Three Albums That Changed My Life: Tiny Ruins

New Zealand’s Tiny Ruins, fronted and led by Hollie Fullbrook, are returning to Australia this week for a very special performance at the Sydney Opera House as part of the 2016 Vivid Sydney festival. Following the likes of previous art-folk Vivid artists like James Vincent McMorrow and Sufjan Stevens, Fullbrook and her band will be bringing their delicate, divinely blues and folk-tinged storytelling to Vivid on June 1, in their first Opera House headline show (and second Opera House show altogether, having previously opened for Calexico.)

Fullbrook released her new EP Hurtling Through late last year, and more recently unveiled the haunting single Dream Wave, recorded by none other than David Lynch.

We wanted to get to know the artist a little better, so we asked Hollie to share three albums that changed her life.

Leonard Cohen, The Songs of Leonard Cohen

I always knew the album was very important to my mum, because she would tell me conspiratorially it was the first vinyl she’d ever bought. The corners were tattered, her name scrawled on the cover. She had been 12 when she got it, and when I turned 12, she gave it to me. I remember one night, I had a chest infection, and I stumbled to their door, complaining that I couldn’t breath. It was around 4am, and my parents came into my room. They sat on the floor while I breathed into a paper bag, and we listened to this record. Recommended to anyone who’s in a state of panic.

Nina Simone, Here Comes the Sun

I was sixteen I think, and I came across this CD of mainly covers by Nina Simone. It was like nothing else I’d ever heard – this mixture of joy, spookiness, sadness, fun, wisdom. I loved the song ‘Everybody’s Gone to the Moon’. I played it to my best friend at school the next day, and I remember it made her feel uncomfortable – the lyrics and the delivery really disturbed her. That reaction made me love it even more. I was hooked on the phrasing of the words. Nina Simone was such an important, strong figure for black women, for the Civil Rights movement – I don’t want to claim that she was speaking to or for me – but I have the utmost admiration and love for her & her work. Also recommended is that documentary ‘What Happened Miss Simone?’.

Tom Waits, Closing Time

I fell in love while listening to this record when I was 21. I sat on a couch in my dingy Wellington flat with this stranger who I so desperately wanted to know, and we listened to it late into the night. I felt as though everything I’d known before was a certain level of fadedness, and now suddenly there was a world of colour, mystery and an abundance of stories. It was probably the falling in love part which elevated it so much, but I still feel funny listening to it, and have a real soft spot for anything Waits.

Tiny Ruins will be performing at the Sydney Opera House in June 1, 2016 for Vivid Sydney – details and tickets here.

Check out our top 15 musical picks for Vivid Sydney.

Image: Vivid Sydney