- Hometown: London
- Genre: Acoustic
- Influences: See Biography
- Lineup: Julia Johnson
Julia Johnson is a London-based singer, songwriter and piano player. Raised on Jazz standards, Broadway showtunes, 60s and 70s vinyl and romantic piano music, she draws her influences from all of the above to create a sound that is both unusual and accessible.
Her songs are reminiscent of Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell, but with flashes of melancholia, humour and savagery that indicate a hundred other sources, from Mogwai and The Cure to Blossom Dearie and Tom Lehrer.
Julia began learning piano at an early age and trained in classical singing from the age of 14. Believing that nothing matters more than the words, Julia cites Ani diFranco’s lines from ‘I’m No Heroine’: ‘I just write about what I should have done; I just sing what I wish I could say’ as her manifesto, and her colourful, candid lyrics are riddled with emotions. A song could be inspired by a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon, a scene from a 1970s Sci-fi, or Bette Davis’ plight in All About Eve. Her work has often been described as ‘cinematic’, combining as it does the intimate and the immense. Added to this is a voice that has been called ‘gorgeous and soft’ (London Lite), and piano melodies that are deceptively simple, by turns warm and haunting.
A regular player on the London acoustic circuit, Julia can often be found at the legendary Troubadour, where she plays a monthly residency. She took part in London Songwriters Week in May 2009, and performed at the Bird’s Eye View Film Festival launch in January 2010, as well as supporting Peter Gabriel at the Tabernacle in May 2010. Julia has also performed at Ronnie Scotts and played at the brand-new Swamp Shack at Bestival 2011.Julia’s first solo album, ‘I Am Not The Night’, was produced by Tristan Ivemy (The Holloways, Frank Turner), and recorded at Livingston Studios and Pierce Entertainment. Reaching beyond the pairing of voice and piano, the album is full of subtly layered strings, delicate guitar parts. Both earthy and ethereal, its sparse yet rich instrumentation allows the voice, and the words, to shine. It’s available now from iTunes and most other digital places.