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Julia Fordham was born on August 10, 1962, on the south coast of England in Portsmouth, Hampshire.  The youngest of three children, her father was an underwater photographer for Britain's Ministry of Defense.  Julia started writing at the age of 12 and at a tender age of 14 began performing at local clubs doing her own material.

Julia, who has a contralto (deep alto), left school at 16 to devote all her time to becoming a singer-songwriter.  At 16, she moved into her own flat and took a job singing jingles for a Portsmouth radio station.   She also formed a band with her brother and two other musicians, playing an eclectic mix of pop and original material. At 19, Julia answered an ad in Melody Maker, a British music magazine, for a back up singer and moved to London.  She spent the next two years touring with Mari Wilson as a back up singer and was a Marionette, in the Wilsations. She then did back up vocals for Kim Wilde.  She did back up vocals "to pay the rent."

Julia, then went on the Enterprise Allowance Scheme, which allowed her to spend all her time getting her demo together and going round to the record companies.  In Glasgow, Scotland, she met Bill Padley and Grant Mitchell, who helped her record her demo which resulted in a deal with Circa Records (distributed by Virgin Records in the US).