The Moon And Stars: Prescriptions For Dreamers
For Valerie June, spirituality and creativity are one and the same. The acclaimed singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist offered cosmic wisdom on her 2017 sophomore album The Order of Time, a collection of folk-leaning tracks that also significantly raised the profile of the Tennessee native. On her follow-up The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers, June leans further into her spiritually driven songwriting, telling Apple Music that the impetus of the album was, in part, to inspire others to use their gifts to make the world a better place. “There’s a creative space that you go to inside yourself,” she says, adding that it’s important to “begin to work with the elements in that space and to keep that space sacred and not let people take it.”
Opening track “Stay” reminds the listener of the importance of staying present in a given moment, while also introducing the lush, more complex sound that June built alongside co-producer Jack Splash (Kendrick Lamar, John Legend). “Call Me a Fool,” which features legendary Memphis soul singer Carla Thomas, and “Fallin’” muse on the power and risk inherent in following a dream. And “Home Inside” channels the transformative power of introspection for an open-minded, open-hearted ode to spirituality. Below, June talks Apple Music through a few of the key tracks.
You and I “You'll notice there's two of everything on the record: two drummers, two guitars. We were able to build the sound and take it and make it just that much crazier to meet what I was hearing in my head. The first layering of it I was like, ‘No, I hear it more dimensional, I hear more sonic madness.’ And it's a song for sharing, it's a song for friendship, for discovery. And for realizing that our thoughts and our intentions, when we join them together with others, that's what's creating the world we see. And we can't have anything without each other.”
Call Me a Fool (feat. Carla Thomas) “The fool card in the tarot deck represents new beginnings. It represents being on edge and adventurous and crazy and daring. So ‘Call Me a Fool’ is a song for taking the leap. It's for being afraid of failure and having the confidence to say, ‘Yeah, I know society might not be ready for my dream of peace and love or whatever the hell it is, or my relationship or whatever, however you relate to it.’ By the end of the song, Carla, the one who was the warning and wise fairy godmother [in previous track ‘African Proverb’], she's like, ‘Well, I'm glad you did it, baby.’ And she sings along with you.”
Smile “It’s a song of transcendence, a song of hope and possibilities and being reborn. And as a Black woman, looking at my people, we've had to continue to be reborn. And sometimes there have been times where all we had was a smile and just to say that that's not going to be taken. And for each person, no matter what race they are, to realize that your joy and your positivity and your beauty and the way you see the world—it is a power and it is a tool and it can be manipulated if you let it. But if you don't let it, it's one of your greatest gifts.”
Within You “It's a mantra song. It is a song for carving out sacred space in your life, inside of yourself, every day.”
Starlight Ethereal Silence “Jack and I decided that we needed 30 seconds of silence on the record, because I believe that silence is music and that no moment is ever completely silent. And I realized that we, as humans, can't hear everything. Your dog can hear things that you can't hear, or a dolphin can hear things that humans can't hear. So I just wanted to have that moment carved out of silence but then enter into the realm where we're being mindful, and we realize that, ‘Hey, yeah, we're humans and we're special, but we're not the only thing on this Earth, making music.’”