INTERVIEW: VALERIE JUNE
photos / Jonathan Fasulo
styling / /Dani Morales
makeup / Raissa Flowers @Kreative Kommune
story / Maria Elena
Whether we like it or not, the human race tends to put people in a box so we can easily identify them. It starts with simple physical characteristics – like skin color, height, size, or whether they wear glasses or not. We then dig a little deeper to define them by occupation, relationship status, and a few shallow personality traits.
So when someone asks you if you remember meeting Amber McKinnon from the Halloween party, you can ask, “Oh, is that the artsy barista that’s dating Bryan from accounting? She’s kind of tall, right?”
However, the human soul is complex. It’s ever-changing, it’s magical, and it should never be confined to a box. Unfortunately, the human mind doesn’t have enough room to understand the complexity of each and every soul they come across. This especially includes individuals in the public eye, such as musicians.
For some peculiar reason, the world has a very hard time with artists that live between several genres. Whether it be Bob Dylan existing between folk and rock, Kate Nash jammin’ her way somewhere between pop and punk, or Beyonce experimenting with everything from R&B, country, to rock – listeners have a very difficult time getting their minds around it.
Valerie June, however, prefers to create her music for those who listen with open minds and open hearts instead of the preconceived notion the media creates for them.
“It is very common with music marketing for people to use genre terms to describe an artist,” says June. “It’s always more fun to me when people come with open minds and listen to music with their hearts instead of only hearing the surface that can be painted by media. The best times I’ve had have been the times when a person comes up after a show and says they read about my music, but then they go on to share their personal description for my sound. Everyone who likes my tunes has a totally different description than the person next to them at the show.”
June’s newest release, The Order of Time, takes you on a soulful journey through time. The entire record is nothing short of eclectic and nowhere near calculated. You get a little bit of R&B, a whole lot of blues, a sprinkle of folk and soul, and just a dash of country. In a much more real sense, it’s indefinable.
Throughout The Order Of Time, the iridescent 35-year-old’s bright voice captivates every part of you. You’ll dance on the astral plane, heal parts of you you didn’t know needed to be healed, and find love in all of its beautiful forms.
Blue dress by Alexandra NamRing’s and Earrings Valerie’s ownTights Valerie’s own Shoes Sorelle by FDL
The 12-track album starts off with “Long Lonely Road,” which will make you feel like you’re contemplatively cruising through June’s hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. The sonic treasure then ends with “Got Soul,” an optimistic tune that’ll transport you straight to the ‘70s with your closest comrades.
Some of June’s lyrics come to her in dreams while others come to her in where’d you least expect them to the bath! “Most of my fans don’t know that I consider my bathtub to be my office,” says June. “It really is the best work place!”
In “Astral Plane,” June speaks on something we all struggle with spiritually: shining our unique light in a world that uses all of its power to diminish it.
The dreamy ballad will make you feel like you’re having an out-of-body experience. “Is there a way? / For you to shine / Without fear / From other worlds / But you can’t say / What keeps you here.”
When June feels like the physical world distracts her from her inner light, she dances like nobody’s watching.
“When the outer world has my head spinning and distracts me from my light, I have several activities that can help shift my focus back to the inside. Dancing is one of them! I just turn the music up and dance for ten to thirty minutes,” she says. “I find that after thirty minutes have passed, then I’m more in alignment with my own true path again. The worries just don’t seem so large. I have to do this every day because it’s constant. One minute all is well. The next minute I’m in a panic about something or another. If you think about it, the outer world is constantly programming us to think it’s way. It’s constant. So why shouldn’t our practice shift back to our inner light be just as constant?”
While most musicians tend to be put into a box without their consent, we couldn’t tie down Valerie June if we tried. Her inner light shines way too bright for this world.
Dress by Sarah Swann Leather vest by Sarah Swann Necklace by Monica Varela Earrings by M.Spring Studio
Dress by Gwen Salakaia Necklace by Cos Rings Valerie’s own