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Story Behind the Song: Runaway June, ‘Lipstick’

Runaway June, the trio made up of Naomi Cooke, Hannah Mulholland and Jennifer Wayne, earned a Top 40 hit with their debut single, “Lipstick.” The uptempo song, written by the threesome and singer-songwriter Rebecca Lynn Howard, was inspired by a phrase that Howard saw … which then became the theme of the entire tune. Below, Runaway June’s Cooke and Wayne explain how “Lipstick” came to be.

Naomi Cooke: We were in a writer appointment on Music Row; it was a rainy day on Music Row, and our co-writer came in … She was like, “You know, I think I have an idea. You may have heard it before, because it’s a meme, but there’s this thing I saw that said, ‘Be with a guy who ruins your lipstick, not your mascara,’” and we were like, “Wow, I don’t even think there’s a song with that concept at all, but there’s such a big story there,” so we started writing it.

It was one of the most fun writes we’ve had in a long time. It didn’t take us maybe an hour to write that song, so that’s how it came about. It’s been amazing — to see people covering it on YouTube is one of the most surreal things ever; to see a stranger who took time to learn that song and put it out there, it’s been amazing.

Jennifer Wayne: We had one of the coolest things happen: This all-female a cappella choir from a high school or a college, they did an a cappella version of “Lipstick,” and there were like 20 of them. They were just amazing, and I [think] that’s so cool that we’re spreading such a positive message for young girls, with so much out there that’s not positive. It’s a positive song that I would want my little sister to listen to. To see girls get up there and do it, it just kind of blew us away.

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