Toronto R&B mainstay Jully Black has just released a free mixtape in advance of her upcoming fourth album (8)ight. The Juno award winning singer has more than paid her dues in the local scene, and collaborated with some of the best in the business. You can download the mixtape for free here, or pick up a physical copy at DJ Blackcat's gay-friendly Urban Jungle Caribana party this Sunday at Fly. See listing.
We caught up with the singer over email about mixtape culture, the state of the music industry, and changing attitudes towards homophobia in hip-hop.
Looking at the official lineup of OVO Fest, it was strange to notice that the three official opening acts have only released free mixtapes so far. Could this type of release eventually replace the album?
I don't think the album will ever be fully replaced, however the mixtape era that we're in can be very empowering for an artist, especially those who have no way to be seen or heard by a label, or for those artists who may been stuck in the music Industry web. The only downside is that NO other genres are giving their music away for free. You won't see Kelly Clarkson doing a mixtape anytime soon...
Should fans expect the upcoming album to have much in common with this mixtape?
Oh yes, in fact 3 of the 11 songs on the DROPPING W(8) will be on (8)IHGHT! My soul is the common denominator so you are guaranteed to hear that on every song.
Why did you choose Blackcat's Urban Jungle party to release the physical disc?
Blackcat has been a friend since 1994 when we were both participants in the Fresh Arts program. He has had my back since the beginning of time so it only made sense to do it there. I'm so proud of him!
Somewhat related to the last question, was Frank Ocean's coming out letter as historic as it seemed, or has homophobia in the urban scene been exaggerated?
The letter in my opinion was poetic. Is he living gay? Doesn't matter to me. Will gay people in Jamaica be free to hold hands in public anytime soon because of it? Probably not. But was he brave in his actions? Hell ya! Whatever makes him happy is all I care about. Whether you love a man or woman isn't my business. I just care that you can love, period.
You've done countless collaborations with other artists - is that still something you're interested in, or are you focussing more on your own songs these days?
I'm always down to collaborate! In fact on a hip hop level I'd love to do a song with Wiz Khalifa, Lupe, or Drake. As for singers, too many to name, but Tina Turner is at the top!
Are we going to get to see you perform on a Toronto stage anytime soon?