Mysticism and spirituality have always been essential elements in Valerie June’s artistry, but with the release of The Moon And Stars: Prescriptions For Dreamers, and her forthcoming book of poetry and illustrations, Maps For The Modern World, her star continues to soar. And even though she’s been working nonstop during the promotion of her new album, she was gracious enough to answer some questions from KXT via e-mail:
Hi there, Valerie June! Congratulations on your brilliant new album, and thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions! So here we go:
With dreams working as the driving theme of your new album, do you keep a dream journal?
I write dreams in my journal but don’t keep a separate journal just for dreams. The record is relating to aspirational dreams, hopes, and wishes. (Example: Dr. King’s Dream) Each person has a dream at some point in their lives…of love, career, or even a dream for humanity like Dr. King. I find art to be enriching for my dreamer’s journey. Other creatives sharing their art has been a prescription for me to stay uplifted on my journey, so I wanted to share my version of musical prescriptions in hopes of doing the same for my listeners.
Have you ever worked with a dream interpreter? Or do you prefer to seek the answers on your own?
I prefer to seek answers on my own and frequent the online dream interpretation sites when I really have an unanswered question.
Hearing your voice paired up with the legendary Carla Thomas on “Call Me A Fool” and “African Proverb” was an absolute treat for the ears, and the heart. Had y’all met prior to working together?
No, we had never met. It was such a treat to spend the day with her! She’s my fairy-godmother!
As a fan, your knack for finding the joy in the wonders of love, nature, and the unseen shines through so clearly in your music, and in your guided meditations. What keeps you spiritually enriched? And pardon the pun, but what’s your prescription for getting back on track on the days when that inspiration’s not there?
I have what I call ‘pray days’ where I just keep a simple mantra on repeat as I go throughout the day when everything seems tough and crappy. Just a simple repetition of ‘thank you for this life,’ as I wash dishes, shower, fold clothes, or water plants, is enough to shift my energy from focusing on the heaviness to being in the present and waiting for the next gift of life. Presents are in the present! Besides that, dancing even if it’s just for 2 songs, baths, books, gardening, and walking meditations. I think it’s good to have at least 5-10 ten-minute practices that can be done to shift energy. The practices can be anything delightful that makes you appreciate living and helps you to feel joyful.
Tell us about your new book, Maps For The Modern World?
Wow! I’m so excited to share my very first book. Maps For The Modern World is a collection of insights, lyrical poems, and original illustrations about cultivating community, awareness, and harmony with our surroundings as we move fearlessly toward our dreams. It’s full of playful little seeds of light!
What are your plans for once we’re all able to travel and venture back out into the world?
I plan to go visit Gran! So many elderly people haven’t been able to see family members during this pandemic. We missed our huge family gathering for her birthday last year, so I’d like to make that up.