Since being presented with her award as BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer of the Year 2008 by KT Tunstall, the Daily Telegraph's prediction that "Fowlis could be the first Scottish Gaelic crossover star in the making" has seemed increasingly prescient.
Indeed Julie Fowlis is no stranger to awards and distinctions, winning Gaelic Singer Of The Year & Album Of The Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards 2007 (winning Album of the Year a second time in 2010) and nominated for the three years running as BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer of the Year (the first ever Scottish Gaelic singer to win this prestigious award when given the title in 2008). Her single 'Blackbird' was also playlisted on BBC Radio 2, the first Scottish Gaelic artist to be playlisted in such a manner. She was also the first Scottish Gaelic artist to appear on the legendary show 'Later…with Jools Holland” in 2007.
She is perhaps most proud of her award as Scotland's Gaelic Ambassador - "Tosgaire na Gàidhlig", bestowed by the Scottish Parliament in 2008/2009, the first person to ever receive this honour.
Since the release of her award-winning album 'cuilidh' in 2007 Julie has spent much time developing her own sound with a top-class touring band including husband Éamon Doorley, Dublin's Tony Byrne, Highlander Duncan Chisholm and bodhrán champion Martin O'Neill. This formidable line-up has become synonymous with emotive, expressive and high energy live shows. This creative and dynamic sound was captured beautifully on Julie’s most recent release, ‘Live at Perthshire Amber’ (2011). Featuring the recognisable sound and ‘live’ feel from Julie and the band, the album also features a duet between Julie and one of Scotland’s finest singer songwriters, Dougie MacLean.
Still finding time for collaborations with other musicians, Julie has worked with artists as diverse as Bill Whelan, John McCusker, Eddi Reader, Rosa Cedrón, Jayme Stone and Salsa Celtica. She worked with Bill Whelan (Riverdance) to produce a new piece of music, the World Premiere of which was on St Patrick's Day in Belfast 2009. As part of the internationally acclaimed Transatlantic Sessions series 3 and series 4, she has also been honoured to sing with James Taylor, Martha Wainwright, Stuart Duncan, Ronan Browne, Allan MacDonald, Liam O' Maonlai (Hothouse Flowers), Maireád Ní Mhaónaigh (Altan), Mike McGoldrick, Phil Cunningham, Tim O'Brien, Karen Matheson (Capercaillie), Dónal Lunny and Bruce Molsky.
In addition to having one of the busiest music touring schedules in Scotland, Julie has now delved into the world of broadcasting, having presented her very own show 'Fowlis and Folk' on BBC Radio Scotland for two years running and also presenting regularly for BBC Scotland, BBC Radio 2, and on television on Scotland's new Gaelic digital channel, BBC ALBA.
In the last few years Julie has also worked on two other acclaimed recordings – the 'dual' project – an exploration of musical connections between Gaelic Scotland and Ireland with her husband Éamon Doorley, Irish songstress Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh and Lochaber's Ross Martin, and 'Under One Sky', John McCusker's ambitious crossover project featuring the likes of John Tams, Iain MacDonald, Graham Coxon (Blur) and Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub). Julie is currently also studying for a Masters degree through Scotland's only Gaelic College 'Sabhal Mòr Ostaig' in 'Material Culture and the Environment', exploring in depth the culture and social history of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, in it's European context.
Julie is a passionate torchbearer for the culture of her native Western Isles. And, coupled with her extraordinary talent, it is this quiet determination to celebrate the music of the Outer Hebrides and Highlands of Scotland on its own terms that ensures that Scots Gaelic music is reaching a wider audience than ever before.
You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.
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