Runaway June was founded back in 2015 by Naomi Cooke, Jennifer Wayne, and Hannah Mulholland. Mulholland left the group in 2020, and has since been replaced by Natalie Stovall. The format of the group — three woman singing in perfect harmony — has drawn comparisons to country music legends The Chicks, but Runaway June definitely stands on its own.
Many of the songs the group writes and sings are about love, which makes sense: all three members of the band are in great places right now. Stovall and her husband James Bavendem have been married for 12 years; Cooke is planning her own wedding to Martin Johnson; and Wayne got engaged and married to Austin Moody in the span of a handful of months.
While those love stories are pretty spectacular on their own, it seems that the ongoing pandemic had something to do with each of them. In February 2021, Cooke explained to People, “I absolutely know we wouldn’t be engaged right now. Had the pandemic not happened, we wouldn’t have had the time to really bond like we did in the last year. I just think the whole pandemic and the fact that we were off the road just sped things forward.”
The members of Runaway June know a thing or two about love
Runaway June’s Naomi Cooke is extra appreciative of her current partner, and she admitted to People that the lifestyle of a musician can be hard on relationships. “Love takes the backburner when you are gone so much.” But she adds that she truly believes the global pandemic helped her see the relationship she and Martin Johnson share very clearly.
“Especially when you travel for work, your relationship really suffers,” she confessed. “Sometimes you make it through and sometimes you don’t. I think Martin and I were made to be together, so I definitely think we would make it through it, pandemic or not. But the time off certainly allowed us to really get to know each other like never before.”
Jennifer Wayne echoes the idea that finding love when you’re touring isn’t easy, and it takes work to hold on to it. “I have been through a lot of relationships and I just thought that whole ‘love at first sight’ thing was never going to happen,” the singer recalled. “But ever since our first date, we haven’t been apart.”
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