Italian born, Philadelphia based Valentina Raffaelli (former front of Sunshine Superman/Sparkle Pony) is excited to release her first solo album, “Bring On The Fire.” “Bring on the Fire” is the story of the end of a long-term relationship told in a relatable, true to life way. The songs portray the array of emotions of hope, sarcasm, determination, compassion and of course anger and sadness felt during a trying time, while still living life among the surrounding world. Valentina’s music is a fusion of catchy melodies and pop tunes, perfectly blended with a background in jazz vocals and a love for composition. Valentina Sounds’ “Seeking You” was featured on American Songwriter Magazine as their Daily Discovery.
What began your musical journey? Is your family musical?
My family is very musical. Sitting around the table with the guitar and playing Italian pop song was the highlight of every dinner party at my parent’s house. My dad noticed I had an aptitude towards music and suggested I started learning the piano. I began studying piano at 6 years old with a very strict, conservative teacher. At 12 years old, as proficient as I was, I could only play classical music, which I wasn’t so interested in, so I decided to quit. I bugged my parents for a drum set and took drum lessons for two years. Then the love for theatre took over and I was in theatre companies for several years. When I was about 16 years old I took a musical theatre class and I figured out I could sing. And I was loud! Thanks to that I started taking voice lessons, performing in wedding bands, and resumed piano lessons (more contemporary stuff this time).
You are originally from Italy. Are cultural attitudes towards music different there? Do you find Italian and American folk music have a great deal in common?
We (Italians) are very musical people, but we have hardly any music education in public schools. Everything is learned through private education. So everyone loves to listen to music and sing along, and a lot of people know how to play guitar, but the majority has not received any proper music education. I feel that the States do a better job at giving people a chance to sing in the choir or play in the school band or orchestra. Americans shouldn’t take those things for granted. Shoot that was not the question! I think music education is so important, I get carried away! With regards to Folk Music, some of the themes can compare, especially thanks to some Italian songwriters from the 60’s who brought the sounds of American folk into their compositions (De Gregori, De Andre’). But traditional Italian folk varies depending on the region you’re in and the dialect it is performed in.
It seems as though you have evolved a lot through the years and played a lot of different styles. Do you have a favorite?
It’s hard to pick a favorite. I think it’s because I like them all equally, I keep going round and round and trying them all out! I love performing musical theatre, I think my live shows reflect that. I love rock, jazz, folk, classical music. I love performing songs that have a sincere story to tell, no matter the style.
How would you describe your current project, Valentina Sounds, to members who haven’t heard you yet?
Valentina Sounds is a blend of all the genres that I love. The result is catchy tunes, sung emotionally, garnished with three part harmonies and unusual piano and guitar arrangements.
As a performer, what is a silver lining that you’ve found during this difficult time of social distancing?
Every day I try to find little things I’m grateful for. Not driving is the top of my list! The fact that I can get dressed at 9:45 for a meeting at 10am. Cooking and eating at home. And of course practicing piano, guitar, singing and getting better at voice loops. Anything else you’d like people to know? It has been a hard couple of weeks… I’ve been doing my best at putting something positive out there for people to enjoy and offer a little escape from the dread of this world wide pandemic. We all deserve to get our mind off things, every now and then. I hope you’ll find my content entertaining!
You can also hear and watch Valentina on these various platforms: