Julia Holter. Picture: Supplied

Since her debut album Tragedy was released in 2011, LA avant-garde songstress Julia Holter has gone on to release two more impressive albums. This year's Loud City Song has made Top 10 albums-of-the-year lists around the world and not surprisingly as it's something of a masterpiece.

After an excellent performance in the intimate yet steaming hot Spiegeltent at Laneway last year, Holter is coming back next month for the Perth International Arts Festival.

Her rapid rise to fame has led to a lot of changes in her life but the 29-year-old has embraced it wholeheartedly.

"Just being able to tour and do music and stuff is so cool," Holter says.

With three albums in as many years, it would be fair to call Holter prolific. "The process of creation initially can be very fast because you have to keep up with your ideas, so you have to transcribe them to paper or recording as quickly as you can," she says. "But then the actual rolling out of your ideas and working with them, that's the long part."

Holter's first two albums were recorded in her home studio, and this quiet, private, intimacy comes through in the music.

Loud City Song was more of a big studio affair involving other musicians and co-producer Cole M. Grief-Neill.

"It was much more exciting and fun," she says.

"I still recorded most of the ideas at home but when I took them into the studio, I got to redo them in a much more professional way - with people that knew how to mic things, musicians who knew how to play their instruments instead of me playing everything - and that was a huge change and relief for me.

"It got to the point where I didn't want to take on every single role. I still wrote and co-produced it and had a lot of control. If you heard the first demos of the songs, you'd still be able to identify them but they definitely sound so much better in the final versions."

Holter took a somewhat scholarly approach to making Loud City Song, which was inspired by the musical Gigi, based on the 1944 novel by Colette about a Parisian girl groomed to be a courtesan by her mother. She applied the central conceit to the context of celebrity- obsessed modern-day LA.

"It was more the (1958) musical that inspired me, as I grew up watching it," she explains. "It was just something my grandma had at her house, and I would watch it over and over.

"I was working on a song for (second album) Ekstasis and it was inspired by a scene in Gigi but it didn't really fit on Ekstasis, because it was this very specific scenario, so I figured, I need to do a whole record about this. So it wasn't really the plan to make a concept album, it just kind of happened."

'It got to the point where I didn't want to take on every single role. I still wrote and co-produced it and had a lot of control.'

The West Australian

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