WATCH: Jully Black, a Singer of Jamaican-Descent, Performs Canadian National Anthem at NBA All-Star Game

Canadian singer-songwriter, producer, and actress Jully Black sang Canada’s national anthem, “O Canada,” at the National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star Game in Salt Lake City, Utah, on February 19, 2023. She joined a number of star performers, including Burna Boy, Jewel, Post Malone, and actor Vin Diesel.

Black, a Juno Award winner and a platinum-selling R&B singer, was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1977, to Jamaican immigrant parents and was the youngest of nine children. She was raised in the North York district of Toronto by her mother after her parents divorced. She was signed at the age of 19 by Warner/Chappell Music, but was offered a deal shortly afterward by Universal Music Canada that boosted her career.

She received her first nomination for the Juno Award in 1997 and was nominated nearly every following year. She also had the chance to collaborate with and write for other popular artists, including Nas, Destiny’s Child, and Sean Paul. In 1998, her song “Rally’n” was ranked a Top 40 hit on the Canadian charts, and other songs, including “You Changed” and “Between Me and U,” also hit the charts. Black made an appearance on the single, ”Dissin Us,” by 2Rude which won the MuchMusic video award for Best R&B/Soul Video in 2000. Her debut album was slated to be released in 2014 by MCA Records but failed to appear when MCA went out of business that year.

Black’s 2005 album, “This Is Me,” was released by Universal Music Canada and featured the hit singles, “Sweat of Your Brow” and “Sx Love.” IFPI issued a piracy report stating that nearly three million illegal file-swap requests were made for her tunes in the first two weeks of the album’s release. Also in 2005, Black played the role of “The Preacher” in the theatrical production of “Da Kink in My Hair” at Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre. A critical success, the show played 106 sold-out performances and resulted in a weekly television series broadcast on the Global Television Network. Black sang the opening theme song and was featured in two of its episodes.

Black had her first Top 10 hit in Canada in 2007 with the singles “Seven Day Fool,” and “Revival,” her second album received a Juno Award for R&B/Soul Recording of the Year. She participated in the sixth season of the CTV reality show “Canadian Idol,” and she was the host of the 2008 Canadian Radio Music Awards. She has served as a celebrity reporter on CTV’s daily entertainment news show, “eTalk,” and is featured as a weekly guest panelist on “The Marilyn Denis Show,” also on CTV.

Her third studio album was released in 2009 and after its release, Black toured Canada, beginning with an appearance at the 2010 Winter Olympics. In 2010, “At the Roncies,” which was about a neighborhood of Toronto, was chosen by CBC Radio 2 listeners to represent Ontario in the Great Canadian Song Quest. She opened for superstar singer Celine Dion at the 2012 Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival staged to honor Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of independence. In 2020, she was featured on “FreeUp! The Emancipation Day Special, and in 2022, competed on the eighth season of “The Amazing Race Canada.”

Photo – Jully Black

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