Corpus Christi, Texas
With her delicate yet commanding vocals, Julie Mintz has a rare ability to turn the most nuanced of feelings into songs that captivate. On her forthcoming full-length debut, the L.A.-based singer/songwriter muses on longing and disillusionment and romantic confusion, an exploration made all the more enthralling by her moody and luminous take on Gothic Americana. But in choosing a title for the album, Mintz landed on Abandon All Hope of Fruition—a phrase that speaks to the transformative power in trading yearning for acceptance.
“If you take it at face value, it might sound hopeless, but it’s actually very freeing,” says Mintz, noting that the title refers to a passage from American Tibetan Buddhist Pema Chödrön’s classic book When Things Fall Apart. “It’s about letting go of the hope that things are going to be different in the future, and moving toward an appreciation of where you are right now. Giving the album that title felt like a good way to remind myself of where to put my attention going forward.”
Abandon All Hope of Fruition follows Mintz’s quietly stunning debut EP The Thin Veil, a 2015 release produced by Moby (whose live band she joined as a background vocalist and keyboardist in 2011). In bringing the album to life, Mintz teamed up with producer David Jerkovich and musicians like Ben Peeler (a pedal steel guitarist known for his work with Father John Misty, Dawes, and Shelby Lynne), Tripp Beam (Moby’s longtime drummer), and Mindy Jones (a singer who joined Mintz in creating the radiant harmonies threaded throughout the songs).
Though it was mostly made at Jerkovich’s Balboa Recording Studio in the Glassell Park area of L.A., Abandon All Hope of Fruition also includes a Moby-produced rendition of “The Sorrow Tree”—a track from the electronic-music pioneer’s most recent album, Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt. In a departure from the original version (which featured Mintz as the singer), her update of “The Sorrow Tree” unfolds as an acoustic slow-burner centered on her hypnotic and haunting vocal work. “It’s funny because even though I wasn’t there when Moby wrote that song, it completely fits with so many of the themes I tend to write about,” says Mintz. “That idea of mournfully waiting for a lost love is very much connected to the other songs on this album.’
Born and raised in the South Texas city of Corpus Christi, Mintz grew up on the bittersweet balladry of classic country artists. “My dad loved Patsy Cline—her greatest-hits album was always playing when I was a kid, so now my ear naturally goes to that old-school-country chord progression and the melody that comes along with it,” says Mintz. Learning to play piano as a little girl and later picking up guitar as well, Mintz also held true to country’s emotional tradition and gravitated toward “sad songs about love and heartache” as she began crafting her own material. While attending Emory University she studied neuroscience and behavioral biology, ultimately deciding to forgo medical school in favor of pursuing her music career. Still, Mintz points out that both fields of study have deeply informed her approach to songwriting. “I’ve always had this desire to understand the inner workings of my mind and other people’s minds, and that’s so much of what I’m doing with my songs—just trying to work out those curiosities,” she says. Along with releasing The Thin Veil, Mintz has spent much of the past few years on the road with Moby, recently joining him onstage at the Hollywood Bowl for a show presented by legendary English DJ Pete Tong, in addition to appearing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Now gearing up to join Moby for his debut performance with Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Philharmonic in October, Mintz is planning a summer release for Abandon All Hope of Fruition.