Julie Felix, the folk music legend, has died at the age of 81 following a “short illness,” her agent, Fran Collier, said in a statement. Felix passed away on the night of March 22.
Felix’s agent’s statement read, “It is with great sadness that we announce that folk legend, Julie Felix, died peacefully in her sleep on Sunday evening 22nd March after a short illness. We offer our condolences to Julie’s family, friends and legions of fans at this time. She was a legend who will never be forgotten.”
In her later years, Felix remained prolific in releasing new music and performing. Felix’s most recent album, “Rock Me Goddess,” was released in 2018. Felix said in a 2016 interview, “I try to live in the moment – I don’t sing songs nostalgically. I’ve lived a long time so I bring validity. When you sing live, you’re tapping into a great energy. People open their hearts and that’s spiritual to me, my way of praying.”
Felix, a Native of California, Decamped to the United Kingdom in 1964
Felix was born in Santa Barbara, California, in 1938, but spent much of her adult life living in the United Kingdom. At the time of her death, Felix had been living in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire. Felix first moved to England in 1964. Shortly after arriving, Felix became the resident musician for the Australian talk show host David Frost’s BBC show.
Later, Felix had her own show on BBC, “Once More With Felix.” Among the musical guests who were featured on Felix’s show included Dusty Springfield and Leonard Cohen. Speaking about this time, Felix told The Guardian in 2018, “I was a beatnik, a pre-hippie. I’d been traveling around like a kind of “On the Road” thing, inspired by Jack Kerouac. I wasn’t as pure as they thought. Decca [her record label] wanted me to have that image but I didn’t want it – although I never wore makeup.”
In the same interview, Felix said that she was arrested at Heathrow Airport in 1968 on drug possession charges. A report from the time said that Felix was found in possession of marijuana as well as $216 more than what British residents were allowed to take abroad. Felix was en route to Geneva when she was arrested.
Felix Had a Lifelong Friendship With Leonard Cohen
During her interview with The Guardian, Felix spoke of her friendship with Canadian legend Leonard Cohen. Felix said that she first encountered Cohen on the Greek island of Hydra during the 1960s. At the time, Felix said that she was singing in bars on the island in exchange for free drinks. Felix said of Cohen, “There was a young poet from Canada there whose name was Leonard Cohen. He used to borrow my guitar and sing union songs because he wasn’t really writing songs back then.”
Felix said that her friendship with Cohen lasted until his death in 2016 at the age of 82. Felix said, “Years would go by but we were always talking and emailing. Leonard had a way of choosing his words so carefully. He was never afraid to go to deep, dark places and that’s why people liked him, without even knowing that was what they liked.” Felix added that she was in Mexico when she first heard of Cohen’s passing saying, “I knew he was ill but I didn’t expect him to go. I received so many requests to speak and sing in tribute to him all over the world. I was in a kind of dream but what amazed me was how personally everyone took it. People felt they knew him.”
Felix Was a Theater Graduate From the University of California – Santa Barbara
Felix was a University of California – Santa Barbara graduate. Felix was a theater major at the school. Felix said in a 2016 interview that her parents were American and Mexican adding that both had Native American blood. Felix’s father had been in a mariachi band.
Felix told the Goddess Pages in an interview that she left by boat for Europe two weeks after college graduation. Felix spoke about living in Greece saying, “I loved Greece. The landscape reminded me of Mexico: the colors are so similar.”