Shortly after her birth Zahra was adopted by a Dutch couple. She grew up in Bussum, North Holland. Her adoptive mother died when Julia was eight years old.
As a teenager she played actively in a hockey team in her home country. She got her first guitar as a little girl and started singing at the age of 13. She took guitar lessons and sang as a teenager in the band of her brother, who was two years older and sat at the drums.
First public appearances with guitar and piano followed. Julia van der Toorn studied at the University of Arts in Utrecht, but interrupted her studies in 2013 when she won The Voice of Holland, in order to devote herself actively to her music career.