Most people felt lost (and still do) during the pandemic. However, this did not stop Valeria Wolf. As the pandemic began and she experienced the end of what she considers her first real heartbreak, instead of getting sad and indulging in this feeling, she used it a time to start her music journey. Although she is still navigating her way, her music is already so promising.
Valeria recently released her latest single, Aire, alongside the music video (below). It's honestly just a glimpse at her talent and what her future work will offer. Last week I had a chance to talk to Valeria and it was honestly such a treat. We started off with a nice ice-breaker and the rest is down below:
D.O.M.E: So, I see that you released your first single on June 23. Not everyone would think of starting their music career during quarantine/on-going pandemic. Did you ever think of waiting until it was "over" or were you like, "screw it, I'm going to go through with it and release this"?
Valeria: You see, I had spent a lot of time doing "nothing. Like nothing. I was in this funk. When I was in school, I was day dreaming a lot and when everyone graduated, all my friends went off to college and I spent a year without doing anything. When quarantine "hit", that's when I figured out what I wanted to do and I started going to music classes. When the pandemic began, I started taking this seriously. But I was determined to not waste anymore time and that is when I started writing and give it my all. I took [the pandemic] as an opportunity because everyone was in the same position I was [i.e referring to people staying at home].
D.O.M.E: So I was watching a few interviews in which you mentioned that you experienced a heartbreak and it used it as a catalyst to write "Aire". I want to be careful when phrasing this. When one thinks about quarantine and heartbreak in general, it's not really a happy time. How would you say this helped your creative process?
Valeria: I think each person handles a break up differently. This was my first real relationship. And my first real breakup. I didn't know how to handle it. At first I was really sad, then I wasn't. In a way, I think many artists, including myself, are very sensitive and sometimes I don't like showing it. So I have a hard time letting those feelings out. Once I processed the feelings from that situation, I kind of put them in the back of my mind. It wasn't until I sat down and started writing music that I could finally say it the way I wanted. In a way, it was very therapeutic. Sometimes it's good to feel those kinds of emotions because at least you are feeling something.
It was very therapeutic to be able to sort of embrace those feelings instead of pushing them away. I used it to make something cool and it came out. It was my way of processing it.
D.O.M.E: I understand that feeling of "it's better to feel something." I'm glad you were able to express those feelings. So, how did the idea for the video come about?
Valeria: The video came about because my friend, who took my photos for the EP, made a videoclip that I liked and I wanted her to make the video clip for the video. I told her to listen to the song and whatever comes to mind, write it down, and we can go from there. She was the one who sent me the script. I loved it. I did not change a single thing and said, "YES!". Everything she thought of, we included in the video.
D.O.M.E: Yeah it came out so good! So we touched on the heartbreak and all, but in reality, one could say that you are barely dipping your toes in the music industry. So how has your process been so far? Lyrics first? Melody? How was your process in the more technical aspect?
Valeria: I think it was destiny. I always took music classes but never payed attention. I was never good at school. Right before quarantine, I was taking it more seriously. I started talking to friends and professors and they would tell me "yeah you sing well". But in my mind I would freak out because I felt like I didn't know what to do and I started asking more questions.
I always wrote songs growing up but they were those "ugly" songs one writes when one is young. Like when you thought you were Hannah Montana. When I wrote my first song, the lyrics came first. It's called "Cachitos de Mango" (which is on the EP). When I learned more about music, I wrote the instrumentals to it and went from there. I showed it to my school friends and they liked it so it helped me gain confidence. I thought, "maybe I am not as bad as I thought I was".
You know, each song is different. It depends on the mood. With "Aire", I had some lyrics in mind then wrote a few bars on the piano, then messed around, and it came out. There are times I only have the lyrics and there are other times I only have the instrumentals, but it depends on the mood. Usually, I'll have some instrumentals, some lyrics, and then figure it out. And yeah.
D.O.M.E: Yeah it's good that you are finding your own approach to music. In one interview you mentioned that you didn't want to be boxed into one genre, are there other genres you would like to explore? Can you elaborate on what you meant in that interview?
Valeria: Well these are the first songs I have ever written (referring to the ones on the EP), and I wasn't thinking so much about the genre. They just came to be and I wasn't thinking too much in what genre. Now that I have more experience, a year more, I have more confidence in saying, "I like this genre, I'd like to do something here". I don't think it's cool to close yourself up to one genre because I am always changing, we are always changing. I will not box myself up now because I don't know what I will like later. For example, right now I'm very (always have been) into R & B, hip-hop, soul, and all that. That's the vibe I want to explore. Maybe in a year, I want to explore rock. Let's see what happens and if it's cool, we'll do it. That's what I meant.
D.O.M.E: Yeah of course, humans are always changing. Change is good whether it's wanted or not. The reason I also ask is because in an interview, you mentioned that you would like to collaborate with Girl Ultra and artists alike. I'm wondering, are there any U.S-based artists you would like to collaborate with in the future?
Valeria: That's hard! There's so many that I like. Well, Mac Miller is "my love" and although he is not with us, he would have been my top choice forever. I love Willow, Will Smith's daughter. I like what she is doing. Who else? Anderson Paak. That would be a dream. It all seems so distant but anything can change. I am also a fan of Harry Styles, but I don't think I could do a duet with him because I would feel so intimidated. Ha-ha.
D.O.M.E: Yeah, shoot for the stars! Well... sometimes I like looking up the Instagram of whoever I am interviewing, to see if I find something I want to bring up. I saw a post of yours that caught my attention. It spoke about self love and being authentic to one's self. How did you come to the realization of, "I'm going to be who I am" and how do you keep that self love alive. You know, us as humans, we are hard on ourselves. It's very easy to forget. How do you manage to remind yourself and what advice do you have for people?
Valeria: This has always been a topic I have struggled with. Since I was young, I always noticed things I didn't like. I was like five and saying "I don't like this." It's a thing that's planted in us since the very beginning. It's not like, "yeah I love myself", it's a struggle, but it's something that I work on. On the other hand, I'm so exhausted of being so worried about things like how I look or people telling me I'm weird. It comes to a point where I'm like "I don't care". Nothing is going to happen, it's all a social construct. That's what I also remind myself of. I know everybody's circumstance is different, but I would suggest that one think that people's opinions don't matter and do what you want.
Loving yourself makes people also want to love you more and it's always something to have in mind.
D.O.M.E: To wrap this up, I'm going to ask you a series of rapid questions. Just tell me what first comes to mind.
Valeria: Okay. Ha-ha.
D.O.ME: Favorite book?
Valeria: Hush, hush. Ha-ha. (An honorary mention was El Lobo Estepario and she also mentioned that she was reading a lot of music related books).
D.O.M.E: Favorite movie?
Valeria: Parent Trap.
D.O.M.E: Favorite food?
Valeria: French fries.
D.O.M.E: Top three albums?
Valeria: The Divine Feminine by Mac Miller, Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Entre Todas Las Mujeres (Joaquin Sabina songs sang by women- a tribute album).
D.O.M.E: First place you want to visit after the pandemic?
Valeria: Italy, because I recently watch a Netflix documentary and it made me want to go.
*This interview has been translated. Some questions were paraphrased since they involved "Spanglish" and some small talk in between on my part.*
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