Memphis singer-songwriter Julien Baker is Christian, queer, and a native of America’s deep south.
But the 21-year-old musician’s reach is broader and more complex than the seeming paradox of her parts.
The Sprained Ankle singer will play Ballarat next month.
Baker sold out three Sydney shows and a further three in Melbourne in her debut Australian tour last year.
“You have a moniker or a qualifier like Christian artist and in my mind that’s like saying a Christian postal service worker,” Baker says.
“I don’t see my faith as an accessory to my person, especially not an accessory to my heart.
“When I sit down to write songs I don’t say, ‘I will now write a Christian song’ but rather because my particular relationship with faith informs everything about how I view the world.”
Baker knows her presence as a queer female artist is implicitly political. Just being visible is a statement.
“When I perform songs like Sprained Ankle it’s not a very political song, with an obvious agenda,” Baker says.
“I’m not making an outright statement about feminism or about queer culture but I think there’s something important by existing and refusing to compromise one’s identity.
“When I talk about substance abuse, when I talk about being queer or a person of faith, I think what’s important is the practice of not diminishing one’s core values and intrinsic qualities to fit in and acquiesce to what we believe the social norm is demanding of us. It’s not only young queer females that are relating to the songs.”
Baker didn’t expect her songs would reach further than her friends.
“When I started touring I didn’t think people would ask me about the songs, I didn’t think I would play rooms but the more I think about it, the more I think about how I’m glad I did.
“It’s still teaching me to be gradually less vulnerable, to not hide or diminish parts of myself. Getting to share that with audience members every night is something I never expected but something I’m glad to experience.”
Julien Baker will play Karova Lounge in her first tour of regional Victoria on July 13.
To book visit www.karovalounge.com.