We’re excited to announce singer-songwriter Valerie June as the keynote presenter at the 35th annual Folk Alliance International Conference! The live, in-person presentation will take place on Thursday, February 2, 2023, at the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri.
June is a GRAMMY-nominated artist from Tennessee who has been hailed by the New York Times as one of America’s “most intriguing, fully formed new talents.” Her 2021 release, The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers, included two songs featuring legendary Stax singer and “Queen of Memphis Soul” Carla Thomas, one of which went on to be nominated for Best American Roots Song at the 2022 GRAMMY Awards. June is also a 3x Americana Music Award nominated artist for 2014 Emerging Act of the Year and Album and Song of the Year at the 2021 awards.
Her first book, ”Maps for the Modern World,” was an Amazon #1 Best Seller in poetry and is a collection of lyrical poems and original illustrations about cultivating community, awareness, and harmony with our surroundings as we move fearlessly toward our dreams.
June also has an upcoming children’s book, “SOMEBODY TO LOVE: The Story of Valerie June’s Sweet Little Baby Banjolele”, out on November 1. The story is inspired by how June wrote the song “Somebody to Love” from her album Pushin’ Against a Stone.
“I’m honored to be welcomed into the Folk Alliance family as a keynote speaker following in the footsteps of artists I’ve long admired, like Mavis Staples,” says June. “I’m hoping to inspire joy and an appreciation of nature through my message. Music is everywhere whether we are listening to music created for speakers and headphones or just observing nature’s endless songs. What could be more folky and down to earth than taking time to breathe and observe the ultimate musician — Mother Nature.”
Past FAI keynote speakers have included Margaret Atwood, Mavis Staples, Rhiannon Giddens, Judy Collins, Al Gore, Billy Bragg, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Graham Nash, Ani DiFranco, and more.
This year’s conference theme is Facing the Future: Sustainability in Folk Music. Programming will address the sustainability of the folk genre, careers and businesses in the music industry, and the environment that supports us.