Visionary singer-songwriter Valerie June has shared another soul gem, “Friendship” (Feat. Carla Thomas and Stax Music Academy). The song, which originally appeared on Pop Staples’ posthumous LP, 2015’s Don’t Lose This (produced by Jeff Tweedy and Mavis Staples), celebrates the eternal promise of true friendship. For this new version, in celebration of her hero Mavis Staples’ upcoming 85th birthday, June enlisted another close friend and mentor, Stax soul legend Carla Thomas as well as the talented students at Stax Music Academy.

Without Mavis and Carla, the students would not have the Stax Music Academy or the rich legacy they’ve paved for the community to thrive through educating the next generation of musicians. To have a dear friend like Carla sing it in celebration of another queen—Mavis—is a full circle gift.

Valerie June

Produced by June and recorded at Stax Music Academy in Memphis, TN, “Friendship” closely follows the release of “High Note” (Feat. Stax Music Academy), a song that she wrote specifically for Mavis. It also marks the second time June and Thomas have worked together. The pioneering soul star appeared on the Grammy-nominated “Call Me A Fool,” a track from June’s celebrated 2022 LP, The Moon And Stars: Prescriptions For Dreamers.  

Founded in 2000, Stax Music Academy was established to further the legacy of Stax by nurturing the next generation of great Soul Communicators from the greater Soulsville region.  An after-school and summer music institute located adjacent to the Stax’s original home in Memphis, TN, (now the Stax Museum of American Soul Music), Stax Music Academy prepares students to excel and impact the world through the universal language of music. 

For Valerie June’s tour info, head here.

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