Valerie June Hockett, who performs simply as Valerie June, is known for creating music that sounds like it has mysteriously appeared from the cosmos. Of course, behind this feeling of unadulterated celestial energy that one experiences when listening to June's music are June's vast (and well-honed) talents as a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist.

June was born in Jackson, Tenn. Her exposure to music began with gospel music from church and the soul and R&B music her father listened to. June's appetite and skill for a variety of genres has stayed with her throughout her entire career to date. When she moved to Memphis at the age of nineteen to begin recording music, she also incorporated blues and Appalachian folk music into her sound. Today, June's medley of influences converges to make something that is uniquely hers. Rare are the voices as distinct as June; and rarer still are the artists who, like June, offer up such a profound sense of divine love, connection, and healing to listeners.

Over the course of her career, June has recorded two self-released albums and three full-length albums: Pushin' Against a Stone, The Order of Time, and The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers. 

Read on for The Boot's picks for Valerie June's 10 best songs, so far:

  • 10

    "Wanna Be On Your Mind"

    From: 'Pushin’ Against a Stone' (2013)

    On 2013's "Wanna Be On Your Mind," June's R&B and soul influences are on full display. The track appears right in the middle of June's Pushin' Against a Stone. This placement feels all too fitting, as the song feels like the heart of the album. It has a languid groove and simple lyrics, but it's a profound offering up of connection from one human to another.

  • 9

    "With You - A Sweet Little Love Song Demo"

    From: 'With You - A Sweet Little Love Song Demo' (2017)

    June's tender "With You" was recorded for her second full-length album, The Order of Time. While the album version is quintessential June, the demo captures a child-like sense of wonder and whimsy that earns it its spot on this list instead. That June's "Sweet Little Love Song Demo" is just as powerful as her most polished, musically complex work is a testament to her artistry. June's lyrics are a humble, prayer-like offering and capture the wish inside every great romance: "And if I should fall so deep and true / And if I should fall so deep / May it be with you."

  • 8

    "Summer's End"

    From: 'Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine, Vol. 2' (2021)

    Like the late great John Prine, June makes love and understanding more accessible to us all through her music. June's cover of Prine's heartwrenching 2018 song "Summer's End" appears on volume two of Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows, a compilation album celebrating the songs and legacy of Prine. June's one-of-a-kind voice poignantly draws out the song's sorrow like never before.

  • 7

    "Somebody to Love"

    From: 'Pushin’ Against a Stone' (2013)

    June's talents are not solely left to her vocal abilities. She's also an instrumentalist in the finest sense. On the track "Somebody To Love," June draws sweetness out of her banjo while offering a remedy for loneliness without diminishing the potency of the feeling. She sings, "Are you watching the moon rise in the darkest of night / Battered and broken cause you know it ain't right / You ain't got nobody / You ain't got nobody / I'll be somebody."

  • 6

    "Fallin'"

    From: 'The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers - Deluxe Edition' (2022)

    The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers is a no-skips album full of celestial energy and profound ruminations. "Fallin'" is one of the most poetic tracks on the album, exemplifying June's mastery as a songwriter. It is also the track with the greatest amount of ache inside its heart. Over acoustic guitar, June sings, "Dancing on the devil's door / Back again and wanting more / Keeps me hanging on what's in our minds / Looking through the broken glass / Something that we hoped would last / Seeking, searching for what you cannot find." This sense of eternal seeking is present in much of June's catalog. It is also met with grace. "Fallin'" ends with a line repeated throughout the song, a soft surrender. "And I am willing to let go what was never mine."

  • 5

    "Pink Moon"

    From: 'The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers - Deluxe Edition' (2022)

    June's rendition of Nick Drake's classic 1972 track "Pink Moon" could very well be the definitive version. Or, at least, stand on its own as a re-imagining of the song rather than a cover. Like Drake's original recording, June's is understated, reverent. But June brings a special something to the song that makes it come alive, and that would be her mystical, celestial energy that is tangible in so much of her work. Here' it's especially captivating - as if she is honoring a muse.

  • 4

    "Shakedown"

    From: 'The Order of Time' (2017)

    June's blues roots are prominent on this rollicking, rock-and-rolling track from The Order of Time. It's perhaps her fiercest track— full of electric guitars, foot-tapping rhythms, and shuffling piano. It's proof that June can conquer any song that she puts her attention on. Fittingly, the energetic track is all about wild, all-encompassing desire. To listen to it is to feel the shakedown move through you, too.

  • 3

    "You and I - Moon and Stars - Acoustic"

    From: 'The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers - Deluxe Edition' (2022)

    One of June's most popular songs, "You and I - Moon and Stars - Acoustic" is a gorgeous, non-traditional love song. Here, June is singing about the bond that exists "When the love left just a friendship." It's a hushed, thoughtful reflection on the gifts we receive in this life if we remain patient, open, and willing to broaden our perspectives. As always, her lyrics are deeply moving. "It's to reach for something greater / Doesn't matter now or later / I hear somebody mention /It's the thought, it's the intention / You and I / Oh, I hope you feel it."

  • 2

    "Use Me"

    From: 'Use Me' (2022)

    Released in March 2022, "Use Me" is a stand-alone single from June that makes fans wish it was the doorway to a new album. In a statement, June said, "Coming full circle, [the song] represents multiple layers of how through love, families, and communities, whether publicly or personally, in life and beyond death, we can use each other to create gorgeously positive changes." The song comes full circle musically as well.

    June's lyrics, with lines like "We've made a sphere from a circle unbroken / We've got true love, not just the words spoken," nod to the classic spiritual "Will the Circle Be Unbroken." The reference is right at home given that so much of June's music works to nourish the human spirit.

  • 1

    "Astral Plane"

    From: 'The Order of Time' (2012)

    The lead single from The Order of Time, "Astral Plane" is a cosmic meditation on the creative spirit and its expression. Its ethereal chorus sounds like a glimpse into something greater: "Dancing on the astral plane / Holy water cleansing rain / Floating through the stratosphere / Blind, but yet you see so clear."

    In the opening lines, June sings, "Is there a light you have inside you? / Can't touch." She may not be able to touch this light, but lucky for us, she has been able to share it.