Nashville’s newest all-female trio, Runaway June, comprised of Naomi Cooke, Hannah Mulholland, and Jennifer Wayne, is stepping onto the scene with their debut single, ‘Lipstick.’ The song impacted as a Top 5 most-added single at U.S. Country radio and is rising up the Top 40. Fans and critics alike can’t resist the perfect harmonies this trio brings as the ladies have been praised by Billboard and Rolling Stone Country, among other notables. We had the opportunity to talk to the band before they head our way in October about their journey, their music and more.
The three girls had all been living in Nashville for a few years before they got together to form the band. “We’re all songwriters individually,” Naomi explained. “We actually met in a writing room, we came together to write a song. The head of our label actually introduced Jen and I, and Hannah and Jen had known each other already. So we got together and started writing and that’s how we kind of formed a band.” The ladies knew they had something special, and the success they’ve seen thus far proves it. The trio still cannot believe it when they hear themselves on the radio. “It’s surreal!” said Naomi. “It feels like a dream kind of to have our song in the Top 40. You know, our first single and for a female trio to be back on the scene and actually breaking into the charts… It’s indescribable!” Hannah and Jennifer were quick to agree. “Every day we just can’t believe it’s happening!” said Jen. The band was all together the first time they heard ‘Lipstick’ on the radio. They were actually at the radio station in Baton Rouge when they heard it being played. But another moment that sticks out for the group was the first time they heard it on their bus. The driver cranked it up and the girls had a little dance party, naturally. “Every time it comes on we still scream like the first time,” Hannah admitted. The girls also aren’t ashamed to share that they still like to pull over and record themselves singing along when ‘Lipstick’ plays on the radio.
The trio wrote the single with Rebecca Lynn Howard and explained how it was inspired by a meme she brought to the writing session. “You know, ‘you love somebody who ruins your lipstick not your mascara,’ and we were like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s never been written. Let’s write it!” said Jennifer. “This one just for some reason came really easily with us. We had a blast writing it and it’s kind of like what we would want to tell our little sister. It’s a good message,” she added. ‘Lipstick’ is a breakup song that focuses more on looking towards a brighter future – It’s a good reminder that everything is going to be okay. The girls explained that they didn’t want to take the route of man-bashing. “It’s more of like, just find someone who makes you happy. Find the person who is right for you. If he makes you cry he’s not the one, move on,” stated Naomi. The band chose ‘Lipstick’ as Runaway June’s debut single partially because of the message it delivers, but also the ladies all agree that it’s one of their favorites to perform live. “Not only did we have so much fun playing that one but it seemed like the energy with the crowd kind of picked up,” said Hannah, adding that fans everywhere had always received the song so well.
‘Lipstick’ is also a great representation of Runaway June’s distinctive sound. “I think our sound is kind of organic and pretty country,” Jennifer described, adding that there’s nothing synthetic about it. “You can hear every instrument on the track.” Each member of the band brings a little bit of her own style as they’re all influenced by different artists. Hannah has been inspired by Sheryl Crow and Naomi loves Alison Krauss, but all three are huge fans of the Dixie Chicks. “We all grew up on the Chicks,” said Naomi. “They’ve influenced the way that we write, and the way that we sing, and the way that we play.” As an all-female trio, Runaway June is often compared to the Dixie Chicks, something that Naomi, Hannah and Jen take as a major compliment. “We obviously would never say that, because I don’t think we’ll ever measure up,” Naomi admitted. “They were the biggest superstars in the world at one point and so it’s a huge honor!”
Another honor for the band and something to check off their bucket list – Runaway June is scheduled to make their Opry debut next month, and the girls couldn’t be more excited. “We about died!” Hannah exclaimed, describing the moment they got the good news. She explained that the girls we’re actually at the Opry for an interview when they got the call. “We all just started screaming and crying and we were just so excited.” They also got to share the moment with a country legend, Hannah explained. “Charlie Daniels was on the phone and he was doing an interview at the time and we were just packing up and about to leave,” she recalled. “We all started jumping up and down so Cody looked up and was like, ‘I think the girls might have some big news, do you want to tell Charlie?’ and we’re like, ‘Okay!’ We’ve never met him before, we were just like, ‘Hi, Charlie! We’re playing the Opry!’ So he was the first person that we told,” Mulholland said with a laugh.
Runaway June has been getting a ton of buzz lately and it’s caught the eye, and ears, of country star, Tim McGraw. The trio opened for Tim back in August at the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Concert for Legends where they performed for over 22,000 people. The experience is unforgettable for the ladies who raved about meeting McGraw. “He was so nice! He really gave us his time and we were just so impressed with him as a person,” Jennifer said. That opportunity was so incredible that the girls can’t wait to open up for him again on October 1st at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. “All three of us said that’s like our dream. If we could pick a tour to be on it would be Tim McGraw,” Jen stated. The girls are also looking forward to checking out the venue and maybe even do a little gambling while they’re there. “I love playing craps! I don’t even care if I win, I just have so much fun with everybody around the table. It’s a blast!” said Wayne. And if you see the girls on the casino floor, don’t be shy, they’d be more than happy to snap a picture. “Hannah will be at the penny slots and Naomi and I will be at the craps table,” Jen laughed before Hannah chimed in. “I don’t even know if I’ll be at the penny slots, I’ll be at the buffet! That way I know what I’m paying for!” We must admit, she has a point. The girls said that they pretty much always do a formal meet and greet though. If you’re at the show, listen for an announcement with details on how you can meet the band.
After chatting with the group, we can honestly say that all three of these ladies are so charismatic and sweet, not to mention each incredibly talented in her own way. And listeners can’t deny that Runaway June is really quite remarkable with their refreshing harmonies and genuine sound. ‘Lipstick’ is just the beginning and we can’t wait to see where they go from here.