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Julie Dexter by Paul Mainor
Julie Dexter by Paul Mainor

Soul Sister – PART ONE

By Mandisa Gordon
Birmingham's very own soul sister, Julie Dexter speaks exclusively to BBC WM's Mandisa Gordon about her home city and her move to Atlanta.

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Julie Dexter at The Drum
Julie Dexter at The Drum

The dynamic voice of Julie Dexter has earned her the credibility many artists would envy. This star from Handsworth is a fine example of the wealth of black talent in the UK.

Julie, a critically acclaimed singer/song writer, gave a special performance at The Drum to a crowd of appreciative followers, friends and family. 

Julie Dexter at The Drum
Julie Dexter at The Drum

This classically trained musician who arranges, composes and producers her own work, captivated her audience with her version, of what she describes as "Jazz and Soul dipped in Roots Reggae".

Glittering Amongst Stars

At just 33 years old, Ms Dexter's accomplishments tell you she's one serious artist. She's shared a stage with icons such as Omar, Donnie, Jill Scott, Bilal, Kindred, Ursula Rucker, Jody Wately, Mint Condition, The Roots, Jazzy Fatnastees, Amel Larrieux... the list goes on... and on... need I say more? Despite this Julie admits she still gets star struck:

Julie Dexter by Paul Mainor
Julie Dexter by Paul Mainor

"It's hard to be cool and humble, but these artist look at you, the way you look at them. Jill Scott sang one of my songs to me, and she was like 'what do I do?' She told me that she would play my tracks when she was on her tour bus. I was so amazed that she looked at me the same way I looked at her. She plays my music and I play her music. She doesn't look at me like some little person, but someone whose music influences her, and inspires her. That's the highest compliment for me".

From Handsworth to Atlanta

Performing to a home crowd is more nerve racking for Julie then anywhere else, she explains: "These people have known me all my life, or since I was little. I have to try and keep it real and be myself because of this. It's a really passionate experience for me, because I am attached to my home town, attached to Birmingham, the people, and there's so much things that go on here that have affected me and influenced my music."

"There's so much Black history that you can't help but appreciate being Black in Atlanta."
Julie Dexter

This Handsworth export is very proud of her background, her parents are from Jamaica, and she was born and raised in Handsworth til the age of six, then moved to Kings Norton. Julie went to Turves Green Girl School, Joseph Chamberlain College (same as me) then moved to London, and then to the states.

Now a resident of Atlanta, the Mecca for some of America's most wealthiest and culturally conscious African Americans', Julie feels right at home. She tells me how she used to live in a house, opposite to where civil rights leader Martin Luther King was born and raised.

Julie Dexter at The Drum
Julie Dexter at The Drum

"It's a very historical place, you have the Martin Luther King Boulevard, places focusing on Rosa Parks, the Civil Rights Movement. There's so much black history that you can't help but appreciate being black in Atlanta. It's a very Black city and it makes you feel proud to be black".  


The strong presence of successful African Americans in Atlanta has clearly been a tool of empowerment for Ms Dexter, this is evidential in the way she speaks, her career progression and her outlook on life, she explains why:

"I have two strikes against me being black and female, but being in Atlanta has taught me that I have to 'step up' and prove that I am as good as any man or any white person, and I can wear that badge with pride.

Julie Dexter by Paul Mainor
Julie Dexter by Paul Mainor

"That's what I really love about Atlanta, and that's why I went there, black people are so successful, but not just in sport and music. Their business owners, doctors, lawyers, they own their communities and they're successful".

I became very jealous as Julie talked about Atlanta (a place I will be visiting in the near future), but her choice to 'up sticks' to the states was a smart business decision more than anything else. Find out why in part two of my interview with Birmingham's very own Soul Sister.

The Robert Beckford Show on BBC WM

Tune into The Robert Beckford Show, Saturday evenings 8pm-11pm on BBC WM 95.6FM, for the best in black entertainment, news and discussion.

last updated: 26/01/06
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Mali Washinton
Julie Dexter, is a great singer with a smooth voice that has melody,and wonderful pitch. I wanted to know who the photograher was for your pictures. The pictures are great!

Teasha king
I am a singer/songwriter living ing birmingham and think the interview is powerfull and raises many issues about self empowerment for black sisters because my mom always says fire cindles fire and to see other black sisters shine should enspire us and give us all a sense of communal pride its possible

I lived in Europe before moving to ATL. Graduated from Spelman College and Dr.King's niece was my instructor. I am r4eaching out to0 brothers and sisters who are interested in being sponsored to come to atlanta and the surrounding areas as models, actors/actresses, vocaists in pop, rock, jazz, r&b, country and all the above. Serious inquiries only and company at no fee may contact me at Collette.Hill@impactww.com Please advertise this announcement. I will be coming to Birmingham this Spring(US). I will need a contact representative from your area. Again serious inquiries only. The BEST!

Nicholas Mathis
Very articulate person and should continue moving forward with this talent.

Loved this article, A rarity to see anyting positive on the Black community on any media outlet. I've never heared about Julie Dexter till now, but as a mum from Handsworth, I am so pride of what this young lady has achieved. I will be perchasing her CD!!!!!

A very informative piece.

Great piece! Julie Dexter is certainly an inspiration to black women, and to our youth who want to get involved in the music industry

K.I.M (keep it moving) my black sister.....1 Love

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