Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist with 20 years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, and B-movies. Part time ninja. Kicked cancer’s ass. My memoir, ChemBro, is out now!
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Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Valley Latini isn’t originally from New York – she arrived in the U.S. at age 12 when her family immigrated from Colombia – but you get to call yourself a New Yorker if you’ve been gifted a bodega cat.
The friendly feline now lives with Latini’s parents, as the singer notes there’s much more room for a cat to leap, jump, and play, in a house versus an apartment.
Latini knows a thing or two about staying active – in addition to music, she paints, and is an exotic dancer. Most recently she released her first ballad, “Blue Moon.”
I caught up with Latini to find out more about her initial years in America, the diversity in her music, and the common thread that’s present throughout all of her artistic endeavors. She also discussed how she’s combating whorephobia, and who she’d like to see on OnlyFans.
Let's start off by talking about when you came to America, and what the journey, and adjustment, was like.
It was definitely a culture shock. I was very sheltered. I just always felt really safe with my parents, and I trusted them. When they told me (about the) move I was not that bummed out because I had just changed schools anyway, so I didn’t have that many friends, or I wasn’t that attached to the kids in that school. Well, I liked that school, but I was just kinda like I don’t have a choice but to go.
Yeah, at 12 they weren’t gonna be like, “You can stay here and fend for yourself.”
When I got to the U.S. I got to school immediately. I got to the eighth grade, and I only did like three months of the eighth grade because I came in late in the semester, and then I went into high school. I was a little early. I was a little young for high school. I had just turned 13.
Were you bilingual when you came over?
I was not. I didn’t speak any English. I learned English in school.
During the eighth grade, and all through my freshman year, I barely spoke English. The kids in school would like laugh at me because I was funny, but then I would think they were mocking me because of my accent, so that made me want to get better and prove them all wrong.
That’s a cool way to react to that, because I think some people would’ve just closed up.
My sophomore year I was speaking so much better English because I tried really hard.
Moving to your music, you recently released a new single titled “Blue Moon.” It’s very different from your previous releases. Is this a case of a constant artistic evolution, never wanting to do the same thing twice, or something else altogether?
Well, yes, my songs before, all of those songs are very different than “Blue Moon,” and I’m really glad you asked that question. Not a lot of people have asked me that. It is an evolution of my sound, and I have been working on the sound for a while, a few years, and it was just a matter of timing of releasing this song, “Blue Moon.”
I don’t think all songs should sound the same. Some of the best albums have different genres within the album, but in the end it’s still my sound, it’s still Valley Latini.
You are involved in a lot of different artistic endeavors. What do you get out of music that you don’t get out of your other crafts?
I’ve always been a musician. That’s what I identify myself as first. I’ve spoken the language of music since I was a little girl, so I just can’t imagine myself not doing music, or not having that outlet for self expression.
So were you the kid who was constantly putting on shows for your family, and winning talent competitions?
Well, I wasn’t winning any talent competitions, but I did do some little plays at home. I was just mainly always studying my favorite songs, pretending that I was singing in a big stadium. I would just daydream as a little girl, and I would write songs. Since I was a child I always loved writing.
When you were practicing other people’s songs, and imagining yourself in a stadium, who were some of the artists you were emulating?
When I was 11, oh my God, when I was 11 there used to be this Latin band called Rebelde. It was like this telenovela about these kids in high school, and they were like the coolest kids ever, and they started a band, and then they actually made songs and would go on real tours. It was like a telenovela, but also a real band. I loved them so much, and I would just pretend that I was in concert with them.
In addition to music you also paint, and you’re an exotic dancer. How do each of those crafts play into who you are as a person?
I started painting about a year, a year and a half ago, and I think painting has helped me develop my vision more, like where I am going with my artistic expression. It’s kind of cool to paint whatever comes out of you because it’s kind of like your inner world. It’s helped me understand my psychology, and my roots, and all of that. And it’s good for visual. I think people nowadays are so visual.
I’m telling a story through my paintings. I’m telling my story through my paintings, and my world in my paintings, so I’m glad people can see a peek of it.
Would you say there’s a common thread throughout all of your artistic endeavors?
There’s definitely a lot of sexiness, a lot of mystery. All my work is super ethereal, so it’s kind of like in an alternate dimension. That’s kind of where all my art exists.
I gotta say, in 2020 alternate dimensions seem like they’d be a pretty fun place to visit.
For sure. Yeah.
I was going through your Instagram and saw a post about whorephobia, and some of the comments you’ve received from whorephobes. First off, for those who many not fully understand what whorephobia is past the obvious definition, break it down for everyone.
From the years that I’ve been advocating for sex workers, which has been probably around three years, I’ve learned it’s the fear of a woman taking power in her sexuality.
I guess whorephobia is (also) the fear of sex workers. I feel people who have whorephobia, they don’t know their story, they’ve probably never met a sex worker that was out, so there’s a lot of shame surrounding that.
Do you find the comments from whorephobes hurtful, ignorant, or both?
They’re mostly draining.
I feel like a lot of the people that say it don’t even realize they’re being hurtful because they don’t know any better. That’s why it’s important for me to speak out about it. Education is the only way to enlighten people about a taboo topic.
I was about to ask how you’re going about attempting to change people’s minds, but I think you just answered that, it’s education.
Education, and the more sex workers that are out the more it will become normalized. The more opportunities that sex workers get in the real word, let’s say for a job, normalizing teachers having OnlyFans accounts. Teachers don’t really get paid that much, (so) stuff like that.
You seem like someone who is unafraid of pursuing whatever you’re passionate about, but tell me about something you’d like to do that you haven’t done yet.
I’ve never been on a Valley Latini tour, so I’d love to go on tour. I’d love to go abroad, but who knows, you never know when all of this COVID stuff will be better, so who knows. I’m just trying to live in the moment.
Aside from touring once the world is back to normal, what’s next for you? How are you hoping to close out 2020?
I’m gonna be releasing some more music, because I have an album coming out.
Tell everyone about the album.
The album is called Attention Lover, and it’s gonna be a seven track album. Nice and short. It will be released next year, probably around the spring, fingers crossed.
Is there a lover whose attention you’re trying to get with that album title?
Umm … I don’t know. I think the album title is about me. You know, I feel like people are so afraid to admit … to be real with themselves … I think the title is about me, for sure.