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A perfect fit for the Philippines

APRYLLE LIABRES (Contributor) / 20 February 2008

OF THE many foreign artists that have visited Manila, jazz diva Julia Fordham is one of the few that can truly say she's connected with Filipinos.

Her signature song, Love Moves in Mysterious Ways, has been re-recorded by a number of Filipino artists, including Soul Siren Nina, for whom it was a big, big hit.

During her recent visit to the country (her seventh), Fordham was asked if she'd ever heard Nina's version of her song. 'I know Nina did a beautiful job [with the song]. She's really quite good,' said Julia, who blew into town for a series of shows at the Ayala Malls, close on the heels of American Idol season five winner Taylor Hicks and third placer Elliott Yamin. Aside from Nina, Fordham has also heard of Jaya, who she would like to meet and work with one day. 'She has a beautiful sound too.'

Fordham added that on the whole, she has tremendous respect for Filipino singers and musicians. In fact, she tapped Toti Fuentes to be the musical director for this series of shows in Manila.

'Filipinos are really excellent musicians. I've worked with some of them, like Toti. He and I go back a long way,' she said during an event organised by the Ayala Malls to announce her series of shows in the country.

The shows were to promote her latest and tenth studio album, China Blue, a jazz record containing songs written by Julia herself and produced and arranged by Grant Mitchell. Released through a newly-established Internet company, Nova Tunes, the album contains two recorded songs from Julia's Porcelain album: the title track and For You, Only For You, a gloriously simple track on which Julia sings along to a piano and violin.

Asked why she chose to release the album via digital download, Julia's reply was a resounding 'Why not?' 'It's a brave new world-why not be a part of it?' asked Fordham.

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