Parisian born Julia Channel is a woman of many talents, she is a singer with her own record label, a model who has featured in many music videos, and also a businesswoman owning her own dating website. Rewind back to the early 90’s where Julia was the first black adult movie star, which led her to travel all over the world and enjoy a somewhat celebrity lifestyle.
Now living in London she is working on her debut album ‘Colours,’ which is set for release this summer, along with the release of her new single ‘Forever in a Day,’ a club anthem with a super electric remix by Willy William.
How did your childhood shape you into the person you are today?
I had quite a tough childhood; at just 5 years old I had a lot of responsibility on my shoulders. My father was at work most of the time and I had to take care of my mum as she had an alcohol problem so when other kids were playing with their toys, I was acting the role of my mom which forced me to grow up faster, I didn’t complain as it instilled in me the importance of working hard for a better future.
You are known as the first black adult movie star. How does it feel having this title?
That’s nice, it makes me laugh sometimes, just a few weeks ago I read in an American magazine that in the top 100, I was number 5 on the charts of ‘the best black adult movie star of all time!’ My fame at that time did open up doors for other black women to enter the industry.
You were studying when you got into the adult movie industry, which developed very quickly. Did you finish University?
Yes, I was a good student and was awarded my languages diploma and which meant I could enroll at the prestigious Italian university in Paris – Parisian Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, but as I started my career in movies soon after, it felt weird at University. I had the feeling that everybody knew what I did which made me uncomfortable so I quit, but with no regrets.
What made you decide to go on the trip to Congo, and what did you learn from the experience?
I was commissioned by the French magazine ‘Hot Video’ to report on something serious. I loved Africa and knew from reports there were many people dying there of AIDS, this was the beginning of the 90s. With a photographer we flew out to Africa and made our way to Brazaville in Congo for 2 weeks. It was horrific, children, babies and adults were dying and they didn’t understand what AIDS was or how to protect themselves. This trip really changed my vision of life my life, condom use was crucial in the fight against AIDS and shockingly at that time workers in the adult movie industry were not using protection. So I count myself as having a very lucky escape.
What advice would you give to girls who wish to enter the adult movie industry?
Honestly I wouldn’t recommend to any girl to work in adult film industry if it was the same as when I made my movies BUT today the industry is safer. I still don’t knock the period I was working, it was truly ‘the golden age’, and we were treated like stars and rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous. Today it seems to be open to everyone and everything with free TV channels etc.
Why did you decide to launch your own record label, and what are your plans for it?
My music producer passed away very suddenly a few months ago and beside the fact that I lost a very good friend, I had lost the person with who I was working closely with for four years on my music project, he’s the one I trusted and he believed in me and my music 100 %. So I had two choices, stop or keep going. Quitting wasn’t an option for me, I launched my music label, sourced lyricists, sound engineer, mix producer, mastering etc … I took the best and here we go!
You also have your own dating website with the ethos, ‘created by women, for women,’ and the website name meaning ‘men to crack or chew on.’ Why did you choose this name? What’s the story behind the website?
Oh yes my website is in French www.mecacroquer.com – it really started out as a joke at dinner with girlfriends. They were all complaining about men and the difficulties they had to find someone, finding the guys on existing websites far too pushy. So I said: “OK girls, I will design a dating website where you will be the boss, you’re going to choose!” I took a great web designer, technicians and the adventure started. I must say in France we are in the top 10!
How did you get into singing? Has it always been a passion of yours?
I grew up in Paris where there’s not a lot to do, concrete landscape in the suburbs and a lot of unemployment, so besides school we were hanging around parks with a ghetto blaster listening to Hip-Hop with my crew of friends. In France I became the muse of hip-hop, with all the French hip hop artists wanting me in their music videos. I feature in quite a few including Joey Starr from NTM and Method Man’s (Wu Tang Clan) Judgment Day video.
Why did you decide to move to London?
I’ve always loved London. I love English people, they are more relaxed, creative, open-minded, have individual fashion trends and you can be who you are which is cool. In France they are more critical and scrutinise everything. I wanted my daughter to be totally bi-lingual so it made sense for me to move here and start her education. Then making music here was the right choice for me as I have a lot of creative contacts here.
Your new songs are dance tracks. With your love for hip hop what made you get into dance and not hip hop or r&b?
Well I like happy up-beat music so dance is the thing! I want to be able to move like crazy on a music video, so this is what I tried to do with mine, there’s a hip hop track on my album called ‘drop it low’, a duet with American singer LeMarvin.
Your new single ‘Forever In A Day’ is mastered by American DJ and rapper Big Ali. How did you get him on board?
Big Ali did a remix, I was so happy because I know how the people are crazy to work with him. One day he heard my song and sent me a message telling me he really loved it and he’d like to play in his number one French radio show, I was so happy!
Tell us about your forthcoming debut album Colours. What is the story/message behind it?
That’s simple, I called it ‘Colors’ because in the album I mixed a lot of my musical influences, quite an eclectic mix of pop, dance to transfer my energy and optimism to everyone, if people are happy after listening my songs, I’ll be happy.
‘Forever In A Day’ will be released on June 17