Julie Monnin, better known as Ladybird, initially made her mark in music as lead singer of French trio Soldiers Of Twilight before later embracing a solo career and gaining critical acclaim for her collaborative cut ‘My Precious Thing’ on Llorca aka Art Of Tones’ debut LP for Laurent Garnier’s F Communications imprint in 2001. Monnin’s career has continued to grow from there and many collaborations with Robsoul’s Phil Weeks followed suit, such as last year’s ‘She Can’t Love You’. Here though we see the esteemed vocalist deliver her debut LP on Robsoul, with the label family Art Of Tones, Chris Carrier, Chris Stussy, Joss Moog, Around7, JFilt and of course Phil Weeks joining on production duties throughout the project.

Hey Julie, thanks for taking the time to talk with us and congratulations on your stunning new album ‘All I Wanna Say’ which is out  on Phil Weeks’ Robsoul label later this month. For those yet to hear it could you tell us a little about the album and what inspired it?

Thank you so much ! We had a little idea with Phil about doing a 1970’s, blaxploitation influenced album (we are both into 70’s soul music) So I guess it was inspired by that era.Then of course some tracks reflect that more than others.

The project features collaborations with many of the artists who are a core part of the Robsoul Recordings imprint, such as Chris Carrier, Joss Moog, Chris Stussy, Art Of Tones and of course the label founder Phil Weeks. Could you tell us a little about how you worked with each artist individually and how the collaborations came together? Listening i can hear a broad range of styles and production techniques ranging from soul, funk and jazz through to more straight house and disco so I guess the approach must have been quite different each time.

Every producer has his own way a of working on a track but we (Phil and I ) would ask the producer if he was interested in working on the album, he would send me the track, I would work on the lyrics and the melody and I would either go into the studio if possible with the producer to record the vocals and work on the track. Robsoul recordings has a soul, funk vibe to it even though it is a house label so we sort of knew that the color/genre would be right for the album.

You have an amazing history and back catalogue as a singer, songwriter, DJ and producer dating back a few decades now and have gained a spot in the French House hall of fame your Discogs page says. Quite an amazing title to be honoured with, could you tell us a little about the early days in Paris and how inspiring it was to be making music at this time, working with artists like LLorca and Laurent Garnier must have been a very exciting time and place to be alive?

Yes it was a great time, late 1990’s, early 2000’s, in France and the world I guess for electronic music. There were lots of electronic labels, it was easy to put out tracks and you could make some money too 🙂 I think it was also less mainstream so the people listering to house music at the time were very passionate about it which makes all the difference. The parties were a spiritual experience, it was all about the music. But there are some great parties and labels today too, don’t get me wrong !!

You’ve gone on to work closely with Phil Weeks and his Robsoul Recordings in recent years, the place this new album will be released, could you tell us a little about how your relationship with Phil came about, what drew you to start collaborating and working with him and what it’s like when you’re in the studio together or bouncing ideas back and forth?

I have known Phil for a very long time, being in the French house scene and all that. He asked me a few years back to work on track which became “Natural high” and I guess something clicked and we decided to do some more…Phil is very down to earth and very easy to work with so it’s a pleasure, he also thinks about the singer, the chords and if I feel comfortable on a track.

Could you share with us some of the things that have been feeding your creative mind and driving your inspiration of late, not necessarily linked to music, feel free to share some of your current favourite artists, but are there and books you’ve been reading, places you’ve visited, films you’ve seen or anything else you’ve found to be motivating you to work? 

I go out a lot, lucky to meet extraordinary people that inspire me, I go to concerts that may not just be in my genre. Recently I was invited to go see a rock/heavy metal concert and it really inspired me, he he. I also go to art exhibitions (not enough) contemporary or modern art really inspires me.

Lastly, what’s next for Ladybird, any new projects on the horizon after the album drops, any live shows people can come and see you perform at or anything else you want to share with the world?

I am concentrating on this album coming out for the moment but there will probably be lots of collaborations coming next and I am always performing so check out my facebook page for the news ! #keepitpositive

Ladybird’s ‘All I Wanna Say’ LP is out on Robsoul Recordings 19th October 2018.

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