Her album, Aphrodite's Child, released on independent jazz label 33 Records, has attracted a host of admirers including the saxophonist Courtney Pine and actress Diane Parish (from ITV's The Bill). It showcases her Acoustic Groove sound that has been likened to Sade, Cassandra Wilson and Erykha Badu. However, Juliet's latest project finds her performing the songs made famous by Nina Simone alongside songs she has written in memory of the legendary singer and pianist who died last year, aged 70.
Juliet says, "I identify with Nina Simone because, like her, I am also a singer that some critics have found hard to categorise. Some feel that because I write original material that has different influences, I am not a true jazz singer and others feel my music is not commercial enough. I think the success of Jamie Cullum and Amy Winehouse proves them wrong."
But there are a few other things that the two singers have in common:
· Both were born into very religious families and have a parent who was a preacher.
· Nina was trained as a classical concert pianist and Juliet also studied classical piano up until the age of 13.
· Both started singing jazz almost by accident. Nina was forced to sing to keep her job when she was working at a bar as a cocktail pianist. Juliet stumbled into singing after taking a jazz singing class at a local music workshop whilst studying economics at university.
· And the men in their lives have been far from ordinary. Nina's partners included a fairground barker, a Harlem detective and the Prime Minister of Barbados whilst Juliet has dated a ship's captain, a millionaire playboy and an Irish Lord!
Juliet will be appearing at The Wardrobe, Leeds (19 May), Matt & Phreds, Manchester (20 May), Ty's Jazz & Spice, Birmingham (21 May), The Spin, Oxford (27 May), Pizza Express Dean Street, London (1 June) and the One Eleven Club, Sheffield (4 & 5 June).