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How Julia Doe is making the transition to singing and fulfilling her passion to transform lives.

While TV reality shows might give the impression that a career in music can happen overnight, for most people it involves hard work, dedication and time.

Talented singer, Julia Doe, is an example of how many approach their desire to sing. The third of six children, Julia was born in Kent, England but grew up in Ghana, West Africa.  Her musical ability was evident early and from the age of 6 she was sent to the renowned John Teye Memorial Maths and Music School, where she was mentored by the Founder, Rev. John Teye, a gifted musician.

Whilst in secondary school, Julia continued to engage in music and the arts through school plays, dancing and talent competitions and showed her early promise with her ability to mimic singers like Whitney Houston and Anita Baker.

1983 marked a major turning point for Julia who, whilst attending a Christian event, made a decision to become a born-again Christian. It was at this time that she met a young Music Director, Tom Bright-Davies, who encouraged her to take her musical gift seriously. After joining a musical group, Julia struggled with the realities of daily Christian living, returning to the UK in 1988 where, as she puts it, she “forgot all about God and music.” 

Returning to Music

Internship opportunities in Kenya are few and far between: interns require mentoring if they are to produce any results, the number of companies that can absorb interns is limited, and Kenya’s notoriously high levels of corruption do not help either: if internships are awarded to nephews and nieces, the application process becomes futile.

However, it appeared that God had not forgotten about her and, in 1993, having decided to return to Ghana, she again met Tom and started attending church, eventually making a decision to surrender her life to Jesus. Julia began singing in her local church, marrying her husband Douglas in 1997.

Julia and Douglas returned to the UK in 2000 and have been members of Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) for the past 7 years. Julia is a member of the KICC choir.

Using her talent to make music is, for Julia, the first step in fulfilling what she believes God has called her to do.  With a passion to see peoples’ lives dramatically transformed as hers was over 14 years ago, Julia believes that anointed music is a powerful medium through which God gets through to people and transforms their lives.

ReConnect Africa met Julia and asked how she has managed to combine her passion for music with the daily realities of a mainstream career.

I have had so many people come up to me after leading a song to tell me how much my singing had meant to them…I realised then that I had been given a gift and if I didn’t use it, I would have to answer for it!

RCA: What are your first memories of singing in front of people?

JD: I started singing at the age of 6, when my Dad sent me to the John Teye Memorial School, a boarding school in Accra, Ghana. The headmaster recognised my musical potential and also taught me to play the piano. At that time, the incumbent Head of State, Kutu Acheampong had two of his children attending the school and I would be asked to sing for him any time he visited the school. The headmaster, also a prolific musician, took me with him when he travelled around the country. He would play and I would sing.

RCA: What made you decide to take a career in singing seriously?

JD: People had been telling me for years that I had a really good voice and I had always sang at Church and in choirs, but never considered a professional career in singing. A few years ago, my husband reiterated the fact that I should seriously consider taking the singing to a more professional level by recording an album, but I was hesitant, because I had heard so many great singers and felt inferior.

However, in one year, five total strangers, at various functions confronted me about what I was doing with this “angelic” voice – and told me how they had been impacted whilst I was singing in the congregation. This led me to start to believe that perhaps I had something to offer.

Since I joined our Church choir just over a year ago, I have had so many people come up to me after leading a song to tell me how much my singing had meant to them. Recently, one woman told me how she had lost her daughter and felt comforted when I sang. I realised then that I had been given a gift and if I didn’t use it, I would have to answer for it!

RCA: How much time do you spend rehearsing and singing and how do you fit this in with a job and being an active member of your church?

JD: Because of my work and church commitments, I don’t have a lot of time to rehearse formally. I use the time whilst driving to work (3 hours each day) and have set aside 2 evenings a week when I do some voice training. It has, however, been rather difficult to strike a balance because I am usually exhausted by the time I get home from work or church rehearsal.

I would be asked to sing for… the incumbent Ghanaian Head of State, Kutu Acheampong any time he visited the school

RCA: What advice would you give to someone with a talent for singing who wants to turn professional?

JD: Take things slowly and don’t quit your job yet! A lot of ideas and projects start off very small and then increase over time and it can be frustrating to wait. In my case, I am still working full-time whilst trying to promote the singing. I envisage the time will come when I will be financially secure enough to enable me give up my full-time job, but until that time, I have to do both.

My husband has been extremely supportive and I am in the process of looking for something that will give me the flexibility to work 3 days a week, so I can devote the other days to the music. This support is extremely crucial if you are married.

Julia’s EP album project, We Cry Holy, is now available at: www.juliadoe.com

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