Julien Baker’s impressive rise has been fast and totally deserved. Her debut LP, Sprained Ankle, is one of the most heartbreaking and human albums that came out last year, and since its release she’s been touring nonstop. Baker’s live performance is nothing short of remarkable; I saw her open for El Vy shortly before Sprained Ankle came out, and though it was apparent that most people in the audience were unfamiliar with her music, the considerable crowd in Bowery Ballroom stood and watched, dead silent, listening. She got an encore that night, as I’m sure she has on many occasions since. We’ve heard her cover Elliott Smith, Jawbreaker, Death Cab For Cutie, and today a video of her performing Bruce Springsteen’s “Badlands” backstage at the Newport Folk Festival surfaced. She performed the song for MyMusicRx, an organization that travels to concerts and music festivals to shoot footage of artists performing triumphant songs. The program is helmed by the Children’s Cancer Association, and their aim is to “deliver the healing power of music to children and teens facing cancer and other serious illnesses.” Baker said the following about Springsteen’s song before she performed it:
It’s a song that always makes me feel better…. It’s about not being ashamed to be glad you’re alive, and being proud to do your best in an unforgiving world… being content with the things you can do, not waiting for opportunities to visit you but creating them in small ways and celebrating small victories.
Watch Baker’s rendition below and read our interview with her here.