Spotlight: Valerie June

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It’s hard to remember the hazy day’s of summer when you’re holed up in bed, surrounded by various unread books, resisting the urge to put the heating on whilst not quite being able to muster the motivation to haul ass yourself to the library.

That’s right folks, essay season is here; thankfully it’s not here to stay.

If you’re reading this, well done, at least your procrastination is less destructive than my Ebay habit. Let’s face it you’re not going to start reading that book anytime sooner, there’s no way you can ever keep up with your reading list so you may as well put those peepers to good use and have a butchers of Tess Hokin’s interview with up and coming soul sensation Valerie June. Disclaimer: GUM accept no responsibility for you blowing the dregs of your loan on ticket for Bestival 2013…

With Southern Belle charm and an resonating, unexpected voice, Valerie June practically glows in an aura of ‘Next-Big-Thing-ness’. She is staggeringly glamorous, with a head full of massive ringlets of dreadlocks and a beaming white smile, yet completely down to earth, chatting away in a Southern drawl you can’t help but find endearing. After years of menial jobs and selling records out of the back of her car, June is finally about to release her first album for a record label. We caught up with her just before her debut UK performance at Bestival, and can only say that you can expect to hear a whole lot more from this unique and talented musician.

How have you been finding the UK and Bestival so far? 

It’s been great so far, this is my first time here so it’s really different, the people here are so fearless in their fashion sense- I love it! I’ve been travelling all over and [Bestival] is incredible. It’s like some kinda magical fairyland.

Are you missing any comforts from home?

Just my man and my kitchen- that’s all I need. I love to cook the melodies to my songs often come to me while cooking.

How would you describe your music?

I like to call it ‘organic moonshine roots music’, but it’s a mix of things, and its all obviously really influenced from growing up in Tennesee, and from travelling as well. I’m always writing: in airports, at friends’ houses, whenever, wherever! I wrote the song ‘Somebody to Love’ when I was in Budapest earlier this year.

So do you think you’ll draw inspiration from your UK trip into your music?

Oh definitely, I’m already so inspired and I just got here!

You’ve been working on your debut album with The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach who co-wrote some of your songs with you. What was that like? Were you intimidated to work with such an established musician?

I was terrified at first, because I knew who he was obviously, but he is such a down to earth guy, he’s just like any normal guy I know, except ridiculously talented. It was so easy working with him…Everything just came naturally.

Your hair is pretty impressive- is it hard to maintain?

It’s the easiest thing in the world- if it was any other way, I don’t think I could cope! I just get up and go, and I need my man to help me wash it every couple of weeks. It’s a lotta hair so you need man hands to squeeze that shampoo out!

So what’s on the cards for the future?

 Well right now I’m just promoting the album- cause you can’t just release an album without going out there and letting people know!- and I’m also involved in making the artwork, and then…who knows!

Valerie June’s debut single Workin’ Woman Blues is due out in November on Sunday Best. Pushin’ Against a Stone is due out in May 2013.

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