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19th February 2018

Happy Ever After


Q: It’s thirty years since your debut solo album. Many critics call it one of the best debut albums of the  80s. What were your reflections and feelings listening back to the 2016 re-issue as you wrote your annotated track notes?


JF: I think like most people who make an album, you don’t really listen back to that album unless you are asked to do something like prepare for a collection. It was put together by Cherry Red Records and a particularly splendid fellow named Vinny Vero who sounds a lot like yourself - a music loving journalist – and I liked him both as a person and music industry, old school passion-infused human. When I first went to meet him to talk about it, I listened back to the record and the first thing that struck me about it was how fast, different and optimistic it was compared to the second record. I think we really nailed something with Happy Ever After. We captured the sounds, the songs were all really strong but I didn’t like the up-tempo things. I didn’t like Unconditional Love although I did love the horn arrangement on it and I am still friends with Joe Mardin who put that together – Grant and I just saw him. I didn’t like Woman Of The 80’s because I was trying to be witty and I was too young and naïve but that’s the great thing about those records in that you throw yourself in. You don’t know about labels or criticism; none of these things occur to you so when you go onto your second record, you are much more measured. That first record was just full of passionate pace, things like My Lover’s Keeper just killed me. You see, you only get your 20’s once and that energy, that perspective, that pace and that’s what is so interesting about life. Here I am, thirty years on from that record, I’m in Japan where Happy Ever After was No.1and that song still connects and resonates with people.


Q: You’re a music business survivor. Aside from having a marvelous voice, to what else do you accredit your longevity, the fact that you just keep going?


JF: Well that’s it; I just keep going! (smiles) It’s an interesting question because the next thing I’m doing is tour in November with two very successful British singers; Judie Tzuke who I love and was a huge influence on me - her Welcome to the Cruise album and everything about her - and Beverly Craven who came after me. I remember hearing Promise Me in a record shop and thinking ‘Who is this angel singing this beautiful, instantaneous Pop?’ What’s curious too me is that they never came to other parts of the world and the only thing I think that could be is something I remember my record company saying to me on my 4th record and that was that they needed me too move to America. Most artists don’t have the gumption to do that because it’s hard, it’s terrifying – you know that; you did it.


Q: Yes I did and you’re right.


JF: That 4th album, it really took a lot for me to break away from Grant Mitchell my long-time collaborator but I had the opportunity to go to Los Angeles. I met Joni Mitchell, do I want to come to her house and make a record with Larry Klein? Of course I do but there wasn’t anybody helping me. I remember being in a car and nearly killing myself but I think it’s something about that move which actually enabled me to keep going. I also followed the invitations to keep coming back to Japan even after I had a baby. I will say it’s been very hard to keep going especially I my position as a singer songwriter. I’ve never really smashed one out of the park like Annie Lenox or Sade but I have developed a devoted following. That in itself does not a living make but it does an opportunity bestow. You know, the six-day turnaround is crazy when you come to somewhere like Japan but I still want to do it and I think that’s a big part of it. Also I’ve been song-driven all my life so I always want to record that next song which propels me and then once you have that next song, it’s like a hook that takes me to the next thing.


Early Days


Q: I read in a few interviews that you are from near Portsmouth – where exactly if you don’t mind my asking?


JF: Not at all. I always say near Portsmouth because nobody ever bothers to look it up but I actually come from Heyling Island.


Q: You and I are about the same age. I was into T.Rex, Showaddywaddy and Mud. Who were you listening to – aside from Minnie Ripperton of course?


JF: Here’s the honest answer to that. So many musicians say ‘My Mum was always playing..’ (laughs) but not my parents – we didn’t have a record player until I was about twelve! Now this is a true story. One of the neighbours tells my Mum and Dad that they need to get this record by ‘Neil’ and my Mum tells me who it is. Now, from walking where we were living to Heyling Town, by the time I had got there, I had forgotten who it was and I told the woman in the shop ‘It’s Neil someone’ and she said ‘Young?’ I said ‘That’s it!’ but it was actually Neil Diamond. I knew it was something sparkly so I said yes when she said Neil Young. (laughs) That set me off on the correct trajectory…I could have come home with a Neil Diamond record and things could have been very different. (smiles) That Neil Young record was ‘Wow!’ incredible to me. So the first things that were categorically influential on me were  Neil Young, Joni Mitchell…by the time I was fourteen I had already started writing songs because I had heard a couple of girls singing Blowing In The Wind and Streets Of London at school assembly. I was never the sporty person and so I made friends with Pat and Heather. I used to go to Pat’s house and she taught me three chords and as soon as I had the chords to those two songs, I just started writing. By the time I was fourteen, I had some songs, I ended up in the local Folk Club in Portsmouth and that’s where I heard my first Joni Mitchell song – A Case Of You and I got the old beautiful vinyl of Blue. That was followed by Joan Armatrading. I went to a friend’s house and said I wanted to be a songwriter and back then it was like saying you wanted to be brain surgeon or a rocket scientist, there was no reference for it at all and I was trying to explain it to my friend’s sister and she said ‘I think I know what you mean; you need to listen to this woman’ and she brought out a Joan Armatrading album and I couldn’t believe it. Here was this small woman, brilliant songs singing in this low voice and then I was about eighteen and the Rickie Lee Jones album with Chuck E.’s In Love was life changing and then a little bit after, Judie Tzuke comes into play. I heard (sings For You from Welcome To The Cruise) and I was working at a radio station at the time and I just remember being incapacitated by that song so me going on tour with Judie is a total mind warp! Those were the main women but also I’ve always loved Chrissie Hynde. I’m not a Rocker but there is something about her visually and her force and also Debbie Harry – she had an incredible presence. Some of the other traditional singer songwriters, Paul Simon, John Martyn’s Solid Air as well. These were all influences.


Songs, Albums and Recording


Q: You have a remarkable ability lyrically to write simply without being glib. How hard is it for you to write lyrics like that? Is it natural?

JF: Yes. Sometimes I need my glib editor but it is how the songs come. Sometimes I set out to write a song but most of the time, songs come through me and too me and I can tell when something is strong. It’s really weird because I can do it when I’m doing other things…it just sort of comes. I don’t even grab a guitar…I get the melody and the words at the same time. For example, Happy Ever After, suddenly this thing will come and it goes (sings Don’t ask me why…) I don’t try to force it. Thank you for your kind words though.


Q: You must have sung a thousand love songs, love another thousand, how did you select the twelve for your The Language of Love album?


JF: We had a certain brief from the label and that brief was that we do pretty much a standards record. Now what I really liked about Victor Japan is that we told them so many people had done that brilliantly like Diana Krall who has just nailed that with fabulous arrangements and a gorgeous voice so we asked them if we could pick really curious covers and they said yes but their one criteria was that the songs were smash hits in Japan or loved by the Japanese people and that was a really easy compromise for us. Going back to Chrissie Hynde, we were trying so hard to make a Jazz version of Brass In Pocket but we just couldn’t get it. I also wanted to do Alanis Morrisette’s (sings You Oughta Know) but we couldn’t make it swing and they also said it wasn’t a big hit here and not appropriate and there were some others they said no to but I don’t worry about that though because I’ve got ten more ideas like 10CC’s I’m Not In Love. It was interesting to work with a record company because we hadn’t done it for a while and we worked extremely hard. I couldn’t have done that record without Grant Mitchell because he has the genius chops and he worked so hard on the arrangements. Then we hired a bunch of unbelievable musicians who did three tracks a day and I was well prepared for that with my voice. We did three takes of each song, chose one and then worked around that. 


Q: Grant Mitchell was with you on that debut album, he’s still here today. What does he bring to the table?


JF: He’s an outstanding musician and an incredible human and it turns out, a wonderful cook! I found this out because had been wanting to move to America and he has been staying in my freezing cold TV room. I hate cooking and have got a kid and one day he said ‘Shall I cook?’ and it turns out he’s like a genius chef. So my musical backbone for all these years is now my innocent chef. (smiles)


Q:There are a lot of great voices in the world but in my on opinion, many of those voices these days are buried in production. What’s your opinion of how the music scene has gone with production overtaking talent in many ways?


JF: Here’s the thing: one thing that is interesting about living in America, in L.A., is that there isn’t just a Pop chart. There is this incredible open, welcoming embrace for everything. You can be in your own niche and you can find your niche radio. You can be a singer songwriter and listen to the singer songwriter station. There is a Pop station which I listen to all the time because I have a kid who is twelve so my take on it is that although that’s what kids like or it is the main event of the moment and the production element plays a part, time waits for no man and whilst I’m trying to get my head around the fact that my kid is a fan, it’s also not in the same way of the singer songwriter presentation and formulae that we resonate with. There is a lot of talent that is still emerging and because I’m forced to listen to it so much, I understand it now so I don’t have that feeling that it’s all gone to pot. Bruno Mars has everything and Lady Gaga…I want a swan outfit! (laughs)


Q: Julia, thank you very much for time. I’ve run a bit over for which I apologise and I should let you get to your soundcheck.


JF: Thank you.

ジュリア・フォーダム インタビュー



Happy Ever After



ジュリア・フォーダム(以下JF):レコーディング・アーティストなら思うような感想だったわ。解説を頼まれることでもない限り、自分のアルバムなんてあまり聴き返したりしないものだから。あのリイシュー盤はチェリー・レッド・レコードが制作したんだけど、ヴィニー・ヴェロという素晴らしい仲間と巡り会えたの。ありのままの私のサウンドにしてくれたのよ。根っから音楽を愛するジャーナリストなの。人間としても、音楽業界人としても好きになったわ。古き良き時代の情熱を持っている人でね。彼と初めて打ち合わせをした時、あのレコードを聴き返してみて、セカンド・アルバムに比べて何て勢いがあって明るいんだろう、って思ったの。「Happy Ever After」のあの世界ね。私たちはこのサウンドを磨いたわ。楽曲はどれも強力だったけど、アップテンポなナンバーは私の好みじゃなかったの。「Unconditional Love」みたいな曲はね。でもホーンのアレンジは気に入っていたし、あれをやってくれたジョー・マーディンとは今も友だちだしね。つい最近もグラントと私は彼に会ったところなのよ。「Woman Of The 80’s」もあまり好きじゃないの。ことさらうまく歌おうとしているところが見えるから。若気の至りってやつね。でもアルバムの中では自分の実力を発揮できたいい曲だと思うわ。レコード会社の事情やプレスの批評なんて気にしなかったから、こんなアルバムが作れたんだと思うわ。だからセカンド・アルバムの時は構えてしまったの。デビュー・アルバムは情熱に満ちていたのにね。「My Lover’s Keeper」なんて自分でも最高だと思うわ。20年代のムードって分かる?エネルギーに満ちてて、前途揚々で勢いがあって、人生を謳歌してるって感じ。あのレコードから30年経って、今、私は「Happy Ever After」がナンバーワンになったここ日本に居る。この曲が日本の人たちと私を結び続け、響き合っているのよね。



JF:うーん・・・ただやってきただけよ!(笑)興味深い質問だわ。今年の11月には有名なイギリスのシンガー二人とツアーをする予定なの。一人はジュディ・ツークで、大好きなの。すごく影響も受けた人でもある。『Welcome to the Cruise』という彼女のアルバムは素晴らしいわ。まさにあれが彼女、って感じよね。それと、私のフォロワーでもあるビヴァリー・クレイヴァン。レコード店で彼女の「Promise Me」を聴いたことがあったの。その時、「なんて素晴らしいの?まるで天使のようじゃない?」って思ったのよ。すごく興味が湧いたんだけど、その時はそれどころじゃなかったの。レコード会社が4枚目のアルバムについて、もっとアメリカンナイズしろと言ってきてたりしてね。敢えてそんなことをするアーティストなんていないわよね。すごく大変でお門違いも甚だしい。そうでしょ?











JF:正直に答えるわね。ミュージシャンならよく言うでしょ。「母がいつも演奏していて・・・」なんて(笑)。でも私の両親はレコード・プレーヤーさえ持っていなかったの。我が家でプレーヤーを買ったのは、私が12歳になってからだったのよ!本当に。近所の人が両親に「ニールのレコードはいいよ。」って言ったの。母は誰、それ?って言ったわ。中心部のヘイリング街まで歩いて出て行って、誰だったか忘れたけど店員に訊いたの。「ニールのレコードを。」って。彼女は「ヤングの?」って言った。私は「ええ、それ!」って。でも実際はニール・ダイヤモンドのことだったのよね。でもその時、閃いたの。だからニール・ヤングって言われて「そう!」って言っちゃった(笑)。そのおかげで正しい道を歩むことができたわ。ニール・ダイヤモンドのレコードを買って帰ってもよかったんだけど、それならまた違った結果になっていたわね(笑)。ニール・ヤングのレコードは、もう「ワォ!」って感じだった。1曲目からノックアウトされたわ。ニール・ヤング、ジョニ・ミッチェル。14歳になる頃にはもう曲を書き始めていたの。学校の集会なんかで女子たちが「Blowing In The Wind」や「Streets Of London」を歌っていたからね。私は体育会系じゃなくて、パットとヘザーという友だちができたの。パットの家に行って、3コードを教えてもらった。するとすぐにこの2曲のコード進行が分かったの。それですぐに曲を書き始めた。14歳頃までに何曲か書いて、ポーツマスのフォーク・クラブで歌うまでになったわ。そこでジョニ・ミッチェルの曲を初めて聴いたの。「A Case Of You」よ。あの名盤『Blue』ね。ジョーン・アーマトレイディングがカバーしてたわね。友だちの家に行って、ソングライターになりたいって言ってたの。脳外科医やロケット科学者になりたいって言うような、たわいないものよ。その友だちのお姉さんに一生懸命説明したわ。彼女は「あなたの気持ちは分かったわ。じゃあこの人のレコードを聴かなきゃ。」って言って、ジョーン・アーマトレイディングを教えてくれたの。信じられなかったわ。こんな小柄な女性がすごく低い声で素晴らしい曲を歌っているなんて。私が18歳の頃だったわね。「恋するチャック」の入ったリッキー・リー・ジョーンズのレコードにも参ったわ。その後すぐにジュディ・ツークと知り合ったの。(「For You from Welcome To The Cruise」を歌いながら)を聴いたの。当時、私はラジオ局で働いていたんだけど、この曲を聴いて全身が脱力したのを憶えているわ。だからジュディと一緒にツアーすることは私の精神を解放するようなことなのよ!挙げてきた女性シンガーをメインに聴いてきたんだけど、クリッシー・ハインドも大好きなの。私はロック・ミュージシャンじゃないけど、彼女のルックス、パワーには感じるものがあるのよ。それとデビー・ハリーも。彼女なんて、すごい存在感があるでしょ。他にも重鎮のシンガーソングライターたち、ポール・サイモンとか、ジョン・マーティンの『Solid Air』とかもね。そんな人たちから影響を受けたわ。





JF:ええ、自然によ。時々饒舌にもなるんだけど、曲はだいたいシンプルに仕上がるわね。時々、構えて曲を書くんだけど、そういう時は大抵何も浮かんでこないわね。私の場合、何か強烈なものを感じると書けるのよ。本当に不思議なことよね。何か他の事に気を取られている時に浮かんできたりするものね。ギターさえ持っていない時よ。メロディも詞も一緒に浮かんでくるの。例えば、「Happy Ever After」は突然閃いたの。(Don’t ask me why・・・と歌いながら)無理にひねり出さなくてもね。褒めてくれてありがとう。


Q:もう何千曲もラブソングを歌ってこられましたし、何千と恋をされてきたと思いますが、『The Language of Love』にはなぜあの12曲を選んだのですか?

JF:レコード会社から指示があったの。スタンダードになるようなレコードにしよう、って。日本ビクターのことは気に入っていたから、ダイアナ・クロールのように、素晴らしいアレンジと情感たっぷりの声で王道を行くようなものにしましょう、って言ったのよ。そこでちょっと珍しいカバー曲を選んでほしいと頼んだの。彼らは承諾してくれたけど、一つ条件があって、それは日本でヒットしたり、日本人に好まれている曲でなきゃだめということだったの。そんなことは私たちにとっては何でもないことだった。クリッシー・ハインドが頭に浮かんで、「Brass In Pocket」をジャズ風にアレンジしたんだけど、これには苦労したわ。結局仕上げられなかった。アラニス・モリセットのこれ(You Oughta Knowと歌う)もスウィングできなかったわ。彼らはこの曲は日本ではヒットしてないからだめだと言ったし、他にもダメ出しをされた曲がいくつもあったわ。でも私は気にしなかった。10CCの「 I’m Not In Love」とか、いくらでもアイデアはあったからね。レコード会社と一緒にあれこれやっているのは楽しかったわ。なかなか仕上がらなくて、悪戦苦闘だったから。グラント・ミッチェルなしにはできなかったわね。彼が渾身のアレンジをやってくれたから。もう天才的だったわ。1日に3曲を仕上げるために信じられないようなミュージシャンも雇ったし。声の準備はちゃんとしていたのよ。1曲に3テイク取って、その中から1テイクを選ぶって感じだった。そんな風にして作っていったのよ。










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