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'I'm a Living Being, and Time Hasn't Stopped:' Valerie June on Her Approach to Music

Danny Clinch
Concord Music Group

In the middle of 2017’s sonic playing field is singer-songwriter Valerie June, who has carved a sacred space for roots music. June’s deep appreciation for the great artists that preceded her, like Jimi Hendrix and Andy Warhol, fuel her openness to song, collaboration and connection.

June's lovely Southern drawl hints at her own roots. Born and raised in Tennessee, June found songs came to her in the meditative routines of her everyday life. With an EP, three albums under her belt and a fourth one on the way, June says this philosophy hasn't changed a bit.

"What matters when I'm making music, is that I'm doing things in my life, like gardening, or cooking or walking somewhere. Those things make it where I'm open to receiving songs," she says.

Credit Danny Clinch / Concord Music Group

Though she draws inspiration from previous artists, June doesn't let previous expectations hold her music prisoner.

“I’m diving into the past and respecting it, but also taking and going into the future of what I am supposed to do here," she says. "I’m not supposed to reach into the roots only, I’m supposed to go elsewhere because I’m a living being, and time hasn’t stopped.”

June knows Milwaukee well from her work with Lancaster Elementary School through the arts education program, Turnaround Arts. She's meeting with Lancaster Elementary students at her sound check before she takes the stage in Milwaukee at Turner Hall Ballroom Tuesday night.

June's forthcoming album, The Order of Time, comes out on March 10th.

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