Julia Johnson has always been the careful crafter of her own musical universe. Raised in a musical family, she spent swathes of her childhood and teenage years holed up in her room teaching herself various musical instruments, writing songs and recording them on her father’s 4-track tape recorder.
Shaped by the folk music scene that she grew up in, Johnson’s narratively rich, huge-hearted songs began connecting with audiences all over Australia with her first band Julia and the Deep Sea Sirens. Touring throughout her late teens and twenties, around the Australian folk music circuit, the band’s finely wrought album ‘Family Pets’ spilled Julia’s music over the boundaries of the folk the realm, where it was met with a broader appeal and critical acclaim.
On stage, Johnson’s warm presence and unpredictable banter usher you in to her folk-tinged musical universe, where she brandishes traditional folk instruments with exceptional and unusual techniques.
Johnson came to national attention when she was one of the winners of the Triple J Unearthed Songwriting comp, receiving a masterclass from Gotye and Adalita in the same cohort as Courtney Barnett and Kira Puru. She went on to support a slew of iconic Australian artists including Courtney Barnett, Jen Cloher, Tim Rogers, Abbe May, and played venues of every size from cosy lounge rooms to Groovin the Moo.
After years as bandleader/producer for Julia and The Deep Sea Sirens, Johnson moved to Berlin to expand her sonic palette, refocusing on the pure pursuit of song craft and mastery of the studio process.
Upon returning to Australia, Julia explored her sensual, synth-drenched curiosity, releasing and touring two synth-folk singles ‘Collarbone’ and ‘Melissa’ nationally with full band.
The third solo single ‘Breathe Him In’ represents a new height of openness and sheer quality in her song writing. Exploding the traditional live-band arrangements of her early releases, this is the sound of a master creative Creating this new music has involved years of walking the earth and now Julia Johnson is excited to share it.
With touring plans abandoned in the pandemic, Johnson locked down in her mother’s converted garage in the lowlands of the Hawkesbury region outside Sydney. From here she broadcast online launch events for the cancelled ‘Breathe Him In’ tour, which included songwriting workshops and performances which exceeded the audience sizes of the physical tours she had planned. In 2021, the focus has turned to the completion of her debut solo album.
Julia Johnson is an Australian singer, songwriter, producer and multi instrumentalist. Her voice has been compared to Florence Welch, Joni Mitchell, Bat For Lashes, and even a ‘treacherous mountain river’. On stage, Johnson’s warm presence and unpredictable banter usher you in to her folk-tinged musical universe, where she brandishes antique folk instruments with exceptional and unusual techniques.
Julia is a TripleJ Unearthed awarded songwriter who has supported iconic Australian artists including Courtney Barnett, Tim Rogers, Jen Cloher, Bob Evans, and Pete Murray as well as performing at folk and contemporary music festivals such as National Folk Festival and Groovin The Moo.
Someone it will pay to follow closely
– Sydney Morning Herald
Love the way this one swells up and up, and also the blend of the autoharp with more modern production; really pretty.
– Zan Rowe – ABC
(Collarbone is) a rousing effort from Julia here, with some Laura Marling touches for good measure.
– Declan Byrne, TripleJ
Johnson’s voice mirrors the slow but treacherous current of a mountain river
– Ron Cerabona, The Canberra Times
Bat For Lashes reimagined as the soundtrack to the next party you throw in an opulent baroque chateau.
– Dom Alessio, Sounds Australia
Exciting to hear Julia’s new music. I like the theatricality of the chorus and the clink of so many different sounds throughout.
– Dave Ruby Howe, DoubleJ