2020 saw Runaway June say goodbye to one of the trio’s founding members, Hannah Mulholland, who chose to leave the trio to pursue other interests. It didn’t take long for remaining members Jennifer Wayne and Naomi Cooke to invite Natalie Stovall to join them instead, unaware that they would spend most of the year off the road because of the pandemic. While there were many challenges to not being able to tour, the silver lining was the chance for Wayne and Cooke to get to know Stovall better.
“It’s yet another love story, because everyone who has ever been in a group knows it’s like a marriage,” Wayne tells People. “But it really has been so special to us to have the time to get to know each other and write. If it wasn’t for the pandemic, we would have been right back on the road making music together.”
While Runaway June would have loved to have toured last year, including joining Luke Bryan on his postponed Proud to Be Right Here Tour, they soaked up their extended amount of time together, and focused on writing their next album instead.
“At a time when we didn’t know what was going to happen next, we concentrated on what we knew, and that was the fact that we loved each other and we absolutely love making music together,” Cooke reflects. “So, we put our heads down and got to work.”
“I absolutely know we wouldn’t be engaged right now,” Cooke says of the impact COVID-19 had on her relationship with Johnson. “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.”
“Love takes the back burner when you are gone so much,” she adds. “Especially when you travel for work, your relationship really suffers. 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.”