Valerie June Appears On Maggie Rose’s ‘Salute The Songbird’ Podcast

Valerie discussed her musical journey, new album, the importance of dreamers and more.

By Nate Todd Aug 3, 2021 3:42 pm PDT

Valerie June spoke with Maggie Rose on the latest episode of Rose’s Osiris Media podcast Salute The Songbird With Maggie Rose. The Tennessee-based singer-songwriters talk about how the Church Of Christ influenced June’s music growing up as well as Valerie’s new album The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers and more.

The discussion begins with June talking about moving to Memphis from Jackson, Tennessee at 19 and hearing music she grew up singing in the Church of Christ in a more secular setting and with instruments.

“What happened when I moved to Memphis,” Valerie said, “was that I would hear the songs being sung by Mississippi John Hurt and Carter Family and people like that from other musicians, they’d just be playing that music around town, the blues and stuff, on the radio and when you’d go to get a coffee, they’re playing this kind of music. And I knew the songs so well from the church songbook like ‘Farther Along’ or ‘Keep On The Sunny Side Of Life,’ we sang those in Church Of Christ. So whenever I heard them with instruments, I lost my mind. ‘Oh my God I gotta learn how to play an instrument!’”

Valerie went on to explain how in the Church of Christ there were no instruments, just singing, and she talks about how that helped her develop her voice. Maggie also asked Valerie about how she learned to play the many instruments she has in her repertoire including guitar, banjo, ukelele and more.

“The instruments, they have to follow my voice,” Valerie said. “I tried to learn traditionally, I tried to do it the way do singing, but I can’t because I’m not natural at the instruments. I’m more natural as a singer. So with the instruments, I have to play to my voice. So during the pandemic was the first time in my life I actually had a time to sit and try to learn scales on the instruments. But other than that I got a chord book, learned some chords, and I matched the chords to my voice.”

Valerie and Maggie also discuss Valerie’s new album, The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers, co-produced by Jack Splash (Kendrick Lamar). The singer-songwriters chat about the visualizers June had done for the album and Valerie offers some fascinating insights into songs and the songwriting process.

June also tells the story of how she met The Memphis Queen Of Soul Carla Thomas, who recites an African proverb prefacing the single “Call Me A Fool,” which Thomas also sings backing vocals on. Additionally, Valerie gives a wonderful description of what it means to be a dreamer and the importance of dreamers. “Dreamers are the only thing’s gonna save this shit,” she said. “Dreamers, they’re the only ones.”

Listen to Maggie Rose’s Salute The Songbird podcast with Valerie June below:

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