Having first come to the fore as the sassy and beguiling front woman for platinum-selling band Fur Patrol at the turn of the century, the past decade has seen Julia Deans transition from iconic rock chick to glorious songbird.
Deans’ first solo album Modern Fables was released to critical acclaim in 2010, earning her a swag of nominations for several coveted musical accolades including the Taite Music Prize, the APRA Silver Scroll (for “A New Dialogue”) and Best Female Solo Artist and Best Pop Album at the NZ Music Awards.
Though it has been close to eight years between releases, Deans’ new collection of songs We Light Fire sees her return to the song writing fore enriched with experience and full of purpose. Inspired by world events, friends, and family, the new album examines both what it means to be human, and our spectrum of strength and vulnerability.
There is a true sense of confidence to We Light Fire, an album that grapples with a variety of sociological ideas, illustrated with strong poetic imagery, and bound by a rich sound palette which still lets her distinctive voice come to the fore.
“When I first started out as a teenager, I was singing about these feelings and ideas that I was really only just starting to experience. It’s interesting how, as you get older, the shape of them becomes more defined – more 3D – in the context of all your other experiences.”
And the critics agree, with We Light Fire seeing Deans nominated for Best Solo Artist and Album Of The Year at the 2018 New Zealand Music Awards, and the album's titular track long-listed for this year's APRA Silver Scroll.
Her delivery throughout is breathtaking, and We Light Fire is a masterful showcase of her abilities. She drifts effortlessly between styles and beams with confidence. This is a singer/songwriter at the height of their craft. – ★★★★1/2 Sunday Star Times
We Light Fire is a set of songs soaked in self-analysis and pleas for understanding, forgiveness and honesty. Yep, she can sing, and when she soars it’s a spine-tingling thing because it’s all real. – ★★★★Metro
Julia Deans boasts one of the best falsettos in New Zealand. Her razor-sharp voice is intoxicating from the moment it chimes in. – ★★★★ NZ HERALD