New York City native Valencia James unveiled her debut single “Flames” on May 3rd.
The singer/songwriter wrote her debut single after her family home was burnt down in the infamous Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“The song also represents how easily a relationship can be destroyed through words and actions. Anyone that has ever had relationship difficulties or been hurt because of words or actions can probably relate to this song”, explains James.
With the help of producer James Nathan Eshman, songwriters Scott Groom and Peter James, the dark pop record showcases James’ edgy and powerful vocals.
The Sydney-based artist is introducing herself as an empowering artist who creates relatable and hopeful records.
“Flames” is now available worldwide.
Introduce yourself - where are you from?
Hi, I’m Valencia James. I am originally from New York.
What's your story?
I originally lived in New York and then moved to Colorado for about 8 years, and then moved back to New York when I was 18 and lived there for awhile until I moved to Sydney.
Could you describe us your childhood a little bit? Any favorite memories?
I used to listen to hours of music as a young child and dance and sing the entire time my mom was making dinner etc...
What did you grow up listening to?
I was actually only allowed to listen to artists such as Celine Dion, Nsync, and Backstreet Boys. But, I always found a way to sneak other music so I listened to everything you could possibly imagine from Nirvana to Mariah Carey to DMX.
Do you remember the first show you ever attended?
Yep. It was Taylor Swift and I was super impressed by her.
When did you realize you could sing?
I was 6 when I realised I could sing, but apparently it’s all I did around the house since around the age of 2.
When did you start writing songs? What was the biggest challenge when your first started?
I actually started writing poetry as a child and didn’t officially start writing lyrics to music until I was much older. My biggest challenge was not writing too poetically.
Do you remember a specific moment in your life where music made a huge difference?
All throughout my childhood and as a young teenager I wasn’t allowed to go out a lot for getting in trouble, so I would use music as a way to escape and survive the disappointment. I would play it in my room and sing my lungs out much to the annoyance of the rest of my family although they now believe it paid off for me.
When did you decide to be an artist and release your original music? Was it an easy choice to make?
I actually didn’t decide to release my own music until I was much older. Around 22 was the first time I had considered it, but only because everyone had pushed me to do so. I was planning on owning my own record label and doing the business side, not actually being an artist myself.
"Flames" is your debut single. How does it feel like to release your first single ever?
It’s actually a crazy feeling, but I’m so excited to have it out and to hear people say what it means to them. It came from a really raw, emotional place so I love hearing the feedback.
What's the story behind "Flames"? Who did you work with?
I started writing “Flames” by myself while on vacation at a beach house in the bay of islands, NZ. Then, I brought it back to Sydney and finished it up with my producer Nathan Eshman, a songwriting friend Scott Groom, and my husband Peter James.
What did you feel when writing this particular song?
I felt quite a bit of anger about a situation I had been put in, but by the end I felt so much relief getting it out.
You are now based in Sydney. What appeals you the most about Sydney and Australia in general?
Sydney is a beautiful city and warm most of the year. Australia is beautiful in general and so much different from New York. I missed the city life at first, but soon came to love the beaches and the people of Sydney.
What made you want to move to Sydney?
I was looking for a new experience. So what better place to move to than somewhere on the other side of the world?
What does music make you feel?
Every emotion possible depending on the vibe of the song. I need it in my everyday life, because at times I feel like I can shut down or become numb and music makes me feel all the emotions again.
As an artist, what do you want to accomplish in this world?
I want people to find healing in my music and to feel understood. I believe music has the power to almost be like a counselor. I hope people listen to my song, relate to the emotions, and then realise that there’s always hope. Even in the darkest of situations, the light can shine through.
How do you want to be remembered for?
For being a friend and a confident to people through my music. I may not be able to sit down and chat with everyone about their life story, but I hope my music will do that for me. Make people feel like in this crazy world they can still find connection. I hope my music does that for them.
In your opinion, what would make the world a better place?
An understanding for each other and seeing each person as we see ourselves.
What biggest lessons have you learnt as a human being and as an artist?
All people want at their core is to be loved and understood. We all just want to be connected.
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