In many cases a debut represents an artist’s first appearance in an official capacity. It’s often the focus of fans and the media and can serve as a reference point for the rest of an artist’s career. However, sometimes equally significant is the lead up to this point.

Sherie Julianne, new record “10 Degrees South” may be her first full length album release but on it she exudes the self-assurance of someone who has been working towards this for years and that’s because she has. “10 Degrees South” is the child of a 10-year marriage in music between Sherie and her mentor Marcos Silva and the chemistry between the two throughout the record is quite romantic.

The song selection seems like one that was deliberated over for some time. A unique mixture of standards and lesser known songs – creates a listening experience that is distinct but not distant. Another well-executed creative act was the placement of flamboyant instrumental solos between Sherie’s vocal performances. It keeps the listener engaged and is further evidence of how well this team works.

The first highlight is the opener, Baneira. She hits the ground running with a vibrant and colorful arrangement which appropriately suits her precise singing. It’s a show case of the delicate and sometimes tenuous relationship between vocal urgency and control that she maintains with the proficiency of a tightrope walker. O Pato is another highlight illuminated by the delightful flute solo by Mery Fettig. This certainly is not the only solo of note though.

Marcos Silva delivers a thrilling performance on “Brasil Nativo.” His work on the piano which included a rousing solo creates an exciting stage for Sherie. Amidst the downpour Sherie is like the eye of a hurricane – the calm in the storm. She commands the violent winds rather than allow them to her blow her off course. She’s the Captain of this ship and it’s evident here.

For her rendition of “The Look of Love” her arrangement stays true to the original for the most part but a guitar solo at the mid-point of the song was a pleasant surprise. “A-ra” is two-part song and both sections are delightful; a double treat. The first and considerably longer section features Sherie accompanied only by piano. It’s comforting and dreamy; albeit a dry dream. When the second sequence commences the drums kick in, the power is maintained and the vocal engineering gives a more haunting feel. A climatic end that contrast the preceding, more sober section very well.

In many ways this is an unconventional debut. Years in the making, Sherie seems certain of the direction she wanted to take. Aided by the synergy between her and the accompanying musicians she shares the center-stage with this talented cast but is never outshone. Deceptively mature and confidently crafted – a great introduction.

Sherie Julianne - 10 Degrees South CD packaging
1. Bananeira
2. Watch What Happens
3. O Pato
4. Bonita
5. Brasil Nativa
6. A Ra
7. Encontro
8. Painting
9. Maracatu, Naçã do Amor
10. O Barquinho (Little Boat)
11. The Look of Love
12. So Many Stars