Twelve years on from the world’s first introduction to Brooke Fraser, she continues to remain one of the top selling artists in New Zealand, with combined career album sales in New Zealand over 225,000 albums, and one of the country’s stellar musical exports with international sales close to half a million albums.
She established herself on the world stage with hit singles ‘Albertine,’ ’Shadowfeet’ & ‘Something In The Water,’ the latter a huge hit across radio airwaves throughout Europe, America, the UK & Australasia.
Brooke Fraser was still a teenager in New Zealand when her music career first took flight. Her 2003 debut album ‘What To Do With Daylight’ was an eight-times platinum success story in her native New Zealand that earned Brooke her first pair of New Zealand Music ‘Tui’ Awards. She toured Australasia with artists like John Mayer and David Bowie.
A personal trip to Rwanda informed and gave name to her second album Albertine and this time, the songs spread further across the airwaves. Radio stations in Australia and America were in the thrall of ‘Shadowfeet’ and Brooke toured the world through 2008. An Editors Choice at iTunes in the US helped Albertine climb as high as #5 on the charts there and the album clocked up five times platinum sales in New Zealand, matching her debut effort’s gold sales in Australia. With the album title track winning New Zealand’s prestigious songwriting award, the APRA Silver Scroll and a further three Tui’s at the NZ Music Awards.
2011 saw the release of her breakthrough single ‘Something In The Water’ and third studio album ‘Flags.’ A smash hit across Europe, the UK, and Australasia, the infectiously charming single hit Platinum in Germany and New Zealand and Gold in Italy. It also reached the Top 10 in Austria and Switzerland, Top 20 in Holland and Belgium, and held the top spot on the BBC Radio 2 playlist in the UK as well as being the ninth most played track of 2011 on the German airwaves. ‘Something in the Water’ propelled Flags to triple Platinum album sales in her home country, Gold again in Australia, and also reached #6 in the German top 10 Album charts, peaking at #59 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA.
Flags earned Brooke a total of five New Zealand Music Award Tui’s and critics were in its thrall. The NZ Herald proclaimed it “beguiling”, the BBC called her “an artist comfortable in her craft” and fellow UK outlet More Than Music called Brooke a “strong songwriter” who “deserved attention long long ago.” In the States, Seattle Times called Flags a “collection of alternative pop that highlights Fraser’s stunning, versatile soprano” and Vivoscene said “In short, an irresistible record and a strong indication of a long and immeasurably rich career to come.” Glide Magazine described Flags as “a wonder. From the stunning lyrical imagery, Fraser’s ethereal and breathy performances to the wide-ranging soundscapes, this record is drenched in beauty and stands as one of the more remarkable albums of the year.”
Touring relentlessly across Europe, North America and Australasia, Brooke performed to packed out crowds, sharing not just the hits but her legendary dry wit and warm stage presence, filling the rooms with laughter as she twisted her natural New Zealand vowel sounds around her odd pronouncements in foreign languages.
Four years on from the release of ‘Flags’ it was Brooke’s musical evolution that was one of the most exciting musical discoveries of 2014, with the release of her fourth studio album Brutal Romantic in NZ, Australia, USA, Canada, Asia and Latin America in November of that year. The album was then released in the UK and Europe in April 2015.
The New Zealander had written her fourth album over 18 months, collecting fragments in New York, Los Angeles, Sydney, Stockholm, a garage in Maida Vale and an 18th century barn conversion on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea. Fraser ultimately landed on the doorstep of co-producer David Kosten (Bat For Lashes, Everything Everything). The duo crafted this album in Kosten’s West London studio through the early months of 2014, venturing to the cavernous Abbey Road to record Brutal Romantic’s epic orchestral moments.
Producing a work that focuses on setting Fraser’s strong melodies against an altogether different palette than fans may be used to, AUSPOP described Fraser’s new sound and record as, “a super-stylish, slick fourth LP and convincing switch into electronic bombastic pop.” While Brisbane’s Courier Canvas Mag also referred to Brutal Romantic as, “A new record that resonates with interesting soundscapes and layered depths.”
June 2015 sees Brooke complete her touring cycle for the album, having visited North America, Australia, parts of Asia and Europe before finishing up in New Zealand. Rave reviews from the likes of the AU Review referred to Brooke’s performance as, “a super stunning and perfect experience,” with the Seattle Music News also commenting that Brooke, “has so much electronic soul.”
She will be off the road after NZ dates as she prepares for the expected birth of her first child in late 2015.