For ice-dyed popster Vali, a bombshell blend of Black, Native American, Russian, and creative wave algorithms widely non-categorized though fan appreciated and warmly embraced, music is more mod mag than facade hashtag. Her unpredictable variations of abstract art in the form of sound bares a remarkable resemblance to Bardot beauty and Poitier poise, one that may appear futuristic at first glance but is more accurately SoHo news meets Minskoff Theater. Study the girls flow, high on motion and emotion, and you’ll soon inhale rain-stained windowpanes and Victorian gardens. Vali’s magnetism is perceptibly enigmatic on purpose – like a 4G cursor cursing in OG cursive. Somehow she is printing without paper: “My music is a vintage fashion magazine. I loved the fashion and vibe of the fifties and sixties,” Vali begins. “Everything looked faded and out-of-focus, but it was still beautiful, pure, real, and raw in a different way,” she continues, adding: “I’m not so HD.”
Written by Tone Swep
Vali grew up all over New York City, from Lower Manhattan’s Greenwich Village to historic Harlem. She attended fame incubator LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts – like Eartha Kitt, Jennifer Anniston, Al Pacino and Nicki Minaj – and later the Hartt School of Music in Connecticut. Talent and timing soon landed the hardworking live performer in global touring productions of West Side Story and Hairspray, and also in the coveted recording company of a diverse range of musicians, including Steven Tyler and Wiz Khalifa. Now, having teamed up with legendary fame-shaping Creative Director Laurieanne Gibson, Vali collaborated with producer T-Baby for “Ain’t No Friend of Mine” (ANFOM), the first single from her Vali EP. The Rostrum Records artist is well positioned to win. The singer/songwriter recently connected with DOPE MAG editor Tone Swep after her live performance at 1 Oak in Los Angeles to sit down and speak up about exchanging energy, velvet furnishings, honest emotions, and why life for her is truly a movie scene. That’s magic.
(Tone Swep: TS) We should talk about Harlem, fun settlement to discuss. How did the city shape your worldview as both a person and artist?
(Vali) Growing up in the center of New York’s music, culture, theatre and art scene is what fueled me to become a performer. I saw the culture every single day, so all I ever wanted was to be on stage and share my voice.
(TS) You have been performing new material all year; just killed a show at 1 Oak on Sunset. Talk a bit about your sound and its vintage glam mag mirror.
(Vali) It’s a feeling and a vibe not just a sound. ANFOM is a movement, a movie. Like a magazine. I live in that world.
(TS) You know, there exists these encounters in which we meet individuals who seem vacant, hollow. Why do you feel those souls lack residence and are unfurnished?
(Vali) I can only inspire them through my music to wake up their spirit which is innately in all of us. I hope to tap into that empty house and fill it with furniture, preferably velvet.
(TS) What is true freedom to you? How does one attain it?
(Vali) Freedom is not living in your head. You attain it by not overthinking things.
(TS) Is the cost of freedom too high? Or is the struggle to acquire it worth its weight in gold?
(Vali) The only cost of freedom, in my opinion, is time and patience. Is the journey worth it? Absolutely.
(TS) Energy transfers from one object, person, or form to another; never really ceases – just continues to convert and exchange. Provide us with an instance in which you expended an immense amount of energy – where did it go? What did you receive in return?
(Vali) The energy I give out on stage goes off into the people and the atmosphere, which in turn inspires me to continue to fight for my own dreams. It’s an exchange of energy. It’s beautiful.
(TS) You are managed by the legendary Harlee Gibson, a genius in the arena of creative direction. What type of artsy edifice have you two creative architects constructed thus far?
(Vali) We’ve created a world that has no boundaries. I can’t wait for you guys to go there.
(TS) We have these dreams, right? Like in our sleep and shit, so from that very instance that dream is ours. We possess it, we birthed it, it belongs to us. Yet, we’re told that the dreams we have must be chased and pursued and recreated time and again. Why?
(Vali) We are all born with the seeds of dreams. But we still have to flower, nurture and grow them for them to become tangible.
(TS) With the Vali EP set to drop soon, you’re about to have your world unlock. What, for you, was the code to the safe?
(Vali) The code for me was staying honest to my emotions and writing melodies that connected with whatever it was I was feeling.
(TS) Do you believe in magic? If so, what is magical about what you believe in?
(Vali) Yes! Of course! magic is supernatural and it stems from a feeling. It happens between people’s energy connecting together and flowing to a place of ecstasy. It’s a feeling of euphoria. The feeling of power and that nothing can stop you.
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