V Chats With Pop Duo Valencia
V chatted with the pop duo Valencia, who was the CreatiVity 06 Pick of The Week.
V chatted with the pop duo Valencia, who was the CreatiVity 06 Pick of The Week.
For the sixth installment of our CreatiVity program in partnership with Quadio—a new social streaming platform dedicated to showcasing the best new college music—we introduced emerging British-American duo Valencia.
V talked to the pop artists, where they told of finding inspiration from Amy Winehouse and Bob Dylan, how the pair met, what else is in store for them this year, and more.
V Magazine What’re your names, ages and where do each of you go to school?
Jadeyn Madsen (21) and Lou Courts (21), we both attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.
V What roles or instruments do each of you play?
JM We are both the writers and vocalists in our duo, but Lou also plays both piano and guitar on our recordings and live music.
V Where are you all from originally and how did the band get started?
JM I was born and raised in Brentwood, California with my mother who had me when she was just 17 years old. Coming from a mixed background (Hispanic/American), I was always very connected to my Hispanic culture, as my mother raised me by herself with the support of her family. This played a big part in us naming the duo “Valencia”, which is our family name.
LC I grew up in London, England with a mixed heritage as well. My dad was born and raised in London and my mum is from Mumbai, India. I went back and forth a lot to India when I was younger, and still try to visit regularly, so I really got that cross of cultures growing up. I’ve got a lot of family in the U.K, India, the States and Canada too so it’s stretching basically across the whole world!
We first met at Berklee’s Summer program in 2015. We both had a strong connection right away that soon grew into a friendship, and a long-distance relationship for the year that followed. Come Fall 2016, we were both in our freshman year of college back at the same school. We continued to play music together, but Valencia was really formed when we played a show together at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London in the summer of 2018. We played a couple of songs that we’d written together and some covers and we had such an amazing reaction from the crowd that it really made us want to continue being a duo. From there we just kept playing and recording and we’re having a great time doing it. We also added in a guest guitarist before, and we want to be adding other musicians once we’re playing live shows again.
V As a British-American duo, how do you feel your different cultures or aesthetics are represented in your music?
LC Some of the classic London aesthetic is something that has really influenced us, like a lot of that 60s/70s Stones fashion and style scene that my dad was really a part of. And it kind of goes hand in hand with the Californian 60s/70s vibe; idyllic California style – thrift stores, the surfer culture, the music and clothing too. That’s what we love, so that kind of combination and vibe is what we wanted to capture with our own aesthetic.
I think for both of us Fleetwood Mac (British-American band too!) is a big influence on us, both with their aesthetic and pretty unique chemistry between the couples and how it influenced the music - and for sure their harmonies were just unmatched, so they definitely have a huge influence. We’re really liking the variety in pop music that we’re seeing as well, especially with Spanish music being so huge right now, which for Jadeyn has always been an influence. All that kind of comes together in our writing and when we create our music, especially some of the newer stuff we’re working on. My dad was always listening to blues and soul music (Sam Cooke, Al Green, Muddy Waters) so that’s a big part of my music background too.
V With COVID-19 impacting your schooling and your lives, how do you feel heading into the summer months? Are you making any adjustments?
LC Well, this was our last semester at Berklee and we were about to move out to LA this summer anyway. But our last semester got cut short, so we moved out to Southern California a few months earlier than planned. In a way it’s helped us focus in and really just spend time writing, creating, and getting new music ready to put out there, and I feel like we have made some of our favorite music so far. We’re also working on trying to do some live stream shows, we’re planning that for June around our next release.
V You describe your relationship as a ‘romantic whirlwind’ with ‘musical chemistry.’ How has it been creating music together?
LC It’s been really great, first and foremost just that our voices blended together! Beyond that, I think the fact that we never put pressure on ourselves as a couple and duo has meant that our writing always comes from a really natural place. We luckily have such good chemistry with each other, so it’s been easy to be vulnerable and open in what we try and do when we create. In our writing process, we are really comfortable diving into our emotional past, both good and bad, but we find we are able to have those conversations which would usually be awkward. I think that’s the way you are going to make music that hopefully resonates, that other people can identify with the same feelings and experiences.
V How did you hear about Quadio? Can you tell us about the relationship you have with the platform and your music?
LC We actually just heard about Quadio relatively recently and were so impressed when we looked into it. A few of our friends, fellow musicians at our school recommended it to us so we joined up and uploaded our two latest releases, “Chasing” being the most recent. We were excited just to be a part of the Quadio network and it’s so awesome we’ve been selected to be a featured artist for this collaboration! We also love V Magazine so that made it all the more exciting!
V Why did you choose to showcase your music there?
LC Even though we both want to be a part of every platform or app that can help expose our music and further our music career, something that really stood out to us about Quadio was the fact that it is a networking hub exclusively for college bands and musicians across the country. Going to Berklee has taught us how important and valuable it is to collaborate and form these relationships now with fellow musicians, and Quadio is just so perfect for that.
V Can you tell us a little about your genre and who/what inspires your sound?
LC We’d classify our genre as pop, but our influences are so varied and genres keep shifting anyway, so we’re constantly finding new inspirations. We love lyricists like Amy Winehouse, Lana Del Rey, Frank Ocean, Ed Sheeran and Bob Dylan among loads of others. Our production sound and vibe are super varied; we really try and listen to our contemporaries and work out little elements we like and want to incorporate into our sound. Also, we’ve been lucky to work with some great producers amongst our contemporaries which we love doing, because they’ll usually bring their own sound and vibe to the songs as well.
V If Valencia could work with anyone musically (past or present) who would that be?
JM I think for me someone who I’ve been really listening to lately, and would love for us to collaborate with is Spanish flamenco-pop artist Rosalía. I fell in love with the way she infuses her flamenco roots in her music while still keeping her over all sound and production current and this is something we often look to do as a duo. Also, I’d love to have the opportunity to work with Julia Michaels as well. We love the collaborations she’s done with other artists and also just love her songwriting as a whole.
LC I think the ultimate collaboration for us would be with Mark Ronson, he’s worked with so many amazing artists and written some of our favorite songs. I also just think he’s as good as it gets as a producer right now. I loved seeing the documentary about him recently and it only made me more impressed. Other than that, I’m a longtime John Mayer fan. He’s someone who’s really dipped his toes into loads of different styles actually and I think he’s a really great songwriter, and unbelievable guitarist.
V Can you tell us about your single, “Chasing”? What is the song about?
JM We actually started writing this song at Lou’s house last January in London with LA artists and Berklee Alums Greisun and Elliot Sorgen producing. We all happened to be in London during the same time so we got together to just have fun and see what we could come up with, and ended up writing this song. For us, "Chasing" talks about a one-sided relationship, one person trying really hard to keep it going, and the other wanting out and for it to just be over.
V Who is your music intended for and how do you hope fans feel when listening?
JM We hope people connect with what we’re writing about - when we write together, we often find we’re talking about the same feelings or emotions, and those are definitely the themes we try and center our music around. We hail from far flung corners of the world; From Mexico to India and London to California, so we want our music to reach out to as many people as possible. We have all these different roots so it’s really natural to want to connect with people across continents and cultures too.
V Can listeners expect new music coming from Valencia?
JM Yes!! Our next single “Out of Line” comes out on June 12th! We worked with our friend Ian Kimmel who produced this track, and we’re super excited to be releasing the song under AWAL. It’s perfect for the summer so we really just can’t wait to put it out! We’re also going to be doing some live stream shows and some video content around the release so make sure to follow our Instagram @thevalenciamusic to catch all of that!
V Do you believe music is important especially during a time where the world is in crisis?
JM It’s more important than ever now; I think music is something that can always help people and especially in the harder times. At least for us, when we’re both down, having any trouble or even need to just be calm and still, music keeps us going. Music can definitely be an escape and reflect your feelings perfectly. A song can be like your best friend in that it just understands and knows how you’re feeling. And of course your favorite track can get you out of bed and dancing round the room too!
V Where do you see yourselves and your music career 5 years from now?
JM Clutching a Grammy at the after-party (we dream haha!) But we really just want to be able to make our music, collaborate with some amazing musicians (like the ones we’ve mentioned), hopefully make people happy and not have to do anything else! Maybe also have a track on FIFA one day cause I’m still a London boy obsessed with football!
V What are some of your collective goals this year?
JM Just to get more music out there… We hope to put out at least 3 more singles this year, and see where it takes us! Live shows are unfortunately on hold right now but it gives us a chance to really spend time making music we love but we are crossing our fingers to hopefully play a few live shows by the end of the year, and also looking for the right fit with management. We would love to be collaborating with other artists in LA and co-writing is such a buzz that it would be great to hook up with other writers as well. We are messing around with some of our own production too now. Apart from that, we definitely want to work on our Spanish and maybe work that into a track too!