• All Ages Welcome
• Vinyl is a general admission, standing room venue
• Tickets available online via Ticketalternative.com or without ticket fees in person at the Center Stage Box Office, M-F, 11-6. Online sales end at 4pm on day of show
Ashly Williams is the soul. Gabby Carrierio is the free spirit. Shyann Roberts brings the youthful sass. Brienna DeVlugt is the go-getter. And Kristal Lyndriette is the heart. Together, they make up R&B vocal group June’s Diary. Formed while competing on BET Network’s “Chasing Destiny,” the five women were picked by Kelly Rowland and Manager/Creative Director Frank Gatson to shape a dynamic Epic Records quintet.
Hearkening back to the beloved era when TLC, En Vogue, Spice Girls and Destiny’s Child reigned supreme, June’s Diary embodies the revival of sisterhood in a time when girl groups are scarce. The limelight is ablaze with solo artists, but the women of June’s Diary believe in camaraderie. “Share the light, sparkle brighter,” says Gabby. “That’s our motto,” adds Kristal. Also, The name of Gatson's first book he is writing..
The resonant voices and infectious hooks, coupled with the group’s searing, rubbery, R&B bounce just feels good. “It’s what you’ve been missing,” says Ashly. They revive the luring and fun qualities of the ‘90s and early ‘00’s R&B while also creating the new wave of the genre.
Finding inspiration in everything from gospel to hip-hop and trap, June’s Diary pay homage to genres they love while making each track their own. “We put the trend in there, but with a twist,” says Shyann. Adds Kristal, “We R&B them out.”
In June, the ladies followed the release of “All of Us,” which hit No. 1 on iTunes’ R&B charts, “It’s Alright” and their cover of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” with the sexy kiss-off track “L.A.N.C.E.” Premiering during the 2016 BET Awards Pre-Show, the song’s message is summed up in the chorus: “He’s just a lying ass ni**a cheating every day / But he might fool you from the way he talk below the waist / He’s just a lying ass ni**a cheating everyday / If you got a L.A.N.C.E., then put your hands up.” “It’s our ‘Tyrone’ song,” says Shyann, referencing Erykah Badu’s memorable kiss-off track.
“L.A.N.C.E.” offers a taste of what’s to come on June’s Diary’s four-song EP.
The EP will spark the desire for more from these women, especially after hearing each ladies’ stunning voice. “I’m an alto, but I can do tenor,” says Ashly. “Gabby is a tenor and has that bass that you need. Brienna is a high soprano, but she can also do alto. Kristal does all things, but she has that sweet something. And Shyann, her tone is just magic.”
“Kelly and Frank picked five great singers who can actually sing,” adds Shyann. “You don’t get that every day.” It’s safe to say none of these gals are hiding in the shadow of another. “Once I did the show and met so many amazing, talented women,” says Ashly, “I realized it was what I needed for my soul, and specifically we need that in our industry; more girls to come together for black girl magic.”
When the “Chasing Destiny” cameras stopped rolling the girls were left with the daunting task of zeroing in on a group name. Kristal and Ashly sum up how June’s Diary came to be. “June is the month where we kind of spiritually came together,” says Kristal. “We’ve been together since February, but June is the month where it all came together. June is the brightest month of the year. It represents joy and happiness. That’s where we are as a group.” Adds Ashly, “And diary is pretty much us writing our stories and constantly putting words down on paper and sharing that with the fans.”
What was the aha moment behind their spiritual connection? Brienna digs in a little deeper. “When you have five girls, you have to figure each other out and talk to each other and learn how to communicate. We got along, but once you live together there are just little bumps in the road, and you figure out, OK I’m going to talk to so and so about this, and we’re going to hug it out. It just felt like we figured out how to do that really well in June.”
The backgrounds of the ladies of June’s Diary are testaments to just how well-rounded they are and how they’re poised to use their voices to empower women. Hailing from Compton, California, Ashly won a spot in the adult choir around the age of nine. As she grew up she told herself, “’I’m not confident enough to be a superstar. I’ll never make it as a singer.’ I think it had something to do with my chocolate skin and my acne." After high school, she attended UC Berkeley. “I always told myself that I was going to be a doctor,” she says. “My mom was addicted to drugs and I wanted to cure people who couldn’t cure themselves.” Still curious about a career in the music industry, she toured with Keyshia Cole, J. Holiday and Trey Songz, recorded with Dr. Dre and auditioned for “The X Factor.” But June’s Diary feels like her true calling.
Since her father was a bass player, Gabby grew up around music in Glendale, California. She became a choir kid in the seventh grade, but admits she “didn’t think it was very practical to be a singer.” She thought she’d blaze a trail in psychology. “Now that I do sing,” she says. “I try to think about who the hell I was before, and I don’t know.”
Shyann, the youngest member of June’s Diary, started singing at the age of two back in her hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida. She knew she wanted to be a singer by age four. Her parents, who met while singing, were nothing but encouraging. “My mom quit her job to help me pursue music, so there was no giving up,” she says. And though her stint on the “American Idol” spinoff “American Juniors” didn’t pan out, nothing discouraged her. “Singing makes me feel alive,” she says. “There is something about hearing good music and then when you know you can sing, you just leave it all out on the stage. That’s my therapy.”
Brienna’s father was a member of the New Jersey R&B four-piece P.O.V. “So I was born into singing as well,” says the Trenton, New Jersey, native. She spent large chunks of her childhood in the studio with her father, sang in church and performed in musicals in high school. Though she “never really thought of anything but music,” her mother discouraged her from pursuing a singing career after Brienna’s father’s record deal fell apart. So she began modeling. But after attending Rutgers University in New Jersey and constantly being asked to sing in clubs in New York, she couldn’t run from her desire to sing anymore, so she made attempts toward a solo career, as well as with a group. But June’s Diary is the opportunity she’s longed for.
Raised by a bass player and singer, Kristal started singing in church in Charlotte, North Carolina, around age six. “Music chose me,” she says. At age 12 she traveled to Los Angeles to “get in front of labels and sing.” It was her first taste of rejection. But by age 14 she’d signed her first deal with production duo The Underdogs (Mary J. Blige, Justin Timberlake). Later, she sang in the girl group RichGirl, who opened for Beyonce during her “I Am...” outing. Singing background for Usher on his “UR Experience” tour and backup for Stevie Wonder on his “Songs in the Key of Life” tour followed. She also performed in a Las Vegas show with En Vogue’s Terry Ellis. Now a member of June’s Diary, Kristal says, “I can’t believe I’m sitting here, and I have another chance. I always knew I was going to be a singer. Ain’t no plan b.”
With a vast array of influences from Whitney Houston to Brandy, Destiny’s Child, The Beatles, Talking Heads, Yolanda Adams, The B-52’s, Spice Girls, Rihanna and Celine Dion, the five women of June’s Diary are determined to appeal to a wide audience.
“We’re just five girls who go through the same things as everyone else,” says Ashly. “We want to touch people and inspire people. As extraordinary as we are, we’re definitely ordinary. We want to show people that we’re regular, and you can do whatever the hell we can do. It’s important to self-love. You are enough. It’s needed now.” Adds Gabby, “We embrace each other. You see my mess, and you see me, and we accept that, and there’s something very beautiful about five girls who were randomly thrown together saying, Here, like each other and create music, and we’re doing it.”
Looking ahead, Brienna says June’s Diary’s goal is simple: “We want to make history.”