Biography: Valerie defines her music as “organic moonshine roots music” in an attempt to prevent her sound from being pigeonholed into any one specific genre. It not only reflects the vast number of musical influences she has had in her own life, but the desire for each listener to take away their own unique perspective from her performances.
Born and raised in small town Tennessee, Valerie June began singing at a young age, mimicking the voices she heard while attending church with her parents. Her experience working in the music industry began at young age as well. In addition to working in construction, Valerie’s father worked as a promoter for local gospel and R&B acts.
Valerie officially began her music career at the age of 19 with her husband at the time, forming the band Bella Sun. Bella Sun released one album (No Crystal Stair) before the marriage ended and the two went their separate ways. Her early solo career found her playing primarily on street corners and in subway stations. It was in this period when she took up the banjo and ukelele. Eventually, she ended up in Memphis, and began garnering attention for her soulful song and powerful performances. In 2009, she was one of several artists featured on MTV's $5 Cover (see video below) which followed the lives of musicians struggling to find balance between their personal lives and their budding music careers.
Initially, Valerie shyed away from signing with a record label for fear of losing creative control of her work. She self released two albums, The Way Of The Weeping Willow and Mountain Of Rose Quartz. She was invited into the studio by Old Crow Medicine Show to record Valerie June & the Tennessee Express. June’s first with a record label, Pushin' Against A Stone, was co-produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, and released in August of 2013. The album was a critical success, appearing of several top album lists. From The Independent, "It's music that slips between the generic niches favoured by broadcasters; but isn't that exactly where the most interesting music comes from?"
Genre: Blues, Folk, Soul, Gospel
Similar Artists: Gillian Welch, Gary Clark Jr., Iris DeMent