Interview with Kimberly June

Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective. As I told ‘The Tennessean’ in 2008, “since moving to Nashville twenty-five years ago, I have met people whose lives do not remotely reflect the caricature of what many outside our city presume to be a ‘Nashvillian’ or the Nashville experience. “Underground Nashville” thus explores the soul of the city, not its surface—offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

Dave Carew

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Interview with Aspiring Singer/Songwriter Kimberly June

By Dave Carew

Kimberly June is a Nashville-based singer/songwriter from Southern Maine who writes a diverse collection of styles, including country, rock, pop, blues, and even a little Jazz. She grew up in New England and also enjoyed six of her teen years living in the Dominican Republic. She spent her early life listening to a variety of music, from country and rock as a child in Maine, to Hip-Hop and R&B in her teen years. “I always felt a little out of the loop when it came to American pop and rock music while I was living in the Dominican,” she says. “I hadn’t heard the Beatles or any of my favorite music until I was already in college.” She began playing guitar and writing songs simultaneously at the age of 17 while attending a summer program at Berklee College of Music in Boston. From then on, countless hours were spent in her bedroom writing, listening to music, and learning more about the craft of songwriting. Her favorite thing about writing music is making her parents proud. She is now a senior at Belmont University for Songwriting and Music Business and plans to stay in Nashville for a long time after she graduates.

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE: How would you describe your music? Which two or three artists have been your primary influences?

KIMBERLY JUNE: I guess I would say it is all pretty poppy, but I like to write different styles. I went through a blues phase and a jazz phase and now I am writing a lot of pop/country and pop/rock. It’s hard to choose just three influences, but I would definitely say the Beatles were one of them. I also really love Bread and even David Gates’ solo stuff after Bread ended. My mom bought their Anthology album at a yard sale once, and after I heard them once I stole the CD from her and never gave it back. David Gates is one of my favorite songwriters. Last but not least, Patty Griffin is an amazing songwriter who more people need to know about. She has a huge influence on me and I just recently found out that she is from Maine… same as me!!

UN: What is your personal “dream” for your music?

KJ: I really just want to write music for other artists to sing and perform. I love to perform but I don’t think I am the best singer or anything, and I am a little awkward on stage, so I try to look at it realistically. I love to write songs about situations that I know a lot of people can relate to and I hope to make people feel like “Wow, I’m not the only one who feels that way!”  I hope my music makes it to radio someday. That would be my dream.

UN: Why did you decide to come to Nashville?

KJ: I always wanted to be a singer and a superstar. I also am very practical, so when I was applying for colleges I decided not to go for music. After two weeks at Suffolk University in Boston I called my mom crying and told her I had to do music because it was the only thing that felt right. I went to Suffolk for one year, then applied to Berklee College of Music, auditioned, and got in. For some reason I thought Berklee was the only answer to my sorrows but then I realized that the winter in Boston was what was driving me nuts. Basically, I needed something warmer and something with a songwriting program, so Belmont [University] brought me here. It was a good move.

UN: How has your musical career advanced since your arrival in Nashville?

KJ: I have only been here about a year and a half now but I have meet a lot of amazing people that have helped me improve and look at music in different ways. Belmont University is helping as well; I will be starting my first internship this month at a publishing company on Music Row. I have also been playing writers rounds and meeting other people who do the same thing I do. I am being patient and persistent at the same time.

UN: What are your musical plans for the next few months? Do you plan to play out at all? Are you working on songwriting demos?

KJ: Writing, writing, writing!! I write every day, whether it’s an entire song, a poem or just a jumble of ideas. I also keep a journal so I can look back someday and remember what today was like, and maybe share it with my children. I am playing a few writers rounds at Hotel Indigo or Curb Café. I am fortunate enough to be dating a producer/songwriter, David Thomson, who helps me out with my demos. He is an ex-pop star who is now signed with Sony/ATV Canada. He is a huge help and influence for me. I try to make demos sometimes but I am not a technical person at all. I don’t know what plugs into what and I usually have to call someone to figure out that the mute button is on or my interface isn’t plugged in! I stick with what I know best and I am sure I will learn how to make demos in time.

For more about Kimberly June and her music, visit Myspace.com/Kimberlyjunemusic

and her blog at kimberlyjune.blogspot.com

David M. (Dave) Carew is editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter.” He also is a freelance publicist and copywriter.

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