Va­lerie June on all the in­flu­ences that went into mak­ing the crit­i­cally ac­claimed soul singer’s new al­bum, The Or­der of Time, out now. She wrote it over a pe­riod of 12 years, so, yeah, there’s a lot.

ELLE (Canada) - - Radar -

ON HER BOOK­SHELF “I of­ten read Wen­dell Berry for in­spi­ra­tion. He’s an amaz­ing writer from Ken­tucky. I like read­ing chil­dren’s books, like The Vel­veteen Rab­bit, be­cause I need to be re­minded to live in a state of won­der about the world ver­sus feel­ing like I know what the world is just be­cause I’m 35.”

WHERE SHE WAS LIV­ING “After my first mar­riage ended, I used to clean houses. I took care of this man­sion over on Park Av­enue [in Mem­phis], and I lived be­hind it in the car­riage house. Then I moved over to Har­vard Av­enue; that’s when I re­ceived ‘The Front Door.’ It was a time when I was dream­ing a lot, and I got that song in the morn­ing hour, right as I was wak­ing up.”

WHAT SHE WAS EAT­ING “When I got the first part of ‘As­tral Plane,’ I was cook­ing din­ner. I’d just started sautéing the onions, get­ting them nice and caramelized. It’s funny be­cause an onion is a very good anal­ogy for that song—it’s about peel­ing back the lay­ers and get­ting to the heart of some­thing, to the light in­side.”

WHO SHE WAS THINK­ING OF “The song ‘ Love You Once Made’ re­minds me of my father, even though I wasn’t think­ing about him when I wrote it. We re­cently lost him, and now I go back in my mind and re­mem­ber ev­ery lit­tle thing he did. We were mak­ing this beau­ti­ful world of love in our fam­ily, even when the elec­tric­ity bill wasn’t paid and we had to go with­out.” h


“I strongly iden­tify with women in music, like Nina Si­mone, Maria Cal­las, Chrissie Hynde, Peaches, Amy Mil­lan, Tanya Ta­gaq and Leah Fay. Pro­fes­sion­ally, I haven’t had that many women to look up to. There are a few prom­i­nent women run­ning restau­rants, but my way of do­ing it, less de­murely per­haps, of­ten feels to me like charg­ing through burn­ing un­der­brush at top speed.”


“We are pit­ted against each other from a young age: Who’s the pret­ti­est? Who gets the most at­ten­tion from boys? It’s so in­grained that I’m con­stantly check­ing my­self, mak­ing sure I’m not judg­ing other women too harshly for qual­i­ties I’d over­look in men.”


“TWIT­TER 4EVER! Face­book never! I love the brevity and quick­ness of Twit­ter. I can scroll through my feed for a few min­utes and be caught up in each new hor­ri­fy­ing news event. Maybe Trump will be im­peached by the time this runs, or maybe we’ll all be dead....”


“I am a con­sum­mate con­sumer. I al­ways have mul­ti­ple tabs open and too many books on the go. I get bored eas­ily and need con­stant stim­u­la­tion, much like a child. I think sake (you re­ally do need a great palate to ap­pre­ci­ate its nu­ances) will make a splash in the next few years in a more main­stream way. Also, I’m gonna open an all-na­cho restau­rant be­fore I die. The veg­gie na­chos from Sneaky Dee’s [in Toronto] are the best, but even bad na­chos are still pretty good. Some­times I get 7-Eleven ‘ na­chos’— hot pep­pers and black olives from the top­pings bar ap­plied lib­er­ally, all smoth­ered in na­cho cheese sauce. DO NOT JUDGE ME.”

Warn­ing: Do not start Agg’s mem­oir be­fore at­tempt­ing to go out/make din­ner/ do any chores. You won’t be able to stop read­ing.

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