FB IMG 1634776022173 Credit Tony Cole Photography

What Role Does Music Play for the Black Lives Matter Movement, Julia Titus?

Friday, 22 October

Black History Month UK


To mark Black History Month, Live & Local has asked Julia Titus aka Ma Bessie about her personal inspirations and what changes still need to happen in the arts sector.

Julia Titus is a singer songwriter with a degree in Community Theatre. She currently sings with the Pigfoot Band and the Blues Troupe in addition to her reggae band.

“I love performing my own songs and have recently written a new show chronicling my family connection with Martha Washington and the Maroons of Jamaica!”

-Julia Titus

FB IMG 1634775977922 Credit Tony Cole Photography

When did you decide to become a singer-songwriter?

I always knew I wanted to be a singer and actress and actually wrote it in my school book aged 10, when my school teacher Mr Carpenter asked us to write down what we wanted to do when we were older. I have always written poetry and did not realise I was a singer-songwriter until I turned my poems into songs over 20 years ago.

I have written an album called ‘Life is too short…’ and will be touring it in the New Year as a community theatre show.

What role does music play in your life?

Music has always played a big role in my life. I was introduced to reggae music from a very early age as my father was a DJ in the late 50s and 60s. Every Sunday morning he would be playing his vinyl records and have us all singing along, each taking turns with the microphone. I still love those songs now and love playing vinyl records. Presently, it gets me through each day especially if I am feeling low and deflated. A great tonic.

What role does music play in your opinion for the Black Lives Matter Movement?

For years, music has been used to send messages. It is no different nowadays. A strong tune with a great message played at the right time has the power to bring people together. Reggae music is like a natural heartbeat rhythm that just catches you and makes you move.

FB IMG 1634776072326 Credit Tony Cole Photography

How does your own biography influence your songwriting?

My songwriting is strongly influenced by my life journey. I have found that when something has affected me personally a song just appears. The easiest song I have ever written was ‘I forgot to say I love you’, in response to the Twin Towers going down in America. It came from a dream and I luckily had a pen and paper next to me as I woke up. I have never changed the lyrics. It can now be listened to at the Ground Zero Memorial and Museum.

What would you like to tell your younger self?

I would like to tell my younger self to trust your gut. React when you get that funny tingly feeling – believe it. Don’t listen to people who say you cannot do and make your own path. You don’t have to be famous to succeed.

Ma Bessies Pro

What advice would you like to give other black artists in the UK?

The advice I would give to any artists regardless of colour is to find your thing that makes you, you. Trust and believe in yourself.

What cultural tips would you like to give our audiences?

I would advise people to find out where they are from. Find out your family roots and understand the culture. We are all different but the same. We all have a journey and finding your specifics and understanding your isms can be fun and insightful.

Be open to see and experience other peoples journeys. Life is a journey that everyone is on.

FB IMG 1634775996094 Credit Tony Cole Photography

What changes in the cultural sector would you like to see happening?

Changes in the cultural sector are happening but there is still a black/white divide. I would like to see more mixed audiences sharing the experience.

Live & Local thanks Julia Titus for the interview. You can find out more about celebrating Black History Month here or at the Arts Council England website.

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