In early 2008, I fell in love with New Zealand indie-pop-rock sensation Brooke Fraser's second album, Albertine. I played it everywhere - in my house, in my car, even outside while I fertilized my lawn. I enjoyed its honesty and pop flavor; songs like "Shadowfeet" and "Albertine" were among my favorites of the year.
What I didn't know at the time was that Fraser was already a star in her homeland of New Zealand. Her first album, What To Do With Daylight, which featured the gorgeous ballads "Arithmetic" and "Scarlet," went eight times platinum, selling more than 120,000 copies. She had already come a long way, little to my knowledge.
But, as we know, success comes with a price. After two highly successful albums, Fraser was spent. She "could barely get out of bed, let alone think about writing songs for a third album.”
That is, until she saw Fleet Foxes at the 2009 Coachella Music and Arts Festival.
“Robin Pecknold began to sing and the purity of his voice seemed to melt away every memory of trauma and disillusionment,” she recalls. “Then the other voices joined his and it all felt so human and honest; I and everyone around me was enthralled. We were all being spoken to, and we were all listening. It was a moment where I remembered the power of music as a language, a connector. I remembered that I’ve been given the gift of speaking a particular dialect of this language and realized I didn’t have the option of being resigned to silence and I didn’t want it.”
Fraser is back in 2010 with Flags, a strong collection of songs that has little, if any, weak moments. It's sad ("Who Are We Fooling"), playful ("Something in the Water"), funky ("Jack Kerouac"), and inspiring ("Coachella") in all the right places. It's also been a hit, debuting at #59 on the Billboard Top 200 Charts.
We're lucky to have Fraser as part of our 10 to Spin series, as she unveils her "Pre-Show Playlist (warming up from mellow to hyper)." She's on tour now, so catch her in the U.S. while you can!
The First Days of Spring - Noah & the Whale
Conversation - Joni Mitchell [listen]
Clean White Love - Lisa Mitchell
Basketcase - Sara Bareilles
Pressure Suit - Aqualung
Mexican Mavis - Boy & Bear
Late in the Evening - Paul Simon
Go Do - Jonsi
My Delirium - Ladyhawke
Bang Bang Bang (feat. Q-Tip & MDNR) - Mark Ronson & The Business Intl