A New Zealand native, Julia Darling bought a guitar and learned how to play it. At age 18, she left home and began busking in Melbourne, Australia. It was only a few months before she was signed to a record deal.
The record company flew Julia to New York, where she worked with seasoned studio musicians (including Jon Brion and ex-Eels drummer Jonathan “Butch” Norton) and recorded her debut album, 1999’s Figure 8. While the album garnered critical acclaim, sales were less than stellar (which was probably due to the label’s lack of promotion). Julia’s record company dropped her and she was left to fend for herself in New York City.
Julia stayed in New York, where she waited tables at The Cutting Room and played small gigs in bars. She eventually developed a following in the New York music scene. In 2003, four years after the release of Figure 8, Julia released Julia Darling, which contains the song Photographs, presented here.
When I listen to the song, my mind races to try to find words to describe her voice—it has an ineffable beauty.
No one could ever accuse this eclectic artist of being derivative or borrowing too much from one any source, though she admits her Kate Bush influences — apparent on the brooding Crinolines and Waltzing.
Figure 8 is and remains one of the best and most under-appreciated albums that I can think of. Listen to Overloading God or Bulletproof Belief and you’ll be left wondering why lesser talents like Alanis Morisette were popular and this album never quite took off. Maybe Morisette had someone pushing her music to the radio stations (don’t tell me payola is dead), because they played Ironic and You Ought to Know incessantly until I was ready to do anything to just make it stop.
Although Figure 8 has been discontinued, you can click the Amazon link below and find a used copy at a very low price.
Julia’s MySpace page states that she’s recording her 3rd album with Ken Rich and Andrew Sherman.