"I want to live with you in California" is a bit of a day dream coming from Aussie folk singer, Julia Stone. Like many a dream, it takes a slightly surreal image in Stone's video for "Justine" as a touching story of an odd couple enjoying a day at the Venice boulevard unfolds. The song is from her solo album By The Horns.
Julia Natasha Stone (born 13 April 1984) is an Australian folk-blues singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. She is the sister-half of Angus & Julia Stone and is also a solo musician. Her debut solo album, The Memory Machine, was issued in 2010. Her second solo album, By the Horns, appeared in May 2012, which peaked at No. 11 on the ARIA Albums Chart.
Julia Natasha Stone was born on 13 April 1984 and grew up in Sydney. Her parents, John and Kim Stone, were both folk musicians. John was a builder and later became a music teacher, who also performs in a covers band, Backbeat. Stone's older sister is Catherine (born ca. 1982) and her younger brother is Angus Stone (born 27 April 1986). Stone attended Newport Primary School and Barrenjoey High School. At primary school she joined the school band with her father teaching and her siblings accompanying. At family gatherings when the children performed Stone played trumpet, Catherine on saxophone and Angus on trombone. At about the age of 16-years-old her parents separated and she had a turbulent personal relationship with her boyfriend which broke up after a year.
After finishing secondary school and while on a holiday with her brother to South America, Stone was impressed by his musical talent, "[Angus] was writing amazing songs ... [he] had shown me how to play guitar in Bolivia, and those songs had gotten me through that year". Subsequently Stone started writing her own songs. By 2005 Stone was playing at open mic nights, sometimes Angus performed backing vocals their first such gig, at the Coogee Bay Hotel, they performed "Tears". After playing split sets with each singing backing vocals to the other's material, in 2006, they formed a duo, Angus & Julia Stone. In March that year the pair recorded their debut extended play, Chocolates and Cigarettes, which was released in August. Since then the group has released five EPs, a compilation album and two studio albums.
Angus & Julia Stone (Julia at left) performing at Falls Festival, Marion Bay, Tasmania, December 2007.
In late 2010 after five years of recording and touring with the duo, Stone released her debut solo album, The Memory Machine. Which charted on the ARIA Albums Chart into the top 100. It was well received by fans and critics. Poppy Reid of The Music Network found that "Julia uses clever vintage horror film posters painted by UK artist Caroline Pedler. The posters depict themes from each song; all of them of course, starring Julia as herself".
Angus & Julia Stone's second album, Down the Way (March 2010), debuted at number one on the ARIA Albums Chart and was certified 3 platinum in 2011. It was the highest-selling album by an Australian artist for 2010. At the ARIA Music Awards of 2010 the duo won ARIA Album of the Year for Down the Way and ARIA Single of the Year for "Big Jet Plane". The track, "Big Jet Plane", was voted at number-one position in the Triple J Hottest 100 in 2011 by the station's listeners.
Despite reaching critical acclaim as a duo, Stone had initially embarked on her musical career to become solo musician. In June 2011 she sang backing vocals on "Do You Realize" for The Flaming Lips and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at a sunrise concert at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. In August that year Stone supported her collaborator, Doveman, at shows in California and New York.
On 25 May 2012 Stone released her second solo album, By the Horns, simultaneously around the world, which debuted at No. 11 on the ARIA Albums Chart. Stone described writing the songs and temporarily parting with Angus, "[w]e had already been working on a new record together but it didnt feel right ... I was thinking 'I'll make it now and we'll figure out what happens when it happens'". "Then Angus and I were talking on the phone and he'd been working on more stuff on his own as well and we both just agreed we were both in the same place, ready to put together a collection of our own songs". She worked on the album in California, France, Australia and India.
Originally released in 2010, Julia's cover version of "You're the One That I Want" has been featured on UK and Irish TV channel, Sky's identification ad. The track entered the UK iTunes charts after airing on the commercial. In September 2012, she featured in a campaign, 30 Songs / 30 Days, to support Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, a multi-platform media project inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's book of the same title.