Mangrove music: Bundy musician on the cusp of a big break
BUNDABERG musician Julia R. Anderson grew up belonging to two worlds.
Born in Israel, she moved here with her family at the age of three.
They returned to Israel for two years when she was a teenager, but she found herself missing the mangroves, cane fields and familiar faces.
"I'm very much half-half, for good and for bad," she says of her two homes.
"You feel foreign in both places, which can be really hard."
After flirting with viola and drums it was during a tough time in Israel, when she was finding it hard to express herself with less than perfect Hebrew, that she picked up a guitar.
She taught herself the instrument "as a kind of therapy".
"I always liked writing, so eventually I put them together."
Anderson began recording her own music in 2011, influenced by the likes of Deerhunter and Patti Smith, and she plays alongside Andrew van der Horst, Reece Dargie and Imogen Kowalczyk in their band the Johnnys.
With an artist mother and a father in agriculture, it seems fitting that her solo release this year, In The Beginning, was written while she was picking and packing back in Bundaberg on her gap year.
The clip for the swirling, psychedelic ode to nature, shot by her brother Adam, was shown at the Bunderground film festival this year.
In it, Anderson is part of the landscape - sitting calmly amongst mangroves and shaded by sugarcane.
Her lyrics are filled with a sense of wonder for an ecosystem in harmony, free from the demands of modern human life.
And now people are starting to take notice of the 21-year-old's talent.
She is being courted by record labels while putting together her debut album.
With just three days' notice from a label who wanted to see her live, she put on her first headline gig in Brisbane earlier this month, coinciding with Bigsound, the annual conference that attracts artists and industry reps from around the country.
"It was actually the best show I've ever played," she said afterwards.
"I did my best - and if he liked it, he liked it."
Label or not, she aims to complete her album by the end of this year.
Now studying at the Queensland Conservatorium, she comes back to Bundaberg "whenever I can".
"Look how nice it is," she said, sitting beside seagulls on the Bargara esplanade.
"Of course I want to come back."