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French songstress Juliette Jules released her new EP, Black Crow about a month ago, on her 16th birthday. The unsigned singer began playing on the streets of Paris at 14, and so already has a decent SoundCloud profile under the tutelage of Producer and Manager Peter Karrol, whom she purportedly met while playing in a park.
Black Crow showcases all of Jules’ many and sundry influences, which she names in her Facebook profile: Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, and Billie Holiday on the vocal side, and Punk Rock icons like Sex Pistols and The Clash on the musical side. Leonard Cohen shows up most conspicuously on Black Crow, as Jules chooses to cover the legendary “Hallelujah” in a tribute which is both respectful and in her own style. Click the player above to hear Jules’ version of this classic.
The rest of the album varies in style from purist folk in “Johnny Was” to the pretty and dramatic title track where Juliette stretches her vocal range to showcase her operatic training.
Speaking of vocals, Jules’ voice generally has a very sweet Norah Jones quality, and a sort of halting way of finishing phrases. It lends itself well to folk and blues, but of course the surprise happens when the listener realizes she can also belt out from her diaphragm and her organically mousey voice then takes on a much more well-trained and clear quality. In future she will more than likely find more and more interesting to blend and transition these two elements of her voice.
Though musically sparse, all of the tracks on Black Crow see Jules playing all of the instruments on the backing track, and her producer insists she heavily influenced the production and post to make the album uniquely hers.
At 16, Juliette Jules already seems to know what she loves about music and what she wants from her career. As she develops her sound, she will surely find ways of blending all of her influences and training into a style all her own. At present, however, she is happy that her summer break has arrived in Paris, and content to spend those warm days singing in the streets. Black Crow can be streamed in full on SoundCloud, or is available for free download on Jules’ Bandcamp page.
Written by Layla Marino