Jully Black says vulnerability is key for a successful performance.
“That’s what I aim to do every time,” the Toronto-based Juno Award-winning soul singer said. “To be totally transparent and to make sure that I’m having fun. When I have fun, my audience has fun, my band members have fun.”
On Friday, Oct 12 Black and her longtime band are bringing that sense of fun to the Port Theatre. It’s her first Nanaimo appearance since summer 2008.
She said she’ll be preparing for the show with her usual regimen of exercise, followed by prayer, meditation, listening to music and bonding with bandmates. She said her musicians have been backing her up for between five and 11 years and over that time they’ve grown together like family. Black said that connection pays off onstage.
“It helps so much because I feel safe,” she said. “I know that they will go with me if I change songs, if I want to just break out and do something a cappella or break out and do something acoustic.”
Black added that if she feels like switching from her regular repertoire and doing a Canadiana cover, her band is right behind her.
“I might want to drop and do a Blue Rodeo song or a Joni Mitchell song and they’re just ready for me,” she said.
Black added that she has “so much goodness” going on right now. She’s getting ready to release her first single since 2015’s Fever, she has a new radio show in Toronto and has an acting gig on the horizon. She’s also working on her memoir.
“It’s been cathartic. It’s been really therapeutic to really go back and tell some of these stories that I haven’t even thought about since I was a little girl, so it’s been an amazing process,” Black said of putting her life story on paper.
Black said there’s a different kind of vulnerability that goes into memoir writing as opposed to songwriting. She said she’s pouring everything on the page unedited.
“When I’m writing songs I tend to have my thesaurus, I want to find a different word, how do I say this differently?” she said. “But when it comes to telling your story and just telling the flat-out truth, there’s only one way to say it so the words that come out are the words that need to stay.”
WHAT’S ON … Jully Black performs at the Port Theatre on Friday, Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $45 for adults, $41 for members and $12.50 for youth and students. Available at the box office.