M897 Artist Spotlight: August 2014
JAMES & JUNE
Wixom Music Duo Finds New-Found Success
Story by LCC Radio Staff Reporter Sarah Spohn
It’s hard to believe that Wixom’s own husband and wife musical duo James and
June are even cuter in real life than their songs, but it’s the truth. The
couple (Dustin and Sarah Lolli) have been married almost 12 years, and it’s
evident they’re both in love and in sync with each other. Despite Dustin and
Sarah’s decade of marriage in the books, James and June are celebrating their
year and a half anniversary as a band.
WLNZ Staff Reporter Sarah Spohn sat down with the acoustic folk pop group, James and June to talk about marriage, music and Mumford & Sons.
Dustin Lolli had spent years in the music industry, playing free shows in bars to a handful of people and opened up for the nineties pop group Hanson.
“I started off doing music. I was in a couple of bands, I was in a band called Canons…and that was a group of guys who didn’t really like what we were doing, but we were all good friends,” Dustin said.
“I actually just wrote a song that was uniquely different from anything else that I’d ever written, and I said, ‘Wow, this would sound cool with a girl singing on it.’ He recruited his wife and was blown away by the way their voices blended.
While the background has always been there, the collaboration was new. “We both grew up singing in church,” she said. “That was always a big thing, you know, singing in choirs…but for me, it was never really a style I was comfortable in.
And her husband Dustin will tell you she hates being on stage. While Sarah admits a lack of fondness for being in the spotlight, she does admit she’s very comfortable on stage however.
“I’m gonna go out on a limb and say you still don’t like being on stage very often though,” Dustin said.
Much to their surprise, the couple’s decision to become a band wasn’t a shock to their friends and family. “Well, they thought a little more of us than we did,” Sarah said. “So they’re like, ‘Oh you guys can both sing, they kind of felt like why aren’t you guys singing together…even though they knew my hesitation.”
The surprise did come, however, when loved ones heard James and June’s blended voices and quality of music. “We just kind of found our groove. So we recorded a couple of songs, just to remember them, that was really the only reason,” Sarah said.
A few recordings and a demo later, the duo decided to create a page on ReverbNation. A week later, their demo “Never Let You Go” had over 10,000 song plays and James and June became a featured artist. Their phones began blowing up, and people were approaching them about their music.
The church-going Lolli’s suburban lives were turned upside down. While the couple’s worship leader day jobs revolve around music, the two certainly weren’t pursuing a career.
“But that was the catalyst. That feedback and the kind of response we got from it was really the defining moment where it was like, ‘You know what, maybe we could do something with this,” Sarah said, “And just take our time, and have fun and do it at our own pace and just see where it goes.”
So far, it’s gone well. The duo has played many local coffee shops, festivals and concerts around the mitten.
“Our new album actually just came out, “Chasing the Moon.” We’re going to be talking to a radio promoter this week, which should be nice,” Dustin said.
The digital release can be found on iTunes, but plans are underway for a hard copy CD to be released soon. “That’s what we’re working on right now, like the design of the album,” Sarah said. And then we’re also working on our music video for “Never Let You Go,” we would love to release that with the release of the hard copy album.”
While their kids are somewhat oblivious to their mom and dad’s alter ego musician lifestyles, their friends and neighbors aren’t totally unaware of James and June. “Their friends are buying the music…and be like, ‘Oh, we’re listening to your mom and dad,’” Sarah said.
While the duo’s success is still fresh, the pair is still trying to figure out how to go about their newfound success. “Probably in the last month, [or] in the last couple of weeks, we’ve had a lot of things surface and come in over the last couple of weeks,” Sarah said. “You’re catching us at a really neat place because we’re in so much discussion of what do we want to do.”
While the couple’s options might seem endless, they’re focused on going down that road at a pace comfortable to them and their family.
“Having three younger kids, I mean obviously, if you make a commitment to tour and be out there, there’s a lot more that goes into it,” Dustin said.
And if anyone knows the ups and downs of the music business, it’s former frontman Dustin. “The music world has changed so much in the sense that the internet has changed everything,” he said. “You can get your music out; you can be successful without needing a record label or major distribution… especially when you’re in our shoes, when success is an add-on to a full time job.”
“This is fun, not a career choice. And if it turns into a career, that’s all the better, but we don’t need it to make a fortune,” Dustin said. “It’s just a great outlet to have a lot of fun.”