Brooke Fraser’s home­com­ing

Bring­ing a new sound

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By JIM CHIPP

Brooke Fraser achieved her big­gest in­ter­na­tional suc­cess with Flags in 2010, but it left her feel­ing cre­atively stale and ‘‘ a lit­tle bit too com­fort­able’’.

‘‘My so­lu­tion was to pack up and move to mi­nus 12 de­grees in Swe­den,’’ she said. ‘‘I hoped that would jolt me out of my creative lethargy.’’

From a base on the Baltic is­land of Got­land, the Nae­nae singer made mu­si­cal odysseys to Stock­holm, Los An­ge­les, New York and Lon­don to work on her lat­est al­bum, Bru­tal Ro­man­tic.

Fraser said Flags left her feel­ing part of her mu­si­cal jour­ney was com­plete.

‘‘I started with the no­tion that the next al­bum would be very dif­fer­ent,’’ she said.

Fraser’s dis­tinc­tive voice com­bined with her strong melodies and lyrics to dom­i­nate her ear­lier, sim­pler work.

This time, pro­duc­tion is a big­ger el­e­ment, along with more prom­i­nent vo­cal and in­stru­men­tal back­ing, and an elec­tronic flavour.

Although Bru­tal Ro­man­tic had a mix­ture of sources, its lyrics and melodies are Fraser’s and, she said, just ‘‘ a bit more grown up and ma­ture’’.

‘‘There wasn’t a man sit­ting behind a win­dow telling me what to do.’’

The rhythms, beats and syn­the­siser tex­tures were all her of own con­cep­tion, but she sought pro­duc­tion help to re­alise them.

‘‘I looked for a very long time, be­cause I needed the right per­son.’’

That per­son was David Kosten in Lon­don.

‘‘He’s ac­tu­ally an elec­tronic ge­nius.

‘‘He had the skills and tech­ni­cal where­withal to help me cre­ate what I could only hear in my head, ham­pered by my limited beat-mak­ing skills.’’

Asked whether the ti­tle was a ref­er­ence to the Ro­man­tic po­ets of the 19th cen­tury, she laughed.

‘‘ No, but you can cer­tainly take it as that if you wish to.

‘‘I love that phrase – two very dif­fer­ent words say­ing the same thing.

‘‘Peo­ple are used to hear­ing my voice, lush and warm,’’ she said.

She has de­lib­er­ately placed it against the di­a­met­ric op­po­site mu­si­cal tex­ture.

Fraser is some­thing of a con­tra­dic­tion.

She is an openly prac­tis­ing Chris­tian, helps World Vi­sion with its child spon­sor­ship pro­grammes and is a cham­pion of pro­vid­ing clean wa­ter in the Third World.

But she is also part of the Los An­ge­les rock’n’roll fra­ter­nity.

Per­haps she is ‘‘ a lit­tle un­usual’’, but her feet are planted in both worlds.

‘‘I’m a mu­si­cian and artist in the in­dus­try, but I have strong roots and con­nec­tions to my peo­ple, and the peo­ple I do life with.

‘‘Mu­sic is part of my iden­tity, but not the whole thing.

‘‘ My hap­pi­ness and my health­i­ness as a hu­man be­ing doesn’t rise or fall on whether my mu­sic is suc­cess­ful.’’

Bru­tal Ro­man­tic was re­leased last week in record stores and on iTunes.

Photo: PA­TRICK FRASER

Fraser will re­turn to New Zealand next year to tour the new songs, and some of the old ones. She is de­lighted she will re­turn to her own stamp­ing ground, Welling­ton – she will play at TSB Arena on March 27. Grounded: Brooke Fraser will bring home her lat­est al­bum, Bru­tal Ro­man­tic, with a big

venue tour next year.

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