Perseverance and hope for a better future is what keeps us going from day to day, it’s wakes us in the morning and fuels our decisions in life.June’s Diary, known individually as Kristal, Ashly, Gabby, Shyann and Brienna puts all that tenacity to work day in a day out, and it’s about to pay off in a big way. The group is currently managed by Frank Gatson Jr., who owns ShowBiz is Production and Management Inc. and has worked with such industry heavy weights as Beyonce, Usher, En Vogue, Jennifer Lopez, R. Kelly, Toni Braxton and Fifth Harmony. Girl group alumn Kelly Rowland, who hand-selected the quintet alongside Gatson on the 2016 BET docuseries Chasing Destiny, has been notably absent from the picture since the show left the air.
Last month (November) their latest single “Take Me” was picked up by iHeartRadio, for the streaming station’s Digital Artist Integration Program a ray of light in what has been a roller coaster ride of setbacks and minor triumphs. After the group was released by Epic Records in January of 2017, they went to work quietly as independent artists and have since, played as the opening act for The Great Xscape tour, rocked their breakout performance at the 2017 Essence Festival, and became the brand ambassadors for the cruelty free cosmetics line Beauty Bakerie.
This past summer they released their EP “All of Us” which peaked at #1 on itunes R&BSoul Chart in less than 10 hours and #19 on Top US Albums. The debut project also peaked at #18 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, marking June’s Diary as the first R&B group to grace the chart since SWV in 1993.
I recently had a chit chat with the soulful divas via conference call. Note: Any answers where I was unable to identify the speaker prior to responding will just be known as “JD”.
DArtagnan: Thank you all for taking the time to talk with us today. So the last thing that I know of that you all did was the “Great Xscape Tour” how was that for you all?
JD: The tour was awesome, mainly because of the female empowerment. To see Xscape come back after seventeen years and sell out venues was so inspiring to watch as a young, black female vocal group. We established relationships with some of our favorite performers and the audience really enjoyed our set.
DArtagnan: Since 2016 and the end of Chasing Destiny you all have been touring and your single L.A.N.C.E. and you released your EP this summer. What is it that is keeping you all together?
Shyann: Um, I would have say, that we all have a good relationship with each other. We have a sister bond, we call and check on each other.
Kristal: We never thought any of this would be easy, but thankfully after the show we each gained four new sisters. And Frank has been our rock through it all. When others doubted us and turned their backs on us he was always there encouraging us and keeping things moving. This industry can be very toxic at times but we are a family that supports each other and we are just getting started.
DArtagnan: Christmas is right around the corner, so who’s doing the cooking?
Ashly: I cook in my fam! I just made a pot roast. Potatoes, carrots, onions all that.
DArtagnan: I’m coming to your house for Christmas. What has your experience been like putting together this EP?
Gabby: It’s the first time we’re able to control the direction of our music. It’s a whole new world. We’re learning so much about ourselves as writers, singers and team members.
Shyann: You+ Passion (Hard Work + Dedication) – Excuses = Success. I really admire our hard work & dedication. Working on your own album isn’t always easy, but we stick together like glue so we can’t lose. We respect each other’s differences, so we make sure everyone is comfortable when it comes to all of us being creative.
Brienna: It was a dope experience because we got to dig into our creativity and learn how talented we all were in coming up with ideas, melodies and lyrics! It made us really, excited to know what we can come up with on our own. It really encouraged our independence as artists and our confidence knowing that we are self-sufficient.
DArtagnan: Is there anyone on your wish list that you’d like to contribute to your album?
Ashly: Missy tweeted us, Elle Varner tweeted us. Honestly, we’re trying to find our own particle sound.
Kristal: What’s exciting about being in a girl group is that we each bring our unique tastes, references and influences. We are just excited to continue crafting our sound.
DArtagnan: Do any of you ladies speak a second language?
JD: I’ve been begging them to do some Spanish. We could do an intro or an outro. Maybe we’ll do our whole album in English and then do another in Spanish.
DArtagnan: That would be awesome, it’s all about the crossover. Ok so we have some R&B, some possible Spanish are we going to get a club banger?
JD: YES!! That is definitely the focus, we are working on that, a good cookout song.
DArtagnan: Any aspirations outside of music, do any of you want to get into television or movies?
JD: We actually approached to do a live tour. WE all want to act. Someone said that a millionaire has at least seven forms of income, so we all want to branch out.
****Readers please note that after the original publication of this article it was made known that June’s Diary opened for Jussie Smollett’s “Sum of My Music Tour” in 2018.****