Valerie June is an outrageously talented singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from the States. Amelia Bronger was lucky enough to spend some time with her on her latest UK tour.
Valerie June is wearing jewel covered sunglasses and crystal rings. She seems incredibly cool, calm and collected. And, as the interview goes on, it becomes clear that she is, indeed, all those things – and more.
What would you say is your favourite song to perform and why?
I guess Somebody to Love, because a lot of people know the song and they sing along and it’s just a sweet song.
Is that also the one you are most proud of?
No, I’m proud of all of them. They’re like my children; I can’t say I’m more proud of one than I am the other, because they’d get jealous of each other–and I’d be a bad mum.
What is your creative process when writing these songs?
Every song is different, most of them come with lyrics first and a melody, so I sing what I hear. I hear a voice singing to me and I sing what the voice sings. I try to sing it in a way that is similar to the way that I heard it. I usually just follow these voices and they tell me what to do.
You come across as being quite wise, do you have any words of wisdom for the readers?
I feel like everyone has an individual voice and light and purpose in this world, and everything gets fuzzy when we look outside ourselves for someone else to pattern our footsteps. We can have guidance, but we always have to go back inside ourselves and trust our inner light and trust our path and voice and know that this is something that nobody else has ever done before or will do.
So when you’re looking for inspiration is that what you go for, your own world and what is happening immediately around you?
I have to get the inspiration by getting out there, going to a museum, or reading a story, or hearing a friend tell me something, or watching the sunset. Then, I have to go back inside, process it, and work with it.
How does it make you feel to know that you’ve inspired other females? How does it make you feel to be that light?
Super grateful. My favourite females that I look up to are my grandmother, who’s 91, my mum, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Nora Jones.
I just think that they are women who shine as brightly as they possibly can. When you read their stories and learn about them, at any time they could have fallen into their own doubt, or into the world’s projections of them. But they just get up every day and say, No, I came to earth to be the best I can be and do it for me, and by doing it for me, I’m doing it for other people. We all have these moments where we flicker. No light can stay on all the time. So, in that time, there are other women who can lift you up.