An original retro-jazz-vocalist with a unique “new-old” , Julian Yeo blends old school soul with celebrated qualities of today (and sometimes with a twist).
It has been an uncommon musical path for international jazz/cabaret vocalist Julian Yeo. His path to singing in the nightclubs of New York City began many miles away. An Australian of Asian descent, Julian was a shy kid decades away from his own personal musical heroes like dapper Fred Astaire. “When I hear Fred Astaire singing Irving Berlin songs; no matter what mood I’m in, these songs always bring a smile to my face,” he says.
It’s not surprising that a retro sound comes so naturally to him. Singers from the 1920s and 30s are what he most likes listening to: Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Rudy Vallee, Arthur Tracy (“The Street Singer”), early Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, vocalists from the “sweet bands”. But Julian Yeo is not satisfied to just do a copycat re-creation. “I am a throwback, I guess,” Julian explains. “It’s a very intentional homage, but to do so slavishly is rather pointless. People can still listen to those old records any time. I want to bring the essence of that innocent, timeless sound with a slightly hipper, knowing quality of today and sometimes even with a darker twist.” Julian brings a contemporary sensibility to the old songs that works. Today meets yesterday, melding instead of colliding.
A real sense of joy and playfulness is clear in his singing. Julian is a guy who’d be very comfortable with a big fedora, a megaphone, and totally at ease in a time warp! The smile comes through and is contagious. Quaint, perhaps, but also disarming and worth giving into.