New York City is home to great singers, songwriters and performers from all walks of life. It is a place where dreams come true, where legends are born and where the world looks to see what’s next. If they were to look at just the right angle, they would notice the style and sound of Vali. This New York City-born songstress is a classically trained musician who aspires to become one of the greats. She is already on the verge as her song, “Ain’t No Friend Of Mine” continues to get pub at places like Rap-Up and BET.
Signed to Rostrum Records, the independent label responsible for giving us Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller — Vali has cemented herself as a thoroughbred talent with staying power. As we chronicle this colorful creative, this week’s First Look Friday is a lover, a fighter and an all-around dope individual. We sat down with her amidst all the craziness that’s been going on in the country since President Agent Orange took over the country to talk about her early influences, why her next project will be more of her than before and premiere the Nick Catchdubs remix to “Ain’t No Friend Of Mine,” which you can hear below. Enjoy!
Okayplayer: For those who have a passion for music, they honed their skills and practiced their craft. Who are your most cherished influences in music and why?
Vali: My most early influences were Beethoven, Mozart and Tchaikovsky. Both of my parents were classically trained musicians. I started piano lessons when I was three-years-old. Once I saw a Michael Jackson video though, and [it was then] I knew performing was something I wanted to do. Artists like Mariah Carey and Beyoncé were also huge influences to me, vocally, and I would imitate them in my mirror and shake my body like Beyoncé till I started getting actual dance training.
OKP: Can you talk about how your life was while developing as an artist? How did you react to your first bits of press?
V: New York is an amazing place to develop as an artist. I did a lot of things on my own because being a performer was something I really wanted to do. I would crash auditions and sign in as my mom so I could be seen the jobs. My mom didn’t even believe it was real when I booked my first commercial because she didn’t know I was even auditioning for jobs.
OKP: With incidents involving people of color, police and racist occurring almost on a daily basis around the globe — how can your music (and/or others) help to relieve the trauma that is being experienced by the masses?
V: I really think it is an artist’s job to inspire people to come together, not separate them. Artists like Bob Marley inspire me so much because it’s not just about the artist as much as it is about the music and the way it makes people feel. There has always been racism and incidents involving people of color, this has never changed. I think as artists we can inspire people to change their mindsets. We can bring awareness in an artistic way not using violence or hate as our vehicle.