Blues and folk singer-songwriter Valerie June Hockett was born on 10 January 1982 in Jackson, Tennessee, U.S. She plays the guitar, banjo, and ukulele.
As a child, Hockett was heavily influenced by gospel music at church and the R&B music industry, which her father worked in. Mr. Hockett was a promoter for soulful artists like Prince and K-Ci & JoJo. Living in the vicinity of blues and country capitals of the world Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee Hockett was also exposed to folk and country music.
Valerie June was inspired to move to Memphis in 2000, where she performed as one half of the duo Bella Sun with her now ex-husband. Coming out of an unsuccessful marriage, Hockett decided to start her independent career in music making what she calls “organic moonshine roots music.” Her muses are artists from the 1920s and 1930s including Mississippi John Hurt, Elizabeth Cotton, The Carter Family, and Alan Lomax. Valerie June ambitiously self-produced two EPs “The Way of the Weeping Willow” in 2006 and “Mountain of Rose Quartz” released in 2008. The former was recorded in an old 1800s farmhouse owned by a friend and the latter at Ardent Studios in Memphis .
After opening for the band Old Crow Medicine Show at Rhodes College, Valerie June did a collaborative EP with her fellow performers called “Valerie June and the Tennessee Express” in 2010. Hockett received quite a following after the album was put out as well as from her appearance on MTV’s online series “$5 Cover,” which gave exposure to underground musicians in the Memphis area.
As the next step to producing her debut album, Valerie June took matters into her own hands by creating a Kickstarter.com campaign with producer Craig Stuart which. Her efforts raised $15,000 in under two months. Hockett’s actions attracted the attention of producer Kevin Augunas, who helped her network with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. The two gentlemen helped Valerie June accomplish her goal by co-writing and producing her first album “Pushin’ Against a Stone” in June 2011. Her music maneuvers smoothly through the blues and gospel genres, with a touch of nostalgia and a lot of soul. Valerie June’s debut single “Workin’ Woman Blues” was the first song she played for the NPR Tiny Desk Concert series. Her album was released in the UK and Europe on 6 June 2013. Her song “You Can’t Be Told” also received significant airplay.
In 2012 Valerie June collaborated with Fugees producer John Forte on hip-hop blues single “Give Me Water.” In 2013 she supported Jake Bugg on his UK tour.