Photo by Brian Purnell
The richness of Linda’s Tongan heritage has shaped her musical talent since birth. Traditional Tongan music and dance filled Linda’s childhood home, enhanced by her family’s ties to the close-knit Melbourne Tongan community.
From a young age Linda was coached by her mother to harmonise her singing with the voice of her older sister, Vika, especially singing gospel songs which lent themselves to harmony perfectly. With their unmistakable sibling vocal talents, Linda began singing the lower part to complement, and to be complemented, by Vika singing the higher part.
After graduating in 1985 Linda enrolled in university but left after two years to embark on a musical career with Vika. Together they formed a band, The Honeymooners. Then in mid-1988 Linda and Vika were invited as duo backing singers to join Joe Camilleri’s roots-rock band, The Black Sorrows. This was their big break into the stellar Australian music scene, winning multiple awards and touring Australia and Europe. So impressed was Camilleri by the Bull sisters’ individual talents, he gave each a spot in the limelight during live gigs to display their uniquely individual voices.
In 1994 Linda and Vika left The Black Sorrows to forge their own pathways and produced their award-winning debutalbum with Paul Kelly, to be followed by a further seven albums of their own, all highlighting the sisters’ remarkable voices and the finest of Australia’s songwriters. Vika & Linda have sung on number one albums for Paul Kelly, Kasey Chambers and John Farnham, have performed for global luminaries like the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and the King of Tonga, have been nominated for four ARIA awards, and in 2019 were inducted in the Music Victoria Hall of Fame. And in 2022, they were awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for their service to the performing arts. Vika & Linda have had an incredible three Top 5 albums in the past three years, as well as releasing the acclaimed memoir No Bull, which documents their remarkable musical life.
While Linda has received wide acclaim as a backing singer, she is well-recognised as a solo artist too. In 2018 Linda’s show, ‘Stardust’ featuring the songs of Willie Nelson, has most recently added to her legacy of bringing glorious pleasure to audiences with her distinctive versatile voice.
Paul Kelly describes Linda’s voice as “warm and mellow like honey…but can be tough and tender.”