Julia Shammas Holter (born December 18, 1984) is an American singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist based in Los Angeles. A CalArts graduate, she released her first studio album, Tragedy, in 2011. A second album, Ekstasis, followed in 2012. Holter also collaborates with other musicians including Nite Jewel and Linda Perhacs.
Holter, a Los Angeles native, grew up in a musical family. Her father plays guitar and once performed with Pete Seeger. Her mother, Carole Shammas, is a prominent academic and currently holds the John R. Hubbard Chair in History at the University of Southern California. Besides playing and recording music, Holter tutors students and works with a nonprofit organization for teenagers in South Central Los Angeles. After graduating from CalArts, where she studied composition, Holter contributed songs to multiple compilation albums in 2008. She performed in the LA Road Concert with the Open Academy Youth Orchestra on Washington Boulevard in 2009. The following year she began playing with Linda Perhacs' band. In 2010, she released a CD-R titled Celebration and a collection of live recordings.
Her debut studio album, Tragedy, was released in August 2011 on Leaving Records. Inspired by Euripides' Greek play Hippolytus, the album received generally favorable reviews and was named one of NPR's "Best Outer Sound Albums Of 2011".
Holter released a second album, Ekstasis, in March 2012 on the RVNG label. The album drew comparisons to works by such artists as Laurie Anderson, Julianna Barwick, Kate Bush, Joanna Newsom, Grouper, and Stereolab, and received mostly positive reviews. Holter spent three years making the album, whose title comes from the Greek word meaning "outside of oneself." The music video for album track "Moni Mon Amie", directed by Yelena Zhelezov, was also released in March.
In addition to collaborating with other California-based musicians like Nite Jewel (Ramona Gonzalez), Holter is planning her third album, tentatively titled Gigi. Unlike her first two albums, which were recorded mostly alone in her bedroom, Holter hopes to record Gigi with an ensemble of musicians.