June Marieezy’s Filipino Soul

June Marieezy’s Filipino Soul

been floating on a cloud of June Marieezy ever since
Juicebox introduced us to her hypnotic tunes
last year. But back in March when FKJ (French Kiwi Juice) remixed
her track, Fly, we thought we might just sail away. This Saturday
there’s reason to come back down to earth, as June will be making
her London debut at the Juicebox
+ SUITCASE summer day party
at The Shapes terrace in

Dubbed the next Jhene Aiko, the influences of this young artist
sway back and forth between her hometown Dallas, Texas and her
family roots in the Philippines. It was on the Filipino island of
Palawan that she recorded most of her music while “listening to
nature and travelling inward, living off the sole electromagnetic
fields of the Earth.”

It’s a beautiful coincidence that the country which played a
special role in June’s musical discovery was also one of our main
destinations for Volume 11, The Water Issue. We spoke to June
about her time in a treehouse studio in the Philippines, her first
show in London and her journey so far.

SUITCASE MAGAZINE: You always write very powerful
lyrics, what is your favourite lyric and what does it mean to

JUNE MARIEEZY: “Je suis infini, but my body
will always bleed.” I wrote it in France. It means I am infinite.
This comes from my feeling of getting younger but of having lived

SM: You’re playing your first show in London with us,
what has been your experience of London so far?

JM: In the past two weeks I was able to breathe
in Finsbury park, get lost in Notting Hill and was with my mother
for her first time in London too. I felt the vibes at Deviation –
met Gilles Peterson, Benji B, Sampha, Jamie xx. Just really great
sounds being played there. I like how it’s more about the music
here and less about selling sex.

SM: You were born and raised in Dallas by Filipino
parents. How did they find themselves in Dallas?

JM: They moved to Dallas from the Philippines
for a better life, school, job, $$$, and a nice house…you
know..that American dream. They met there and viola, there I was. I
would not be on these travels to the Philippines without their
sacrifice, love and support in following my heart. They do think
I’m crazy though.

SM: You moved back to the Philippines at age 16. What
led you there?

JM: It was a futuristic whisper to say yes to
the adventure. It wasn’t easy at first (an understatement)
especially since I was by myself, but the risk is worth it every
time (an even bigger understatement).

SM: What made you stay and why did you leave

JM: Musical pathways and the ocean made me
stay, family for the holidays made me leave for Dallas. Lack of
funds made me stuck, music/Malasimbo Music and the Arts Festival
flew me back to the Philippines, getting my passport stolen made me
stuck. This time however it was the best problem I have ever had in
my life. It forced me to find ways to make sure my income would be
greater than the cost of my creations and my off-the-grid
lifestyle, which isn’t much.

SM: When you are making music there, what was your daily

JM: I’ve have been making music up in the
mountains. I wake up, body scrub, run around for coconuts to open,
download information from the sun, go to the beach, read, write,
pray, offer thanks to ancestors and nature spirits, meditate, ride
motorbikes, capture light (photos/videos), explore sound (music),
surf if there are waves.

SM: Where did you make music?

JM: I’ve always dreamed of a treehouse studio
and I stumbled across it in real life while I was there. It is at
an artist’s residency in an eco-village I am lucky to be a part of
with Bahay Kalipay (bahaykalipay.com) who do programs
that include everything from raw food programs to yoga and inner
dance energy school. I immediately set up in the open space to
create while exploring mind, body, spiritual endeavours, listening
to nature and travelling inward. Since it is self-sustaining and
food naturally grows there, I was living off of the electromagnetic
fields of the earth. My solar panels were enough to power all of my
music gear. The view is a humbling reminder that my time here is
relatively short. The vision of love there is what I was hoping for
in this world, which happened to already exist in one of the best
islands of the country I hoped to build it in.

SM: What sort of idea of the Philippines did you have
before you went?

JM: My grandma would tell me and my cousins a
lot of ghost stories. They would also mention how kids in the city
streets are starving in the Philippines when I didn’t want to
finish my food. I realised the gravity of that when I saw for

SM: How has the Philippines changed since you first

JM: I have noticed an influx of people who
don’t know how to take care of it, and I noticed when there’s
demand in untouched lands, business people start to come in and
strip its purity. One of my favorite serene beaches nearby has
coconut trees marked for cutting down. It’s kind of fucked up. Some
of my friends and I are in the process of buying land so we can
protect it from being cut down and abused.

SM: You’ve said you want to build up a third world
country through building up yourself through music. What are the
biggest issues facing the Philippines currently? And how do you
think you can help generate change?

JM: I’m sure there are millions of problems in
the Philippines to mention, but I believe the root of it is deep
within the psyche of the people. The environment they live in
reflects it like a constant feedback. Living in places off the grid
made me sensitive to these different energies. The city (Manila) is
a very unhealthy place to live but many people buy in to the hype
and forget that we are already blessed with the richness of the
land and of ourselves. I want to generate change by teaching
through being able to express and create as minimally and
harmoniously with the land as possible.