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BAJAN CULTURE: Julie now in reggae groove

Ricky Jordan

BAJAN CULTURE: Julie now in reggae groove

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IF THERE’S one artiste who has made a noteworthy change on the local music circuit recently, it is Julianna Julie Sealy.
The calypsonian who has become known for hits, like Lay Lay Man, is now delving into the foray of reggae, and has even taken on a new stage name: Lady Virtue.
She first hit the Crop Over scene in 2001 and today, after singing in tents like Super Gladiators, Celebrity and Hit Parade, she is about to treat Barbadians to her first performance in the reggae genre later this month.
It is also ironic that her maiden reggae release is Find A Good Man – a direct contrast to the lazy Lay Lay Man – which was launched last week in the form of an album and a music video, approved by Caribbean music video channel Tempo.
So why is Julie switching to reggae after becoming a virtual staple in Crop Over?
“I’ve always wanted to do reggae,” she told Bajan Culture. “It’s kind of a well kept secret, but at the time when I started singing publicly the arena for calypso was there so I went right into that, but I was writing reggae long before.”
Her ten-year stint in our national festival has also taken a bit of a toll on the petite kaiso woman.
“I can’t deal with six weeks of music and then go back in the woodwork. Music is a living thing and should be continued,” she declared.
Stating that she now felt more comfortable without the pressure of competition bombarding her to do well on the night, she said her current experience could be likened to the 11-Plus Common Entrance Examination.
“You can do well in class and then on the day foul up.”
Although she has been getting negligible airplay in Barbados recently, the response in St Lucia and Antigua has been impressive, she added.
“I believe once I have a good product, I don’t have to sit back and wait to get it marketed. I did interviews in St Lucia, and out of that someone hooked me up with a booking agent there.
“So far I’ve been doing my own writing, and the songs were mixed and mastered in St Lucia,”she said.
Lady Virtue also travelled to Jamaica before releasing her song in order to “get a vibe”.
“If you’re getting into something you need to go to the origins; do the research,” she said.
“I feel hyped about it,” said the full-time entrepreneur, adding that she had done more work in marketing her reggae than her kaiso.
Lady Virtue, she said, was the name she wanted to use in calypso but, in her view, “somehow the name and art form didn’t gel . . . . Virtue can be represented by my [current] music”.
Her other songs so far are I Wanna Live and I’m Amazed, which is a collaboration with Jamaican artiste Mad Dog.
Whether we’ll see her for Crop Over 2011 is another “well kept secret”.