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Review | Julia Fordham live at London’s Union Chapel

By Will Stroude

Like the M&S festive ad campaign, Julia Fordham only comes around once a year and always brings a tear to the eye. It’s that voice of hers: So full of emotion that, on self-penned songs like Towerblock and the occasional cover like Lovin’ You (a 1970s hit for Minnie Ripperton that goes so high it could deafen dogs), it gets into your very soul.

For the uninitiated, Julia is the Portsmouth-born singer-songwriter who came to fame in the late ’80s, struck critical and commercial gold with her Porcelain album and built a devoted fanbase who turn out every time the now-California-based songstress graces these shores.

There can be no finer place for that heavenly voice than the Union Chapel, where Julia stopped off on the London leg of her 2016 tour, and no better setlist than the one she and her band delivered – a “By Request” collection of fan favourites ranging from the obvious (Happy Ever After and Where Does The Time Go? from her debut album) to deep cuts like Stay, which had everyone on their feet and showcased the full, astonishing, no-note-too-elusive range of her vocals.

An advocate of LGBT+ rights with a strong community following, she sings from the heart and banters from the hip, with hilarious asides that are as down-to-earth as her songs are soaring. Check out her two new CDs: Mixed, Shaken & Stirred (the first album remixed by the likes of Shyboy and Bright Light Bright Light) and Live & Untouched (recorded at various venues). Then start counting down the days to her next visit.

Rating: 5/5

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Words by Simon Button

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