Valerie June’s year: meditations, activism + one of the “Best Songs of 2020”

It had been nearly four years since Brooklyn-via-Memphis singer Valerie June put out original music, but 2020 saw the “true star in the making” (Okayplayer) return to music as she ramps up for an exciting 2021. Last month, June teased a new 2021 project by releasing a 3-song suite (“Stay” / “Stay Meditation” / “You And I”) that was immediately met with high praise from the likes of The New York Times (which named it one of their Best Songs of 2020), Rolling Stone (pinched vocal and luxurious ambiance… cinematic and uplifting), Essence (A magical, country-soul offering) and more.

2020 has definitely been a trying year for a lot of people, especially marginalized communities. June, as a Black woman, was uniquely affected and parts of that struggle seeped into her as an artist. In an effort to increase voter turnout at the polls and support the fight against voter disenfranchisement, Valerie June curated the first-ever “Voice Your Vote”? virtual concert inspired by Junes Young, Gifted, & Black Spotify playlist and the spirit of late musician and civil rights activist Nina Simone. The concert featured a diverse catalogue of Black musicians, spanning generations and genres from Folk and Rock, to R&B and Hip-Hop, including Black Pumas, Brittany Howard, Jon Batiste, Kandace Springs, Rhiannon Giddens, Ruth B, and more.

Valerie June also led viewers on a special meditation, guided by herself, and a conversation on the stories/inspiration behind her new music. Viewers were able to get a sneak peek into the world of Valerie June and her unique creative process. Check out one of her other guided meditation she did a few weeks ago alongside a stripped-back performance of the new single.