VALNTNA talks about being vulnerable in her new EP, ‘Shadow Work’
Valntna is a singer-songwriter from South London. Through her R&B inspired, soulful sound the artist expresses her journey with love and self-discovery.
Speaking with True Cadence Valntna highlights how song-writing allows her to reflect and heal internally. Despite mostly writing from the perspective of other people, the singer’s recent EP Shadow Work conveys a more personal and vulnerable insight into the artist herself. Co-written and produced by Pink Mayne, the EP exhibits Valntna’s powerful vocal ability.
The singer shares her transition from performing in a girl group to going solo and the confidence she has developed as a result. We discuss her future career goals and the dream venues she wants to perform at. Some of which Valntna teases may be ‘ticked off’ this year.
How did you first discover your love for music and have you always wanted to be an artist?
I discovered my love for music when I was in school. Growing up listening to 90’s R&B I fell in love! I used to love writing songs and taking part in all the talent shows. I was also in the Gospel Choir and a few girl groups. I never thought being an artist was an option at the time but God showed me otherwise.
What was life like growing up? Has your family always been supportive of your decision to pursue a career in the music industry?
Funnily enough it was my sister who first pointed out to me that I could actually sing lol. I never really took it seriously growing up. She was into the creative scene and music so she really helped me see a career in it. I’ve been blessed to have an amazing support system around me in regards to pursuing music, my family love it. They really do believe in me!
Your EP, Shadow Work is extremely introspective, this tone is set by ‘Slay With Slice Parable’. Do you find song-writing therapeutic, does it help you self-reflect?
I truly believe songwriting is the best therapy, it’s such an amazing release! It definitely allows me to explore my imagination while at the same time forces me to really express how I’m feeling or how something made me feel. Very self-reflective.
I remember listening to the project for the first time once everything was ready and I cried, I couldn’t believe how open and honest I was.
Can we expect any music videos to accompany the tracks on your new EP?
Your lyricism is refreshingly authentic. Do you always write from your own perspective and if so do you find it intimidating being so open and honest?
Thank you so much I love that! Normally I tend to always sway to write from someone else’s perspective. I always find it easy as it naturally feels less personal but with this being such a personal project I really pushed myself outside of my comfort zone. Pink Mayne, who executively produced and co- wrote the project with me really helped me see the beauty in being vulnerable. Honestly I remember listening to the project for the first time once everything was ready and I cried, I couldn’t believe how open and honest I was. I was shocked lol.
What are the biggest challenges you have experienced as a black woman in the music industry and how have you overcome them?
I would say the biggest challenge is being given opportunities but I realised they don’t need to be given. I can create them for myself and that’s exactly what I’m doing.
What are some of the dream venues you would love to perform at?
I have a few to be fair [laughs]:
- Jazz Café
- Wembley stadium
- SSE Wembley Arena
- Alexandra Palace
- The Royal Albert Hall
- Hammersmith Apollo
- Brixton Academy
- Roundhouse Camden
- South Bank Centre
- O2 Forum
- Shepherds Bush Empire
- Madison Square Gardens
Being a musician requires a level of self-confidence. Have you always felt quite self-assured?
Now more than ever before! I struggled with self-confidence for such a long time. I was so used to being in a girl group I didn’t think I was good enough alone so it took a while to shake that feeling off.
Don’t be afraid to really feel and walk in your darkness for it is where you will find your light.
Who are your music influences?
Whitney Huston, Mary J Blige, Jazmine Sullivan, and Lauryn Hill.
Is fashion important in how you choose to present yourself as an artist?
Most definitely, I feel fashion is a reflection of who you are. It says a lot about who you are without speaking.
What has been the most surreal moment in your career so far?
It definitely has to be opening up on an Arena tour with JLS. It was when I was in my last girl group but what an experience it was! It was life changing in the way that I saw music as a career and it was that experience that really showed me anything is possible and that music is my purpose.
The theme of trust runs throughout the EP, the difficulty trusting yourself and others. Has it been difficult to always listen to your intuition?
I think it’s difficult to listen to your intuition when it is not aligned with what your heart wants and feels.
As Nina Simone said, it’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live and I truly believe that!
What message do you aim to spread with your music in general and more specifically what message do you want listeners to take away from Shadow Work?
I aim to spread healing in the form of love, encouragement, openness and honesty. Above all being true to who you are always!
The message I want the listeners to take away from Shadow Work is don’t be afraid to really feel and walk in your darkness for it is where you will find your light.
Your empowering single ‘Black Kingz’ responded to the Black Lives Matter Movement. Why is it important for you to create music that highlights social injustice?
As Nina Simone said, it’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live and I truly believe that! It was important for me to shine a light on these issues, empowering all black males to come together, uplift themselves and each other by spreading love, healing and unity for united as one we rise!
What are your goals for 2022, do you have any upcoming projects you can share?
I’m definitely hoping to tick off a few of the venues I mentioned earlier. I’ve started working on my next project which I’m really excited about. I’ve got a few releases and remixes lined up so make sure to stay tuned!