Julia of Angus and Julia Stone: Records that changed my life

Julia Stone of Aussie music duo Angus and Julia Stone reveals the records that shaped her

Whoa, Nelly! by Nelly Furtado

I was 16 when this record came out. I had been heavily influenced by popular music for a couple of years by this point, (a child of the Spice Girls revolution) so I was bound to wind up listening to this record because of its immediate mainstream success.

For me, Whoa, Nelly! did something different to other pop music at the time. Nelly Furtado was a pop star but with her own way of saying things. She wrote or co-wrote all her songs, which wasn’t the case for other performers I’d known before. To me, it felt like she had something to say and that really stood out at the time.

She created unique pop melodies and lyrics that spoke to me. An attitude and a confidence to be your own person permeated the music, her video clips and her performances. She came across as a courageous young woman whilst maintaining the fun and excitement of pop music.

I was becoming a young woman at the time, and Nelly Furtado’s music really encouraged me to be colourful and stand out.

 

Songs of Leonard Cohen by Leonard Cohen

Dad had this record in the house when we were growing up. He used to play it sometimes.

"His music made me feel like I wasn’t the only person on the planet. He was out there feeling like me"

It wasn’t until mum and dad separated when I was 14 that I found myself going into the CD collection and finding this record to play in my room on my personal player. I loved looking at his sad face on the cover whilst I listened to his voice. He looked so alone… but also somehow OK with it.

At the time, I didn’t really understand the depth of the lyrics and music.

But the sound of the songs and his voice made me feel good. Made me feel calm. His sadness, or at least the sound of sadness, in his music made me feel like I wasn’t the only person on the planet. He was out there feeling like me.

It wasn’t until years later, after having re-discovered Leonard Cohen’s music through the Jeff Buckley’s cover of "Hallelujah" that I remembered I’d had his face and voice in my room for years. It was then I re-listened to "Sisters of Mercy" and "Susanne" and all those brilliant songs and understood a little more of what he was singing about. Understanding that can only come with time and life experience.

 

Greatest Hits by Queen

This was a record I was obsessed with as a kid. I could listen to it over and over again.

"I would fixate on songs like "Don't Stop Me Now" and totally go for it, moving my body every possible way I could in time with the beat"

I loved making up dances. I knew every word from top to bottom. I would spend hours in the living room playing the CD back to back. I was a very high-energy kid and this record, these songs, helped to alleviate the endless source. I’m sure my parents are forever grateful to Queen!

For a kid, every song told a story that was both funny and full of energy. I feel so lucky that Freddie Mercury was such a big part of my early desire to perform. His power and strength in his vocal delivery really translated on that record and I was completely overwhelmed by where I could take that. Even when it was for a make-believe audience.

Songs like "Fat Bottomed Girls" used to make me laugh uncontrollably and songs like "Don’t Stop Me Now" I would fixate on, and totally go for it, moving my body every possible way I could in time with the beat.

My favourite track was "Somebody to Love". After watching the documentary The Great Pretender I realised as an adult that this song is so powerful because of who Freddie Mercury really was. A man looking for someone to love.

 

Watch Angus and Julia Stone’s new video for "Nothing Else" here