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INTERVIEW: Canadian Country Artist Karli June Talks Humble Beginnings, New Single, & More

Born in Listowel, Ontario, Karli fell in love with music as a child, singing in her church’s choir, at local fairs and singing competitions. During her teens she began writing songs in earnest, studied piano, taught herself guitar, and took every opportunity to perform live during school concerts, in musical theatre productions, and at the local pub. 

June’s latest single “Home Team” paints the perfect small-town picture, written about the supporters in our lives who are always by our side and in our hearts. The track – co-written by June, Karen Kosowski (Meghan Patrick, The Washboard Union, Tim Hicks), and Tori Tullier (Megan McKenna, Alyssa Micaela, Stephanie Quayle), is the follow up to “Heart Drunk”, which is currently in rotation at CBC SIRIUS XM Country and propelled Karli into a finalist spot on the Jim Beam Virtual National Talent Search which provides Canada’s best new artists with a virtual stage, ownership of their recordings, and starring roles in an event streamed via during Canadian Music Week.

Having fallen in love with music from a young age, singing in church choir, at local fairs, and various competitions, it’s safe to say music has been running through your veins since day one. Who and/or what, sparked your love for music early on?

Karli June: “Growing up on a farm where music was always playing, was a huge part of that! I loved the way that it would make everything much more fun. My dad always joked that the music would distract me and I wouldn’t be able to get any work done! Singing in church for me though was where I discovered how much music could encourage someone. That is where it changed from a hobby to what I wanted to do with my life.”

As a small-town girl with big dreams of pursuing a career in music, what have you learned growing up that taught you how to set goals and make sacrifices, in order to accomplish everything your heart desires?

KJ: “Well growing up on a farm, again, taught me a lot about this! My parents are extremely hard workers, and they also have a lot of faith. As a farmer, you have to work hard and then trust God to provide the rain and sun to make the crops grow. That is something that has allowed me to have perspective and perseverance in my career so far! I am so thankful for that.”

Through your travels, you’ve been able to visit many musically cultured cities such as Toronto and Nashville. What have these bigger markets allowed you to discover about the industry itself? What small-town notions do you keep close to your heart when looking to build on your career in what can be more of a competitive, yet flourishing, setting?

KJ: “Great question. I think it’s important to learn from the places you go but never forget where you come from. Leaving my hometown to work in bigger places is what has allowed me to grow, learn from my peers in the industry, and develop my artistry! I couldn’t do it without that, but it’s my roots back home that keep me grounded, humble and also remind me that there’s so much more to life than just music. It’s very easy for it to become everything to you – but nothing can replace the people you share life with!”

Following the release of your romantically tipsy single, “Heart Drunk,” you’ve come to release your latest single “Home Team,” painting the perfect small-town picture of the supporters in our lives that are always by our side and in our hearts. In what way has the making of this song given you solace in knowing that no matter how far you may be, through all your ups and downs, you will always have somebody on your “team,” rooting for you? How might this song be encouraging to those that feel like all they have are themselves to lean on? Sometimes being your own cheerleader is most rewarding!

KJ: “We wrote this song before the pandemic in 2019, but definitely through the pandemic and not being with the people I love has made this song mean even more to me! I miss home on so many days, but when I listen to this song it reminds me that home is always just a phone call away. I hope this song gives that same feeling to everyone else and even if it’s not your family necessarily…  there’s someone that’s on their side!”

What knowledge has working with industry standouts like Scott Chesak, Deric Ruttan, and Karen Kosowski, given you, that has helped you continue to thrive, and ultimately led you to land on BC SIRIUS XM Country’s rotation, propelling you into a finalist spot on the Jim Beam® Virtual National Talent Search?

KJ: “It’s a true honour to get to work with all of these truly wonderful people. I consider it a gift and a confirmation to me that I am on the right path! To have their trust and their time is something that I know is not given lightly. I am very thankful that they believe in me and want to be part of what I want to say through the music. It’s amazing to have their perspectives writing the songs as well. I am learning so much through every write and recording session with them!”

Having performed at the Canadian Country Music Festival Boots & Hearts, and sharing the stage with the likes of Dierks Bentley, Brett Kissel, Terri Clark, and Corb Lund, explain what that experience was like? Do you have a dream collaboration?

KJ: “There have been so many amazing moments in my career so far and I am really trying to be present in each one and not always be rushing to the next! Opening for people that you look up to is always inspiring. It’s so cool to see them at soundchecks, and also to see just what humble and kind people they are. That inspires me!  My dream collaboration would be with Carrie Underwood – I am a huge fan!!”

Pulse Music Magazine is a creative space allowing musicians to showcase their craft and build their audience. Is there any piece of advice you could offer other up-and-coming artists who wish to follow their dreams?

KJ: “Take time to develop yourself outside of music! I think that plays a huge part in the music you will write and helps you to stay balanced. Ultimately write about what truly matters to you and always remember why you started.”

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Matthew Patania

Hi, I’m Matthew, and I am the Founder of Pulse Music Magazine. Having attended my first live show in the Spring of 2015, I realized just how much joy music brings to my life. As my love for music continued to grow, I decided to create a publication that serves as an outlet to share stories told through life's grandest medium.

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    Written by Matthew Patania

    Hi, I’m Matthew, and I am the Founder of Pulse Music Magazine. Having attended my first live show in the Spring of 2015, I realized just how much joy music brings to my life. As my love for music continued to grow, I decided to create a publication that serves as an outlet to share stories told through life's grandest medium.

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