12 Breakthrough Austin Bands at SXSW Music
Singer-songwriter had a calling
Julia Lucille has quietly and patiently planted the seeds for a dedicated audience beyond Austin, an organic process of growth parallel to the holistic, intuitive approach she takes in crafting her music.
"I think [music] is a vocation, like it's something people are called to do and then as you do it, it actualizes you," explains Lucille. "With every album and more years going by, I become more embodied and more me. I have more to give."
Growing up in the technology and business-driven Menlo Park, Calif., the singer developed her musical voice in isolation. She moved to Austin in 2012 without knowing anyone, and her introduction to the music scene came in the form of a "residency," eight months of performing weekly in the corner of Thai Fresh, hoping to conquer her stage fright. It worked.
By 2016, Lucille saved up enough money to quit her job and toured by herself across the country. By the time the year closed, she had spent a whopping nine months away. Her third LP, Chthonic came out on carefully curated local label Keeled Scales the following year to an expectant audience.
Lent a guiding hand by producer Dan Duszynski of Dripping Springs' Dandy Sounds, where Molly Burch's Please Be Mine was recorded, Chthonic marked Lucille's first album with a full band, a balancing act of a fleshed-out sound and restraint.
"I really like the idea of landscape in sound," says Lucille. "Some songs I wrote on the ranch where we recorded, because I lived there for three months after a breakup. They're about walking around that ranch and what I was feeling. It's literally about having these really big feelings that are overwhelming in a really open, empty, wide space."
In her ability to conjure up visual space through sound, Lucille is unparalleled. Chthonic spins startlingly sparse and ethereal, its heartbreak painted lovingly and sparingly with folk, understated electronics, and haunting, complex vocal harmonies. When she promoted it on tour, audiences came out.
"I do feel like I have many more albums in me, and I'm excited about what they're gonna be."