Runaway June Makes the Country Pilgrimage Back to OC

Runaway June

Despite only having a handful of songs available for public consumption, the ladies of Runaway June have already seen the kind of success that most country artists only dream about. With singles like “Lipstick” and “Wild West” each cracking the Top 50 for Billboard’s country charts, the Nashville-based trio has been so busy with tours and promotions that their debut record still hasn’t released yet after two years of on-and-off development.

But as excited as Jennifer Wayne, Naomi Cooke, and Hannah Mulholland are to be able to give their fans the new tunes they’ve been waiting on, the most important thing to them is that their listeners can connect with each track. If their new single “Buy My Own Drinks” is any indication, the catchy country vocalists’ latest work will stick just as well as their first two hits.

“Our goal is just to make music that touches people and that people love,” Wayne says. “The positive reactions and feedback we get from it make all the travel and everything worthwhile. With ‘Lipstick,’ our favorite compliment that we would get is when moms thank us for making music that’s positive for their daughters. We love that because we want to put out a good message, so that’s a big compliment for us.”

Considering that a mutual friend introduced the three songwriters to each other only a few years ago, the band’s quick rise may come as a surprise to some. But with each coming in with numerous songwriting credits already to their names, it didn’t take long for the trio to click with each other and then catch on with fans and industry folk alike.

After getting signed from their first public performance, Wayne and her bandmates realized they were on to something. For the granddaughter of John Wayne (yes, that John Wayne), it was apparent that her pilgrimage to Tennessee had finally paid off after spending nearly a decade performing with other groups and writing songs for other artists.

“It was very difficult to leave home because I’m the only one in my family who has ever left California,” Wayne says. “It was scary, but I knew the best country music songwriters in the world were in Nashville. It’s the country music capital of the world, so I knew I had to make the move. I thought ‘California will always be there, so if I don’t like it in Nashville, I can always move back.’ But I fell in love with Nashville. The community is amazing, and I get to work with songwriters who are 100 times better than I am. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Tonight, Wayne gets to return to her hometown when Runaway June opens for Hunter Hayes at the OC Fairgrounds as part of the Pacific Amphitheatre Summer Concert Series. Of course, aside from serving as the perfect opportunity to blend SoCal culture with Nashville’s music scene, the event will also be as much a part of a massive family reunion as it is a regular concert.

“It’s cool for us because [bandmate] Hannah Mulholland is also from California, so we kind of have this ‘California country’ vibe and style,” Wayne says. “My aunt said my family has 150 people coming [to the show] and that she feels bad for Hunter Hayes because all of these people are coming for us. I was just laughing like ‘I think Hunter will be just fine.’”

Runaway June, Hunter Hayes, and Coffey Anderson will be performing tonight (August 1) at 7:00 p.m. at the Pacific Amphitheatre. Tickets start at $40, include admission to the OC Fair, and are available through the venue’s website.

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