NXTSTYLE’s 2020 Songs of the Summer: VALERIE “LOCKDOWN”
INTRODUCING NXTSTYLE’S 'SONGS OF THE SUMMER,' HIGHLIGHTING OUR FAVORITE TRACKS WE'VE DISCOVERED THIS SUMMER. OVER 70 SONGS FROM NEW AND INDEPENDENT ARTISTS FORM OUR SUMMER 2020 SOUNDTRACK. TODAY WE FEATURE VALERIE. THE CANADIAN SINGER/SONGWRITER HAS IMPRESSIVE VOCAL ABILITY GIVING US VIBES OF THOSE GREAT POWERHOUSE VOCALISTS OF THE PAST. SHE STARTED THE YEAR OFF IN A BIG WAY AND IF HER CURRENT SINGLE IS ANY INDICATION SHE’LL HAVE A GREAT REST OF THE YEAR TOO. LEARN MORE ABOUT VALERIE IN OUR FEATURED INTERVIEW.
“LOCKDOWN” may be my first quarantine-theme song that I’ve loved. The way you integrated love and relationship into this song was so natural and can be relatable to an audience in different ways. Talk about how this song came together and what you hope it brings to others?
Thank you! I’m so glad you’re enjoying it. I guess my approach wasn’t to make a quarantine song, maybe that’s why it works.
The song began when I was hanging out with a couple of songwriter friends, Luke Doerge and Noa. It had just been announced that Toronto would be undergoing a 2 week shut down (2 weeks lol.. isn’t that cute). An ex fling of mine reached out and the feelings that ensued sparked the idea. I felt so annoyed by his reappearance that I said out loud as if it were to him “It only took lockdown for you to come back around!” which became the chorus. The song really took its soulful shape when my extremely talented singer, songwriter and pianist friend J3m, finished the song with me on piano.
For me, this song is my closure. I filled it with lyrics that I wish I had said and never got to. I hope it brings listeners a similar sense of closure and catharsis as they loudly scream the chorus and imagine confronting that person in their life who just couldn’t commit.
Listening to “LOCKDOWN” was such a delight. I couldn’t help but be reminded of those powerhouse vocalists of the 90’s when listening. What artists if any are you influenced by?
Oh yes! I love the powerhouse vocalists of the 90’s, so thank you! My mom would probably try to take credit right about now and say it’s because she used to play a lot of that kind of music when she was pregnant with me in the 90’s lol! Vocally I’m inspired by a wide range of contemporary vocalists, however, since we’re talking the 90’s, I’ll say my favourites of that era are Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, Brandy to name a few legends.
``LOCKDOWN`` NXTSTYLE'S 'SONGS OF THE SUMMER'
I loved seeing that 10 years ago you were at the same concert you would be opening up for this past New Years Eve. What was it like to open for Bryan Adams and Walk The Moon?
It was truly surreal.. I fully feel like I manifested that moment. I remember being in that audience 10 years prior with my best friend, Bianca. I recall being in the audience and turning around so that I could face the tens of thousands of people behind me. I took in the spectacle and imagined this being my view from the stage one day… Low and behold, there I was 10 years later no longer having to imagine that view.
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Let’s manifest a little more..what artists and/or producers would you love to work with in the next year?
There’s so many I’ve been inspired by and it changes on the daily. So as of today’s mood, I would love to work with female producer Kito. She’s honestly so dope, and we need more female producers in the mainstream. On the songwriting front, I’d like to write with Jkash. He’s a sick writer but also he was doing Instagram lives for young artists and I got to show him my music and he liked it so that might just work itself out. Artist wise, I’d love to collaborate with Tove Lo, Doja Cat and Nina Nesbitt, I’m of course a fan of their work but I also feel like we’d have a lot of fun writing together.
A fun fact about you is that not only are you a great singer you’re also a vocal coach. Tell us about that part of your career and what it means to help other singers find their voice. What’s one tip a young vocalist should know?
Thank you! I have being a vocal coach to thank for where I am today vocally. I currently coach at Lawson Vocal Studios under the guidance of the notorious Lorraine Lawson. Learning from Lorraine has not only made me a great coach but also a better artist, vocalist and performer. She is just a huge source of inspiration, encouragement and knowledge.
I’ve also further developed my craft by teaching as I am constantly learning while I teach since I must be a good example for the student. This responsibility really keeps me on my A-game. The reward is not only my own improvement, but in watching someone learn something they never thought was previously possible. I highly encourage any one who has enough information about anything to teach.
My best advice would be to listen to singers of all different genres and take from them what you like to piece together your own authentic voice. It’s a concept called “Stealing Like an Artist” which is a short book about a healthy way to be influenced by other peoples art.
2020 has been a challenging year for many. From the pandemic to social uprising has the events of this year changed your perspective on life and relationships? Do you see it impacting your songwriting beyond “LOCKDOWN”?
2020 has been wild to say the least. I feel like this year has been one big growing pain in every way possible. I’ve experienced artist growth, Personal growth, and social awareness and activism has been higher on my list of priorities now more than ever. To quote myself, it really had to take a lockdown to figure it out.
I would say my view on life and relationships has amplified. I’ve always known that at any moment the world as we know it could change but now I truly feel the weight of the uncertainty of life. It feels as though every morning there is something new to be devastated about. As depressing as that may sound it is also a reminder to live each day with gratitude, because the world doesn’t owe us tomorrow. To me that means loving everyone in my life a little harder, being louder in what I believe, not minimizing myself for anyone, and also not being so afraid of the inevitable change, because we can and will adapt.
My songwriting has changed in that last year I was co-writing a LOT now I really prefer to go back to the basics and write alone. I also had some fun learning how to use Logic Pro in fact on August 28th I will be releasing a self-written and produced song called “No More Bad Dreams”.
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When things go back to “normal”, I want to travel. Squeeze my friends. Kiss. Hug my nonna. See a concert. Perform. Write in a cafe. Lie on the grass of a public park. Go to a movie theatre. Support a local business without takeaway. Be in a crowded room. I miss these privileges. I took these things for granted. I don’t ever want to take another minute for granted again.
As we head into the second half of the year what can fans expect from you?
They can expect a steady stream of new music! Firstly, on August 28th “Lockdown” will be released on Spotify along with my new song “No More Bad Dreams”. I’ve also been finishing up an EP project with Mike Tompa with hopes to have the first single release in the late fall.
Is there a charity that means a lot to you that you urge others to look into?
At the time of writing this, there has been a devastating explosion in Beirut, Lebanon. I’d like to take this opportunity to link and support this charity, Humanitarian Coalition which provides impactful assistance after this horrific incident.
This charity, Save The Children, specifically targets the effected children.
Also, you can also check out this https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vSrT26HMWX-_hlLfiyy9s95erjkOZVJdroXYkU-miaHRk58duAnJIUWKxImRkTITsYhwaFkghS8sfIF/pub”>link for all updates on BLM info and resources.
VALERIE's Top 5 songs this summer:
- Tove Lo “Glad He’s Gone”<—— this song is everything
- Doja Cat “Rules”
- NASAYA “PATTERNS”
- 5SOS “Wild Flower”
- The 1975 “If you’re too shy let me know
Listen to all of our featured artist’s favorite songs of the summer on our special Spotify playlist.
VALERIE’s ‘Firsts and Favorites’
First song you fell in love with: Probably “Californication” by Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
Favorite vacation: Italy
First concert: High School Musical tour.. I was in grade 5 and Zack Efron wasn’t on the tour and I’m STILL mad about it lol.
Favorite thing to do outside of music: Eat! I’m a big foodie.
First performance: School Idol singing competition in grade 6.
BROWSE ALL OF OUR ‘SONGS OF THE SUMMER’ INTERVIEWS
MUSIC IN 2020 INTERVIEW SERIES
WE INTERVIEWED MUSIC PROS AND TASTEMAKERS TO GET THEIR PERSPECTIVE ON WHERE MUSIC IS HEADED AND TO DISCOVER WHAT NEW MUSIC THEY'RE LISTENING TO.
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THE ‘NEXT IN MUSIC’ PLAYLIST
Discover a wide range of new music we’ve recently added including our featured songs of the summer. Follow the ‘NEXT in Music’ playlist on Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud.