Edward Burnett sits down to talk to American powerhouse singer Valencia ahead of her new single release 'Amen'. She talks about her songwriting process, the pre-single release nerves and her love for travelling.
RnRR: Hi Valencia! How are you doing? Would you mind explaining your act and genre to readers that are unfortunate enough not to have heard your music?
VALENCIA: Hey, I’m doing fantastic! Of course not! My act/genre is Contemporary R&B. The base of it is R&B but you’ll hear a lot of different influences from sounds inspired by pop, soul, electronic, classical, and more! I love a good unique creative sound, it makes my soul happy.
RnRR: You mention that your music has many influences, who would you say were you’re biggest influences growing up and who inspired you to go professional on the music scene?
VALENCIA: Ooo, great question! I was influenced by so many dope individuals it’s hard to say. A lot of old school artists for sure like Prince and Chaka Khan. If I had to name just a few that I really obsessed over (laughs) it would be Solange, India Arie, and Janelle Monae! Also, the creativity that Missy Elliot exhibits so effortlessly visually, is so inspiring. As far as who inspired me to go professional on the music scene, first off I would definitely have to give a big shoutout to my group of loved ones who continuously encouraged me and still do even to this day. Finally, my vocal Coach Ametria Dock also, who a few years ago helped groom and build up my confidence which made me realize the direction I wanted to go in. I had never had that kind of mentorship before so it was so important for me.
RnRR: While we are talking about going professional, how did it feel when you got your first music out into the world? When it was official and you’d got your own published song out there, what was that like? Can you give any words of inspiration for artists and bands who are on that step currently, ready to make the jump or trying to?
VALENCIA: The first song I ever released was ‘Seasons’ and I don’t think words do justice to the feelings I had during the time of its release really. I was a ball of emotions and nerves. I was putting out a work that was now available for strangers and recognized faces to judge, possibly hate, or love! Yet at the same time, it was mine. My art that I had finally shared with everyone. Luckily, the feedback for the song was so overwhelmingly amazing that it encouraged me to keep doing what I’m doing. What an amazing feeling. I encourage artists and bands to leap. You have to start! Feel your feelings, both nerves and excitement, but don’t allow them to tell you to quit or not to put out your work. Also, utilize the beauty of the digital world to your advantage and share your gift with as many people you can. And finally, take the time to learn and study how to best release your music. Be a master of your craft and know that I’m rooting for you!
RnRR: On the topic of upcoming artists, who have you been listening to recently that’s caught your ears in particular? Anything or anyone during the pandemic that you’ve been playing on repeat a lot?
VALENCIA: Ah, fun question! I think I’ve had Teyana Taylor and Victoria Monet playing the most as of late! Also, I’ve had ‘My Future’ by Billie Eilish on repeat! I’m obsessed. She’s definitely one of my favorites!
RnRR: Some great picks there from some talented women in the music industry. Let’s now move onto your music personally and more specifically your latest track, ‘Vibe’. The single recently hit 100 thousand streams on Spotify. What was the thought process behind this song and what does it’s lyrics and purpose mean to you as it’s creator?
VALENCIA: Oh my god yes, that was so exciting. The crazy thing is, as much as I wish there were this unique story and process surrounding the making of it, it really was just a matter of it made me feel good as I was writing the lyrics to the music. I pretty much freestyled it and BOOM, there was ‘Vibe’! I think I completed it in like 30-45 min, if that. The lyrics basically reminded me of good times, childhood memories, and happiness. The purpose definitely became to make the listener feel good inside.
RnRR: An incredibly short writing process for such a powerful song! With that in mind, would you say that the process of creating your fresh new single was the same? What does this song mean to you know that you’ve already got a budding discography to your name? Do you now feel settled as a professional and chilled in the real ease of music or do those nerves and that sense of anticipation never leave you?
VALENCIA: Thank you! Oh I kind of wish the writing processes were the same. But my new single, ‘Amen’ was the complete opposite! There was a story behind it, and it seemed like it took forever to complete. It was one of those songs that I had to keep coming back to before finally finishing. I began writing it 01/01/2019! And here we are well over a year later finally about to see it released on 16/10/2020. Writing can be so tricky sometimes! But the process is still one I’ll never not appreciate and love. This song means “bring on the challenge!” It’s runner up after ‘Vibe’, so I think the pressure is totally different for me. I feel more settled but I think I feel more of a personal battle with myself as a perfectionist and wanting to outdo what I previously did. I know this isn’t super healthy, but that’s where I am! I don’t think I’ll ever get over the “anticipation” feeling but the nerves I had when I first released a song have definitely evolved into more of an excitement feeling.
RnRR: After the release of ‘Amen’, what does the future hold for you? Are you planning any socially distanced gigs and shows or is ‘Amen’ going to feature in a larger project further down the road like another studio album or EP?
VALENCIA: I hope to start preparing more events (digitally and social distance approved) that will allow me to continue to connect and engage with my audience. They definitely deserve that. I do have a couple already lined up that I hope you’ll stay tuned for. As far as it being a feature on another EP or an album, I won’t get any hopes up but I will say, after its release I will be in complete writers mode! I have some super dope individuals I’ll be working with— so I’m pretty excited!
RnRR: Do you find that collaborations can be the most fulfilling of musical projects? What do you see as the pros and cons of working with other artists on songs?
VALENCIA: I think they are important for several reasons. I can’t wait to do more! When collaborate with other artists I feel like the pressure is on. It’s a challenge to want to do your best. A friendly competition almost but in the best way possible. I feel like it’s always a plus to feed off another creatives energy. Which is a pro in my opinion. Another pro is being able to be introduced to each others’ audiences! That’s so important if you’re looking to expand your fanbase. I think a con could definitely be possibly not seeing eye to eye, or having a different vision. But at the end of the day, it’s all a learning experience that’s more than likely needed.
RnRR: Now moving away from the music, what would you say your biggest hobbies and interests are other than songwriting? Have you mastered any new talents during lockdown amid the pandemic?
VALENCIA: I absolutely LOVE creative writing. That’s why I enjoy directing all of my music videos. But something totally outside of music that I absolutely love is traveling! If I weren’t an artist I’m pretty sure I’d be a traveler or vlogger. Ah, during the pandemic I’ve definitely locked in on growing in my craft. I’ve been studying a lot of music business but aside from that I’ve been practicing dancing more! It’s kind of embarrassing but fun (laughs)!
RnRR: What would you say your favourite country you’ve traveled to and why? Is there anywhere you’re yet to go to that you’ve been wanting to visit?
VALENCIA: I have a few favorites (the United Kingdom being one!) but the experiences I have had in the Netherlands, Amsterdam specifically, are just irreplaceable. I go pretty much every year for King’s Day! Such a beautiful place. Yes! I’m so ready to explore places in Africa. I also want to head down to South America too.
RnRR: Finally, the most important question which I ask all our Spotlight guests, if you’re deserted on an island and you can only ever play one album ever again for the rest of your days, what are you taking with you and why?
VALENCIA: Oh my god! This is literally the hardest question you could have ever asked me. (Laughs), yikes! I would bring a greatest hits of all time compilation album because listen, I have ADHD and I need a switch up from time to time! I’ll leave it up to the viewers to decide which one it’ll be.
RnRR: A good answer to make sure the music stays fresh even when repeated continuously! Thanks for your time Valencia and good luck for the future, we will be sure to update the page of any news or releases from your camp! ‘Amen’ is available now to stream via Spotify.
If you would like to keep up to date with Valencia or find out more about her and her music, the links to all her socials are below via the icons: