A jazz- and pop-influenced singer/songwriter, Britain's Julia Fordham is an eclectic artist with a loyal cult following. A native of Portsmouth, England, Fordham performed folk music in local clubs, sang with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, and worked as member of Mari Wilson's backing troupe the Wilsations before embarking on her solo career. In 1988, Fordham released her eponymously titled debut, Julia Fordham, which showed off her low, smoky jazz bar, dulcet voice and contained four singles: "The Comfort of Strangers," "Woman of the 80's," her first hit "Happy Ever After," and "Where Does the Time Go."
The following year, Porcelain consolidated her presence as a leading album artist. Produced by Hugh Padgham, Grant Mitchell, and Fordham herself, standout tracks include "Lock and Key"; tonally warm, her vocal delivery was likened to Joni Mitchell's, with whom she'd be further linked in years to come). Porcelain guested Manu Katche and Pino Palladino among its high-caliber lineup.
More bittersweet tales of hopelessness in the art of relationships were outlined in 1991's Swept, which included the excellent "I Thought It Was You" as well as "(Love Moves In) Mysterious Ways." Also featured in the film The Butcher's Wife, "(Love Moves In) Mysterious Ways" climbed to number 19, making it her biggest U.K. hit to date.
Relocating to the States, Fordham released her fourth studio album, the Larry Klein-produced Falling Forward in 1994. In 1997, she returned with East West, which featured production from Canadian guitarist Michael Brook. A solid greatest-hits compilation was released in 1999 and her last contractual effort for Virgin, the aptly titled Collection, included updated versions of "Happy Ever After" and "Where Does the Time Go" as well as "Killing Me Slowly" from East West.
A new deal with Division One/Atlantic prevailed in time for the 2002 release of her sixth studio album, the Klein-produced Concrete Love. Fordham then moved to the Vanguard label for 2004's That's Life and the live CD/DVD combo, That's Live, in 2005. Inspired by the birth of her daughter, Fordham next released the EP Baby Love in 2007. The jazz-influenced China Blue, featuring a duet with Michael McDonald, followed in 2008. Two years later, she teamed with actor and pianist Paul Reiser for the album Unusual Suspects.
In 2014, Fordham released the covers album The Language of Love, which featured jazz and bossa nova reworkings of songs by Blondie, the Eurythmics, 10cc, and others. ~ Kelvin Hayes
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