Julia Fordham on her love for Pinoy audiences, Valentine set list

Julia Fordham on her love for Pinoy audiences, Valentine set list

/ 12:25 AM January 24, 2024

Julia Fordham on her love for Pinoy audiences, Valentine set list

Julia Fordham —CONTRIBUTED photos

Concert organizers have already begun revving up for Valentine’s Day that falls on a Wednesday this year. Instead of clustering their events on the day itself, many have opted to spread them out until the weekend, allowing more Filipinos to celebrate and mark this nonholiday.

One foreign artist who is making her way to the country next month is British-born, US-based Julia Fordham. A favorite of lovestruck and lovelorn Filipinos for her songs like “Happy Ever After,” “Porcelain” and “Girlfriend,” Fordham has been to the Philippines several times in the past two decades.


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She has held concerts at mall atriums, as well as in intimate hotel lounges. This year, she is performing at The Theatre at Solaire on Feb. 16 with special guest Christian Bautista. This writer first heard her voice on a borrowed cassette tape of her eponymously titled debut album released in 1988. It was her second album “Porcelain,” released the following year, that turned me into a fan.


Even Fordham admitted in an interview that “Porcelain” captured the sound she attempted to achieve in her first album. Tracks include “Lock and Key,” “Genius,” “China Blue” and “Did I Happen to Mention,” but this writer’s all-time favorite for its plaintive, lovesick vibe has always been “Towerblock.”


Fordham would go on to release a number of studio albums including “Swept” (1991) with Pinoy fave “(Love Moves in) Mysterious Ways,” which singer Nina covered; the mostly hopeful “Falling Forward” (1994); “East West” (1997); and “Concrete Love” with a wondrous duet of the title track with India Arie. There’s also a solo version with only Fordham singing, but the duet is superb.

She collaborated with actor and pianist Paul Reiser on “Unusual Suspects” (2010), and with fellow singers Beverley Craven and Judie Tzuke on “Woman to Woman” (2018).

In an email interview with Fordham, she told Inquirer Entertainment that the concert next month is not her first post-COVID international show. “Last January, I played in Japan. I will probably wear a mask on the plane though.”



She only has good memories of performing in the Philippines. “The Filipino audience is my absolute favorite. They are so involved and supportive. I am so grateful that they know and like so many of my songs, making playing there a real treat,” Fordham said.

Here is the rest of our interview with her:


Are you looking forward to one big sing-along session?

Oh yes! If the Filipino audience is up for singing along, then I am all the way in for that. I find however—from previous shows—that they actually prefer to listen and are very attentive. I know that singing is like a national sport in the Philippines, so I am open to them either happily listening or joining in.

Will you be singing only songs from your solo albums or will you be including tracks from your collaborations? What can we look forward to in your concert?

On the “Woman to Woman Live” album, there is a version of my song “Stay” that was originally on my “East West” record. I am looking forward to performing that rendition in Manila and hopefully Cebu, too!

What are songs that Filipinos always request? Are they the same ones your other audiences request? My favorite has always been “Towerblock.”

I know that the Filipino fave songs of mine are “Invisible War,” “Girlfriend,” “Happy Ever After” and “(Love Moves in) Mysterious Ways,” so those four songs are in the show. I’d love to know what other songs Filipino fans would like to hear though. So perhaps you could please ask them for me?!

Fordham (left) with guest Christian Bautista

Fordham (left) with guest Christian Bautista

I sang “Towerblock” last time I was there, so I was not planning on singing it again this time. Although, I am open to persuasion!

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In other countries, the favorites are similar. I did have a big hit in the United States with a song called “Manhattan Skyline.” I am not sure if folks in the Philippines know that one though. It is always a delicate dance putting a set list together as I do think it’s important to play what folks are hoping to hear. So I am giving the set list a lot of careful consideration in the hope that I play the songs that the audience is looking forward to hearing. INQ

TAGS: concert, Julia Fordham, Music

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