Welcome to “Six Questions With…,” a series of interviews with emerging artists, musicians, and bands focusing on the music scene and how they live within it. It started as a quick, fun project, but has quickly gained serious interest, so we’re making this a permanent feature on the site. Over time, the questions may change, but the sentiment will stay intact. This is a way for independent artists to be discovered by new fans on a global scale.
Within in each post, you will find all of their social media links, and also either a link to their music, or the ability to stream at least one of their tracks or videos, depending on the availability.
We hope you enjoy this series, and if you know anyone that might be interested in being part of it, please have them reach out to us for more information.
Next in the hot seat is New York-based indie art-pop artist June Junior. We have not yet had the privilege to cover June Junior here on the pages of Indie Minded, so it is great to get to know her. If you’re not familiar with her, sit back and enjoy! This is what is great about this series – the discovery of new music.
For those who may not be familiar, please tell us about your music: the type of music you play, where you are from, and how you got started?
Hi! My name is June Junior and I make pop music. Music is this weird thing I’ve always been running away from as a creative practice. It’s like music was always telling me I had to express myself through it as a medium and I’ve always been like, ‘no, I’m gonna do something else!’ My friends, boyfriends, etc have always been musicians but I’ve always held myself apart and pursued creativity in other outlets. I originally was a painter but painting can be a very solo almost masturbatory practice and I really wanted to collaborate with people so I started working in video production. The older I got the more I was bothered by the fact that I couldn’t express myself through music so I started picking up the guitar, started making sounds with it. I kept with my production career doing art for commercials and music videos. I’ve worked on more music videos than I want to even know. Finally, this past year or so I lost sight of what I was pursuing in my career, it felt like a career, something I only did for money, the passion was gone. Then I went through an incredible heartbreak and left my partner, left my home, left my career. I had no idea who I was anymore without all these things. When I started putting myself back together, music was the glue that held me, put me back in place. It was like I couldn’t breathe without writing songs and I had no idea how much all the other things in my life had allowed me to live without something that became so essential to survival. Now I can’t even imagine life without songwriting. I honestly don’t know how I lived before.
As an artist, how do you define success?
As an Asian American woman who is trying to break into the music business, the idea of success for me often feels political. Growing up I never saw people who looked like me in the entertainment business- on tv shows, on the radio- there were so few Asian women that it basically approached zero. Living in that kind of world really must have subconsciously, or consciously made me believe that being a visible face in the entertainment industry was not a legitimate way for me to have a career. So for me, even making pop music feels radical, it feels subversive. In America, we continue to live in a world where Asian women are still the least represented group in the media by proportion, that’s so crazy to me! I want to live in a future where we truly celebrate a diversity of ideas, not just pay lip service to it, where we understand that heartbreak and joy and love are universal, that they are feelings we all experience and we should all express. Music is like the ultimate international language, music is the way we all start to understand each other. Pop music is for everyone and for me, that is radical. Helping to change these perceptions about what a pop musician looks like in America, that will be how I define success.
What do you find to be your greatest struggle when it comes to the music business?
My biggest struggle so far has been internal, defining myself and defining what exactly I want to sound like, what the ‘brand’ is. I don’t want to play one kind of pop music– I want to do indie pop but I also wanna make country and rap and industrial and have a post punk band. As a new artist though it’s kind of important to stick to one lane and do it well so that’s been a challenge for me, remembering to stick to one thing at a time. I mean, I really am the ultimate gemini, I want to do everything.
If you could only play ONE of your songs for the rest of your career, which one would it be?
Wow, I’m a new artist and my current discography that i’m sharing is extremely limited but I’ve probably in the past 8 months written at least 40 songs so i’m already a little overwhelmed by all of them. I would say that I have a special place in my heart for the song I wrote on my birthday, which I hope to share with everyone very soon. Its called “u believed’ and I was feeling pretty low that day, it was a way for me to maybe pat myself on the back so anytime I’m feeling low it always picks me up, I have a feeling it’s gonna be able to do that for me forever. Its also a rare example of one of my songs that has nothing to do with heartbreak or love and mostly about self love so that’s something that makes it stand out for me.
We don’t have that one, so take a look at “Teenage Love.”
Who do you consider your greatest influences?
Career wise and music wise i see M.I.A. as being a huge influence, like me she came from a video production background and then picked up a synthesizer and started making songs. For me the guitar game first, but I am so inspired by people who come to music as a second career, that the stereotype of the musician as a young bright flame that is extinguished quickly is just a stereotype. Grimes is another huge influence because she also comes to music from an art background. Both of these women make the creative decisions in their music while still collaborating, still working with people but keeping their creative integrity intact. They both make really catchy songs that people want to move their body to but also stay vital and creative, that is really inspiring to me. Taylor Swift is also a huge role model in her songwriting prowess and ability to manage her career as she changed genres. I feel like Taylor Swift sometimes, if she were broke, asian and did too much acid.
Outside of music, what do you like to do that you feel contributes to the creativity that you tap into for your music?
My entire life, music has been something I’ve always been drawn to but always ran away from as a source of creative expression. So for me, I’ve always been expressing myself creatively but mostly outside of music. What I love now about making music, about it being my creative outlet, is that I also get to use my other creative talents. I directed my music video, edited it, did wardrobe, props etc so being able to make this thing, build it from the ground up, the sound the image the entire vibe, that’s so important to me, that’s so amazing for me. The fact that we live in a world where all the means of production to make a music career are so cheap and easy to access is so incredible. We live in a golden age of music and video production in the sense that anyone can get into it, anyone can have the means to access it on a most basic level. You can shoot 4k video and you can write and mix a song entirely on your iphone! This little computer that almost everyone now owns, how amazing is that. I think we are going to see a lot of really vital creative stuff coming out in the next decade, I am really excited to be living in this time and to be able to contribute to it creatively.