Julien Baker

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Julien Baker
Julien Baker (41096346594).jpg
Baker performing in April 2018
Background information
Birth nameJulien Rose Baker
Born (1995-09-29) September 29, 1995 (age 23)
Memphis, Tennessee, US
  • Musician
  • singer-songwriter
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • piano
  • organ
  • mandolin
Years active2014–present
Associated acts

Julien Rose Baker (born September 29, 1995) is an American singer and guitarist from Memphis, Tennessee. She is a member of the alternative rock band Forrister, formerly known as The Star Killers.[1] She released her first solo studio album, Sprained Ankle, on 6131 Records, in 2015, and her second solo album, Turn Out the Lights, on Matador Records, in 2017. In 2018, she co-founded the supergroup boygenius with Lucy Dacus and Phoebe Bridgers.[2]

Early life[edit]

Born on September 29, 1995,[3] Baker grew up in Memphis, Tennessee.[4] She learned to play on her father's guitar,[5][6] and attended Middle Tennessee State University,[3] where she studied audio engineering and later majored in literature with a double minor in Spanish and secondary education, before leaving school in order to tour full-time.[7]



Baker has met critical acclaim for her performances and songwriting, described as emotively cathartic, as well as a fresh take on folk music.[8] Her album Sprained Ankle has been described as featuring pared-back fragile songs, while Turn Out the Lights features more developed song structures while retaining the raw emotion of its predecessor.[by whom?]


In 2010, Baker co-founded a band called The Star Killers, which renamed itself Forrister in 2015.[9][10][11] During her freshman year at MTSU, she began writing songs on her own, often in the university practice rooms late at night.[12][6] With her friend Michael Hegner, she recorded an EP at Spacebomb Studios, which she self-released in the winter of 2014 on Bandcamp.[13] The EP became the studio album Sprained Ankle in October 2015.[11] Sprained Ankle topped many 2015 year-end lists and its success led to features in The New Yorker and The New York Times.[14][15]

Baker performing at Rough Trade NYC in 2016

On March 7, 2016, Baker performed in an NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert.[16] During that set she referenced a new song called "Sad Song #11", which was later titled "Funeral Pyre" and released as a single, with "Distant Solar Systems" as the b-side.[17] Baker contributed a song titled "Decorated Lawns" to the Punk Talks winter compilation Jingle Yay, released on December 1, 2016.[18]

Baker has opened for artists including Death Cab for Cutie, Conor Oberst, The Decemberists, Belle & Sebastian, Paramore, The Front Bottoms, and Manchester Orchestra. In 2017 she was signed to Matador Records,[19] releasing a 7-inch single of the songs "Funeral Pyre" and "Distant Solar Systems". An LP, Turn Out the Lights, recorded at Tennessee's Ardent Studios with help from Sorority Noise's Cameron Boucher, was released on October 27, 2017.

On October 28, 2017, Baker made her national-television debut on CBS This Morning and on January 3, 2018, she made her late-night debut on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

In 2018, Baker, along with Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, formed the supergroup boygenius. They released three songs in August 2018 and subsequently announced an EP and a tour.[20] The EP, titled boygenius, came out on October 26, 2018. Baker and Bridgers had formerly performed onstage together at various concerts.

Personal life[edit]

Baker is a lesbian and a Christian socialist.[21][22][23][24][25] She has been sober for approximately six years, by her own estimate (as of 2019).[26]



Studio albums[edit]

Live albums[edit]

  • AudioTree Live (2016, AudioTree)[27]


  • "Funeral Pyre" (January 6, 2017)[17]
  • "Distant Solar Systems" (March 17, 2017)



  • boygenius (2018)


  1. ^ "Choked Up, by Forrister". Forrister.bandcamp.com. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  2. ^ Lorusso, Marissa (August 21, 2018). "Hear New Music From Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus' Supergroup Boygenius". NPR.org. Retrieved 2018-11-05.
  3. ^ a b Townsend, Eileen (October 22, 2015). "Julien Baker Arrives". Memphis Flyer. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  4. ^ "Julien Baker on iTunes". iTunes. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  5. ^ Nordstrom, Leigh (August 11, 2015). "Singer-Songwriter Julien Baker Hits New York". WWD. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Claymore, Gabriela Tully (October 26, 2015). "Read An Interview With Young Phenom Julien Baker And Watch Her "Sprained Ankle" Video". Stereogum. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  7. ^ Fenwick, George (July 20, 2017). "Julien Baker on queerness, the power of music and making people cry". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  8. ^ Cohen, Ian (5 November 2015). "Julien Baker - Sprained Ankle". Pitchfork. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Forrister - Forrister". Tumblr. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  10. ^ Ladd, Olivia (February 23, 2015). "From Memphis to Murfreesboro: Musician Julien Baker Shares Her Passion". Sidelines. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  11. ^ a b Chiu, David (December 9, 2015). "Julien Baker's 'Real Life' Music Tugs at the Heartstrings". PopMatters. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  12. ^ Gokhman, Roman (December 1, 2015). "Julien Baker: The Best of What's Next". Paste Magazine. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  13. ^ Mook, Aaron (November 11, 2015). "Julien Baker - 11/10/15". Chorus.fm (formerly AbsolutePunk.net). Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  14. ^ Syme, Rachel (April 29, 2016). "Julien Baker believes in God". The New Yorker. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
  15. ^ Williams, John (April 26, 2016). "Julien Baker: Sad songs that whisper and howl". The New York Times.
  16. ^ NPR Music (7 March 2016). "Julien Baker: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert". YouTube. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  17. ^ a b "Funeral Pyre, by Julien Baker". Julienbaker.bandcamp.com. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  18. ^ "Julien Baker – "Decorated Lawns"". Stereogum.com. 2016-11-30. Retrieved 2017-09-08.
  19. ^ "Matador Records". Matadorecords.com. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  20. ^ Rincón, Alessandra (August 21, 2018). "Julian Baker, Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers Form Boygenius, Release Three Singles From EP: Listen". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-11-05.
  21. ^ "Julien Baker Is a Queer, Christian, Socialist – We Had to Talk to Her". Religion and Socialism Podcast. Retrieved February 7, 2019 – via SoundCloud.
  22. ^ https://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2016/09/13/493765987/the-on-the-road-education-of-lucy-dacus
  23. ^ https://www.gaycitynews.nyc/stories/2017/22/w28676-julien-bakers-assuredness-2017-10-26.html
  24. ^ Syme, Rachel (April 29, 2016). "Julien Baker Believes in God". The New Yorker. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  25. ^ Tolentino, Jia (October 27, 2017). "The Raw Devotion of Julien Baker". The New Yorker. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  26. ^ https://www.gq.com/story/clean-musicians
  27. ^ "Julien Baker - Audiotree Live, by Julien Baker". Julienbaker.bandcamp.com. Retrieved 27 October 2017.

External links[edit]