has first-song jitters.
"I'm still shy when I get on stage. So the first song is the hardest for me, but once I get into it, it's a wrap!," she reveals. "I have to close my eyes and get in the moment and then I'll connect with the audience.
"I want people to say, 'I experienced Julie Dexter.' I want to be able to give that experience and sing to them."
With New Again, Julie Dexter is embracing the pastures of self and acknowledging all that's forthcoming. She admits that even though she'll be turning 40 this year, "I just feel like I'm still 20 in the sense of 'new.'
"I have a song called, 'Who I Am' and it's basically talking about my journey thus far, my faults, inspirations and what I've learned and accepted about myself."
The style and content is a relatable message of growth: "I think growth is one thing that we can all relate to," she says.
And while the experiences of family, touring and creating encompass her life's desire, the learning never stops.
She smiles, "Everlasting learning ... I hope and pray that I have many more years on this earth to enjoy my children's life, learn more about being a musician and performer, write many more songs, and I want my husband and children to travel the world -- you don't have to be a millionaire for that."
(For more music and information, visit www.juliedexter.com.)