“They light up the room with their amazing energy”
In case Chris While and Julie Matthews have so far passed you by, they are the longest-lasting female duo in Britain and have played more than 2,500 gigs, appeared on over 100 albums, written hundreds of original songs and reached millions of people around the world. Now, 27 years after their debut, they sound as fresh and vital as ever.
Chris & Julie are generally regarded as folk/singer-songwriters but their outlook is more akin to the DIY philosophy of punk.
Their story is remarkable, one of two empowered women doing it their way, without compromise. They run their own label and publishing company; record and produce their albums from their own studio; perform all their own material, and have always valued their complete autonomy and creative freedom. And all from a small village near Sheffield, nearly 200 miles north of the London-centric UK music industry.
Their songs are varied and colourful and draw inspiration from the overtly political to key social issues and real-life human stories.
While and Matthews have never sounded more 'them'. Even the cover of Their 2019 album Revolution Call is 'Chris and Julie' to its core - a thought-provoking piece of self-effacing agit-prop. And they're not kidding anyone that they are 16 years old (if you look closely, you'll spot the slippers!).
But, and this is important: there is nothing bland or saccharine about While & Matthews or their music. They enjoy a healthy agitation after all these years. They are best friends, but they argue and disagree. Authenticity (individual and together) is a top priority.
They have toured Australia, New Zealand bi-annually for over two decades, earning them their rightful place as festival headliners, as well as building a following there as loyal as that in the UK. They are the longest-enduring female duo in Britain.
Chris and Julie have a vision. They stick to it, and they do it right. Their story is inspirational to young women and empowering to older women in equal measure. Their 27 year career culminates the work of two women doing what they do best. And to those ears While & Matthews may be reaching for the first time - listen without prejudice, and join this celebration of longevity, equality, empowerment and commitment to the muse. [Bio from While and Matthews]