Born in Seattle of a Sicilian father and a Norwegian mother, Julie Cascioppo, international jazz and cabaret singer gave a breathtaking performance of two songs written by herself. Accompanied by playback music and forgoing the microphone her perfect voice sent tremors of delight into the audience as she launched into first number, I Love Being Abroad in America. Looking delectably sexy in an ankle-length linen lemon yellow dress that showed off her curves she recounted many experiences of her journey as a singer from America to Mumbai, including cruising round the Canary Islands, and performing in nightclubs and hotels in Paris, Istanbul, Delhi and now Mauritius.
‘There were a lot of cultural challenges on the way,’ she revealed in her deep American drawl. “and I do so love double entendre,” as was all too evident in her second number, I’m a Good Italian Mother aka The Pizza Song.
The lyrics had us laughing all the way as Julie, playing the role of an overworked Italian mamma with half a dozen kids, rues the day she married her over-sexed Sicilian husband because “all he wants is pizza (and more) every night.”
“It’s fun writing your own songs,” Julie said, ‘because so many of them are based on my own experiences. When I return to America in February I’ll be resuming something called Travel-Tainment - a one-woman show of songs based on my own travel experiences. Sure - I’ll have a little artistic licence and there’s so much to write about of my time in Mauritius.”
Julie is not just a jazz singer but a highly talented artiste with bags of mental and physical energy who turns out original one-woman shows. “I love sophisticated audiences who connect with me. I read their energy and react. But I need to have the right set up with proper lighting and sound - and experienced musicians - to make it work. That’s not easy in hotels.”
Inspiration comes from her travel experiences and with so many behind her and more to look forward to, Julie excels at turning out original work. Her best memories are of the Ciragan Palace Hotel, a five-star billet overlooking the Bosphorus in Istanbul, which inspired her to write Under the Blue Skies of Istanbul, one of eleven songs which feature on her CD, I Love Being Abroad.
Our January meeting produced 20 members and 6 guests including two gentlemen. Was this to do with the irresistible charms of Julie?
An incredible performer whom we’re sorry to see go, I doubt that we’ll ever see another Julie in Mauritius. I’m hooked on her kind of music and the unique way she interacts with her audience. Listening to your applause and feedback after the meeting it looks like you were too!
An animal lover at heart Julie donated her guest speaker’s fee to PAWS. For more information and to keep up with Julie’s adventures visit www.juliesings.com
Katy Roberts, North Corona News, Mauritus
"Cascioppo is very imposing, in a likeable sort of way. Her flamboyant demeaner is very calculated, and in many ways, it is her schtick. It is equally evident in her comedy as it is in her singing, and is defined differently, as needed. This strategy is what has made her successful.… She has been a mainstay at downtown's Pink Door for much longer than she cares to remember—she'll admit to 10 years of on-and-off performing, if pressed. There, Cascioppo has strung together a series of lounge-acts featuring a host of outrageous characters in outrageous costumes. Her performances are a delightful mish-mash of song, improvisation, caricature, and glorious tackiness. And in all these things she, like the audeince, gleefully wallows in it.
An evening might include a passive-aggressive modeling instructor or a sex-kitten tour-bus guide. There is, of course, her most famous character Sam Turner, who slinks around the room thrusting his conspicuously-packed spandex pants in the direction of some of the Pink Door's female patrons.
Amidst that, Cascioppo is an honest-to-god chanteuse. Sometimes, her act will be nothing mre than a series of straight-up torch songs. There, every bit of effort that accompanied Sam Turner is eviden in her music.
Such performances have earned her a cult following here in Seattle—not to mention elsewhere. Dance god Mark Morris brought her to New York, where she entertained between the troupe's routines. She performed in Paris for a time, as well as many cities here on the West Coast. Not all locations, however, have received her well: When in Ketchikan, Alaska, one patron, in an ugly fit of incomprehension, shouted at the unconventionally-dressed Cascioppo, "Get that goddamn toaster off your head!"
Steve Hansen, Queen Anne/Magnolia News
"Call it cabaret entertainment, call it performance art, call it a fashion statement for the ’90s.… Cascioppo's bright and witty act comes with a cutting, knowing edge, a good deal of wit, and even a few chills when she gets off the stage and confronts her audience face-to-face. You'll laugh, and you'll squirm.…
Cascioppo is an accomplished singer, too, a husky, reedy contralto with range and skill enough to tackle standards, blues and pop hits. She'll even take a fly at "Carmen," complete with bad flamenco flourishes.
In fact, her outstanding voice is a big part of how she puts her bizarre package over so effectively. If it comes as a surprise that someone with a dorky wig can sing so well, that's exactly what Cascioppo is hoping for."
Jeff Pike, Seattle Times
“When I said goodbye to Julie Cascioppo in her artist loft she was poised to start an online search for a European booking agent, preferably one with contacts in Milan. Since Julie’s image once spanned the side of an Ottoman Palace in Istanbul it’s fair to say that she is an internationally known cabaret singer. Why isn’t her photograph yet hanging on the Wall of Recognition at Ballard High School?”
Peggy Sturdviant, Ballard News-Tribune / Seattle PI Blog
" Julie does Liza Minelli better than the crooning superstar herself."
Seattle's Best Places (writer unknown)
" She sings sultry songs and delivers panter so subtly tacky that it reeks of intelligent planning."
Village Voice (writer unknown)
" Rather than sentimentalize emotional dependency, French Kiss satirizes love addiction… and offers some stylish singing and goofy vignettes… Cascioppo really is a skillful dramatic singer."
Joe Adcock Post-Intelligencer
" With appearances from Paris to Istanbul, Ms. Cascioppo is a passenger on an electronic-age Orient Express of her own devising. She gives the impression, both onstage and off, of a woman to whom a lot of things happen. After an up-close exposure to The Julie Cascioppo Experience, it's impossible not to realize that Julie is an artist who makes things happen. Perhaps the only judgment to safely render is the well-worn phrase, 'She has that effect on people.' The tone of voice it's delivered in is entirely up to the speaker."
George Arthur, former Post-Intelligencer arts writer
" A cross between Bette Midler and Andy Kaufman"
Tom Scanlon, Seattle Times
" Julie dances, sings, acts, plays instruments, She really interacts with the audience a lot. She has a real fan club, a real underground following, because you never know what characters she will pull out."
Ruby Montana, Greater Seattle magazine
Quotes from Julie
"My relation with critics and reviewers is a question of 'frequency modulation'… the more frequently they see me, the more they modulate their opinion!"
"The problem with show-business cliches is they keep happenning to me in mutated forms"
(on her early years) "I sang in the jazz clubs, worked with the jazz musicians. A lot of them thought I was weird, though. We'd be in the middle of some standard and I'd turn to the band and ay, 'OK, guys, rock it out here!' and they'd just stare."
"It's such a diffferent feeling to sing songs when you know someone is listening. It's like life. You feel like oh I'm a real person. Whenever you have to sing and it's a noisy crowd it's like singing into the wind. When I'm singing it's my kind of prarying. You can be as creative as anything and if you don't have acknowledgement and someone relating to it."
"Every song I sing has a deep resonation with me, that's like a soulful expression."