A Memphis, Tennessee-based singer/songwriter with a knack for finding the shaky ground between heart-wrenching and cathartic, Julien Baker's stark and soulful music invokes names like Bon Iver, Daughter, and Natalie Prass. Noted for its personal lyrics and vulnerable delivery, her first album, Sprained Ankle, was released in 2015. She continued to draw critical acclaim as one-third of Boygenius, a group she formed with Lucy Dacus and Phoebe Bridgers in 2018.
Baker honed her music skills while playing in her high school band, Forrister, with whom she continued to perform while attending college. After writing a batch of songs that didn't seem to fit the band's more rock-oriented vibe, Baker headed to Matthew E. White's Spacebomb Studios in Richmond, Virginia to begin recording what would eventually become her solo debut, 2015's Sprained Ankle. Issued by 6131 Records, it reached number 23 on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart and led to an invitation to join the Matador Records roster. With a more expansive sound and equally intimate lyrics, the self-produced follow-up, 2017's Turn Out the Lights, was recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis. It landed on the Billboard 200, peaking at number 78. She then joined fellow indie singer/songwriters Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus in the trio Boygenius. Together they issued their eponymous EP in late 2018, also on Matador. ~ James Christopher Monger