Junior Love is drawing on a range of influences for his latest album 10 Hours to Mexico. Drawing on his personal experience of a long-distance romance and the eventual heartbreak, he lays out a story through his music. The conceptual album is told through four-acts. We sat down with Junior Love to talk about the album, his music, creative process, future plans and much more!
OSR: What first drew you to making music?
Junior Love: Music has always been a huge part of my life. My parents had giant collections of music that they had purchased back in the day. I still remember crates upon crates of tape cassettes and CDs in our house. 90’s Pop and R&B was the early soundtrack to my life. I was literally surrounded by music during my entire childhood. Eventually, I started to sing in my elementary school’s chorus. It was all uphill from there.
OSR: Your new album 10 Hours to Mexico is a conceptual album, can you tell us more about this?
Junior Love: I’d love to! My album is about my real-life journey travelling from Louisiana to Little Mexico, Texas to pursue a long-distance relationship 10 hours away. The album tells my story through the lens of pop music and begins the moment my feelings developed. As the album progresses, however, the journey becomes much less about my fantasies and much more about the realities that dealing with a long-distance relationship can bring.
OSR: What was your creative process for the album?
Junior Love: The album’s storyline was created around the song ‘Slow Down’ which was the first song I wrote for the album. The song itself details the excitement of travelling 10 hours for love and a cautious reminder for me to slow it down a little when it came to my feelings. After this song was written, I developed a timeline of my own events leading up to the travel and then ultimately my journey back home. After developing my timeline, I wrote music that matched my experiences and placed them in sequential order.
OSR: The album is told in four acts, how did you determine which songs in which act?
Junior Love: Yes! The album is divided into four acts with three songs in each act. The first act ‘Limerence’ is focused on the feelings of being completely head over heels and delusional for the one you claim to love. For this act, I focused all my energy on writing tracks that had obsessive elements to them. I wanted to really zone in on what it felt like to be at the mercy of my own attraction and racing thoughts.
The second act, ‘Road to Little Mexico’, is all about the journey. Here, I focused on my trip and the excitement leading up to the visit.
The third act is called ‘Anticlimax’. This is where my fantasy starts to fade, and reality starts to slowly set in. In this section of the album, I start to address more of the objective truths of my relationship and my own feelings.
The last act is ‘Homebound’ which focuses on the eventual acceptance of the end of my relationship. Though short-lived, I teach myself that it is okay to grieve and celebrate the relationship that I experienced.
OSR: What was the easiest and the hardest track to create?
Junior Love: The easiest song to write for the album was ‘Running with the Wolves’. That song is about my lover not being able to love themselves. They end up being forced to run away and eventually find their own pack. The words just seemed to slip out easily on that one. At first, I was angry and a lot of that anger and frustration seeped into the song’s verses. However, by the time I got to the chorus, I realized that I needed to have compassion, respect, and ultimately some understanding.
The hardest track for me to create was ‘Wicked Love’. I found myself trying hard not to say harsh and mean things about my ex. I wanted my album to be more than just a bitter break up album. There’s nothing wrong with those, but that’s just not me! So, I created ‘Wicked Love’ which shifted the power from my ex back onto myself. I wasn’t going to be caught up in the cycle of games we were participating in.
OSR: What was the biggest challenge you had when creating 10 Hours to Mexico?
Junior Love: The biggest challenge that I had was being honest with myself. What did I really want to say and how did I really want to say it? To be honest with you, I really didn’t have the answers to those questions until about half of the album was completed. I found myself going back and forth with myself on why I felt the way I did. I minimized a lot of my pain and realized eventually that I could bring that pain to life and eventually celebrate it.
OSR: Who do you feel influences your music the most?
Junior Love: My close friends and family would kill me if I said anyone else! (laughs) It’s absolutely Lady Gaga. While I have more accurate sonic influences, I definitely feel that for a large portion of my music, both her work and career have influenced my music the most. “Pop music will never be low brow” was a statement that ignited my passion for truly going full force and wanting to create great pop songs that people would love and dance to. For that reason, I’ll name her and her alone.
OSR: If you could have listeners take away one thing from the album, what would it be and why?
Junior Love: The one thing that I want listeners to take away from this album is that you should celebrate your heartbreak. Life is simply too short! Go through the motions, write those sad songs, binge on that ice cream, and then throw yourself a party. You’ll thank yourself later, I promise!
OSR: If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be and why?
Junior Love: If I could collaborate with any artist, it would have to be Janelle Monáe! Her mind is incredible. I am always impressed with how deep her conceptual ideas go and she’s a complete genius at what she does.
OSR: What do you have planned for the next 12 months?
Junior Love: The next 12 months are going to be busy! I’ll be recording new music, working on some virtual performances, and focused on spreading pop music galore.