While her story seems improbable, JUNO shows us what is possible. Juno grew up on the south side of Chicago with her two brothers and three sisters, raised by a single mother. She said, “My early life was purely about day to day survival. We spent time worrying about the next meal, the next safe place to live, and the next thing to do to make money. The day JUNO held a guitar would change her life.
JUNO’s Passion Ignited
Even though JUNO had grown up listening to music, her passion for playing music was born after she had graduated from college. Juno said, “My first job after college was working as a drug therapist in a rehab facility. There was fifteen-year-old kid name Jake, who handed me a guitar for the first time in my life. It was at that moment that I experienced passion for the first time.” She continued, “I was trying to change Jake’s life, but unexpectedly he ended up changing mine. I became obsessed with guitar, and started playing 12-16 hours a day trying to sound like my heroes: B.B. King, Wes Montgomery, and John Meyer.”
How Music Impacted Juno’s Early Life
Much of what I learned about JUNO, during the interview, was surprising. How JUNO came to love the storytelling in music was one of the biggest surprises. The singer/songwriter said, “When I was a kid, I would go to my friend’s house to watch TV because we didn’t have cable. I came across the CMT Top Twenty Countdown. I became captivated by the stories in music. Artists like Martina McBride, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Sara Evans, Rascal Flatts, and Brooks & Dunn captivated me with the way they shared their gut-wrenching truth through songs.”
As JUNO was listening to country music, “my brother was in the next room listening to hip hop, like Tupac and Biggie.” JUNO said, “I realized that both genres came from the same place. They were real, raw, painful, and honest.” The style of music didn’t matter to JUNO. She said, ” It was this type of music I fell in love with, it was irrelevant whether it was Celine Dion, Bob Dylan, or Lauryn Hill.”
Like many others, music became an escape for the singer/songwriter. Music gave her an outlet to deal with the pain she felt. JUNO said, “I just wanted to feel something other than the pain I was feeling at home. My mom was in several abusive relationships, and I found an escape in these stories. I would picture myself being in the Lonestar video for “Front Porch Looking In,” and I desperately wanted to have a life like that. I vowed one day I would move to Nashville to write songs about my life and share my story. A dream that came full circle almost twenty years later.”
From Chicago to the World
How JUNO became a touring musician was improbable, but again JUNO shows us what is possible. As she was learning guitar, she began posting videos to YouTube and Instagram. One of her videos caught the attention of Rob Lewis, who was Fifth Harmony’s musical director. JUNO received an email from Rob saying, “We’re leaving in three days, you want to go?” She, of course, said yes. JUNO said, “I was overwhelmed when I saw the tour schedule. Germany, Brazil, Ireland, Switzerland, Mexico, Portugal, and on and on. Before this, I had never really left Chicago, and I was super excited to get to travel and blessed that it was a guitar that opened up the opportunity.” JUNO would join Fifth Harmony’s tour to play guitar and later toured with Camila Cabello.
Life on the Road
Life on the road for many touring musicians is exciting, but it is also a grind. Also, being without the comfort of home can grow tiresome. For JUNO, life on the road created the pressure to be terrific every night. The singer/songwriter said, “Touring was exciting at first, but then I realized how much work it was. I snapped in to “grind” mode. I was constantly practicing in my dressing room, on the bus, in between stops at a rest stop. You always saw me with my guitar and some headphones on reviewing the show.”
JUNO was determined to make the most of this opportunity. She said, “I was so scared to get fired, I didn’t want to mess up this opportunity. They had my guitar playing so loud through the speakers, and I was so terrified to make a mistake that I over practiced. I was trying to keep up with everyone.”
JUNO’s time on the road changed her life and taught her some valuable lessons. However, it was not without challenges. The singer/songwriter said about her time touring, “The were ups and downs. The traveling was awesome, but sometimes the pressure was challenging to manage. I grew a stronger work ethic and backbone because nobody holds your hand or explains anything to you on tour. Things change every day, and you better adjust to it, or you will quickly be replaced.” JUNO continued, “I also built some amazing friendships and relationships that I still have today. It taught me a new level of excellence that I strive to maintain every day. You either get left behind, or you grow, I chose to grow.”
JUNO the Guitarist to JUNO the Artist
After spending a few years as a touring guitarist, JUNO decided to pursue her music on her own. Many may look at her decision and shake their head, but Juno knows who she is and what she wants. JUNO explained, “I wanted to have a voice of my own. I felt limited behind the guitar all the time. I had ideas and songs I wanted to share about my story, and I knew I had to leave the tour to do that.”
It was not a decision Juno made lightly, but she felt good about her choice. The singer/songwriter said, “It was a tough decision because I made a lot of money. We were traveling, and I hardly ever paid for anything, it was a luxury and a privilege.” However, she believed it was the right time to leave. She said, “Most people probably think I was crazy to leave the tour, but I knew nothing lasts forever. I wanted to step away while I still had the drive, passion, and work ethic to transition into the next season of life.
JUNO is thankful for all the opportunities she had. However, the singer/songwriter believes “life has seasons.” She said, “Sometimes you can feel when a season is up, but fear of failure prevents us from jumping to the next level. I figured it was now or never.”
JUNO’s Sound and Latest Releases
JUNO’s music is unique, but there is no coincidence JUNO’s music features strong storytelling since that is what she loved about Country music and rap. In “Carrying the World,” the singer/songwriter tells her story of growing up. The song features a smooth guitar and mixes some rap with vocals. “Color with Me” is filled with the innocence of a child. The song takes us back to a time when we were children and didn’t separate ourselves by race or religion.
“Carrying the World”
The backstory behind “Carrying the World is fascinating. What started as a co-write ended much differently. JUNO said, “Carrying the World” is a song I wrote accidentally. A friend came over, and we had a four-hour conversation about my life and all the things I have experienced.” She continued, “I had never really shared all of that with anyone, and it was kinda therapeutic.”
The singer/songwriter said, “My friend took note on a yellow piece of paper and gave it to me just in case. Well, she was smart because I didn’t think anything of it. I was a little frustrated; we didn’t write anything. The next day I woke up at 5 am and had an overwhelming feeling of all these memories were taunting me. I had to get it out.” JUNO continued, “I picked up my guitar and started playing this loop that I had in my head forever, and it was one of those things that just flowed out. I immediately sent it to my friend, and she loved it. My first co-write maybe not conventional, but that is how it happened.”
“Color With Me”
JUNO described her latest single, “Color with Me” is a more light and fun tune. Instead of guitar, this song has a heavy piano and reggae vibe. I love it because it makes me feel like a kid again, which is the last time we all felt free and fearless. I strive to feel that same way today. If you listen carefully to the words, it has many meanings. I am excited to see how people will interpret this one, but I’m not telling.”
Lessons Learned from JUNO
She has an improbable story, but JUNO shows us what is possible when you have dreams and work hard to achieve them. Personally, my interview with JUNO is one of my favorites since the launch of this site. Who knew a random Uber rider would have such a profound impact on me? Her resilience and her passion for music touched me. JUNO did not allow the circumstances into which she was born to stop her from achieving success. In many ways, it fueled her determination and made her stronger.
JUNO wants you to know, “I’m still trying to figure it out everyday. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t need to pretend that I do. I want to share my heart with anyone who will listen. I chose this road because the stories I heard from Martina McBride and Tupac changed my life, and I hope to do the same for someone else.”
Follow JUNO on Instagram: @juno_theartist and YouTube at JUNO the Artist