June in 2013
|Birth name||Valerie June Hockett|
January 10, 1982 |
Jackson, Tennessee, United States
|Origin||Memphis, Tennessee, United states|
|Genres||Americana, Folk, blues, soul, gospel, bluegrass|
|Occupation(s)||Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist|
|Instruments||Guitar, banjo, ukulele|
|Years active||Early 2000sâ€“present|
|Labels||Sunday Best (UK/Europe); Concord Music Group (North America)|
|Associated acts||Bella Sun, The Wandering|
When you listen to my music, you hear that there are all these voices going on in different parts of the song. That's because I was always around so many voices in church.
I am a boring loner. I enjoy Friday nights at home in my rocking chair with no arms, rocking and relaxing. It's not uncommon for Netflix to be involved. Records are a possibility, but most of it is spent in silence.
I was working like a dog as a housekeeper, barista, nanny, cook, so I could save enough money to really sit with my instruments. Whenever I had 20 minutes, I would practice a new chord or write a new verse.
I'm not really into alternative country – I'm into Patsy Cline, who lived down the street from where I lived, and old Dolly Parton records, Kitty Wells and that old stuff. I like country music. I also like Eric Church, who has a great new sound but also holds onto that old sound.
Amalgamation is a good word that I like to use – musically and in every way.
The challenge is how strange and different my voice sounds, so I have tried to sound like other people and tried to be something I wasn't. I have tried to be a soul singer because someone else thought that a good idea. Not because I did.
I just let the songs tell me what to do – they are my guides, and they are the boss. So I am subservient to the songs, and I let them tell me what to do. I don't judge them; I just write whatever comes to me.
I don't care if you're Muslim or Christian or Buddhist or whatever your religion is, when you listen to a spiritual song and you really open your heart, you can feel it. You can feel the message of it. Just a simple story.
If I have something inside me that I want to get out, I'll just beat it out on the banjo right then and there.
My signature fragrance would be herbal – basil mixed with rosemary and coriander. Some big stars have got perfume lines that smell really bad. They've got it all wrong.
Every writer writes in different ways, and so some write the music first, while others write the lyrics first, and some write while they are doing other things, and it is just nice to see how other writers are writing.
As soon as I could talk, I was bellowing at the top of my lungs. My parents couldn't get over how weird I sounded – like an old man when I was just a toddler! But no one was gonna shut me up.
My music confuses people because they think I will sound a certain way because I look a certain way with the dreads.
When I was really little, I loved Whitney Houston. I thought she was the prettiest thing in the world.
I try to write down every song that comes to me, even though I know that every song that comes to me isn't a song that I need to sing.
When I was writing 'Shotgun,' it's one of the first songs that's come to me as an image.
It is such a gift to be able to write songs in general, but when you can share it with somebody, it is just such a pleasure. It is such a happy moment when you finish a song, and you are just like, 'Wow – that was great.'
When I first moved to New York, I was still returning to Tennessee every few months to perform.
Saturdays are set for antique shops. Williamsburg in Brooklyn has some good ones. I get in there and start meddling around with dusty boxes and rickety, worn-in stuff. I like it when I find something with someone else's name on it.
When I was teenager, Britney Spears was it – that was the pop world that was happening, and I knew I wasn't in it.
I met PJ Harvey when I was in England, and the first thing I want to do when I meet a songwriter I admire is to ask them how do they receive songs.
When I was 15, I begged my grandfather to give me this guitar he'd always had in the back of his closet. I promised him I'd learn to play it, but I never did. Then my grandfather died, and I felt so guilty. So I started playing.
As I try to get around with a guitar, a banjo and a suitcase of high heels and dresses, I treasure that little ukulele.
I like performing live more than anything. I get a little bit afraid in the studio.
My voice is who I am, who I was when I was 3, and who I am going to be when I am 90 years old. When I hit the stage and people do not know who I am, they automatically assume, before I open my mouth, I am going to sing a Bob Marley song!
I've been busy and need to slow my little tail down and sit and meditate somewhere. I do my walking meditations every day, but just to sit still. Just to be in one place and just to be quiet.
I grew my dreadlocks 12 years ago because they give me the freedom to roll out of bed and not spend hours on my woolly, thick hair. I get tons of dropped jaws and compliments, so I reckon folks like them all right.
One day, when we were coming back from school, we saw this big cloud of smoke coming up, and all these fire-trucks in the yard. The garage was burning down. I was 14, and we'd lost everything.
I'm constantly being inspired by the old days and taking things from the past and allowing them to lift me up where I am now.
I paid my dues. I have crawled to gigs. I have served people coffee. I worked hard selling all these records out the back of my car. Girl, I'm ready to sell one the real way now.
I am always excited about playing in front of live audiences because I really enjoy it, for the most part.
My number one style requirement is to have fun getting dressed. Nothing is too old, expensive, cheap, cute or ugly for me.