On a special valentine’s day feature, we feature the highly talented and tuneful Valencia Rush who takes us through her musical journey on an exclusive interview with Pachagazine.

Tell us more bout Valencia

I go by the name Valencia Rush (previously known as just Valencia). I’m an American Singer-Songwriter, Documentary, and Film Maker. Originally from Kansas City, Kansas, I first began my journey into writing and creating original content at 15.

I first garnered attention when I shared the stage with Flo Rida and AJR in St. Louis, Missouri (2017). I officially introduced myself as an original artist with the release of my first independent single, Seasons (2018). Also, in the same year, I joined forces to release a joint project “The Way” (2018) with rap artist, 4012 under the group name 4012 Valencia Ave., and would soon follow with my initial releases my debut EP, F*** Girl (2019) to continue building notoriety, appearing on several popular playlists across multiple streaming platforms.

What first got you into music?

I would say I have a bit of a cliche story. I began singing in the church at a very young age. After that, I started singing background for various national and international artists, at the age of 17.

How long have you been in the entertainment industry?

Singing background definitely got my foot in the door – however, I didn’t begin my own work until 2017 when I opened for AJR and Flo Rida. I’d also include that a couple of years before that, starting my vocal lessons with the background singer for India Arie, Ametria Dock, is what encouraged me to step into my own spotlight as my own artist.

Who do you look up to in the industry?

To name a few, I look up to Janelle Monae, Solange, India Arie, Teyana Taylor, Missy Elliot, Eric Bellinger, Beyonce, Victoria Monet, and Chaka Khan.

What are some of the challenges you face coming into the music industry?

I would say it was definitely a challenge maneuvering and just figuring things out when I first started. I didn’t know anybody and I wasn’t familiar with how to get where I wanted to be. It took a lot of lessons and having to learn from mistakes, but all of that was definitely important in order to grow – so I’m very grateful for that part of my story.

How would you describe the competition?

I don’t think I look at other artists as competition, but if we had to call them that, I would say it’s always important to have multiple people excelling in a business. It makes us as a whole look good. I think it’s passed time St. Louis is recognized for its talent and that’s something I want. The more shine we get, the more opportunity for everyone.  Personally, I don’t sit back and worry about what the next artist is doing because I’m very in tune with my own originality and what I’m working on. When I do get a chance, I definitely love to go to my peers’ concerts and show love.

How would you describe the music you create and how it stands out?

The music I create definitely has a majority R&B influence, however, I am very much a crossover artist so you’ll also catch some pop, electric, and other influences infused with that.

Where have you performed and which was your favourite venue?

I would say because it was my first time performing as my own artist, The Family Arena in St. Louis (St. Charles, MO more specifically). However, I’ve had the pleasure of traveling around the US performing in places such as Chicago, Louisville, Iowa, Singapore, Barcelona, and more.

What’s your best song to perform?

This is a hard one! I would say it’s a two-way tie between Vibe or Seasons only because they’re my most popular songs outside of Amen at the moment. I would include Amen, however, it was released during the pandemic so I haven’t performed it as much ;).

What inspires your compositions?

It definitely varies. I would say the main inspirations will come from either a personal experience, something I’ve witnessed and created a story out of, or just my own creative thoughts.

Do you have any collaborations? Who would you most likely want to work with?

I do! I’ve collaborated with rapper/producer Miistro Freeyo, as well as singer-songwriter JanaeSound who were both featured on previous projects of mine. I would love the opportunity to work with B.Slade, Lucky Daye, and Sza! Those are just a few among many of course.

Do you have any upcoming projects or events?

Yes, and I’m so excited to officially announce to Pachagazine first! I’m currently finishing three singles, two of which I plan to release in the spring. My team and I are also planning an event around that time, so definitely stay tuned!  

What else do you do apart from your art?

I love to travel. It’s been so hard not being able to do that with Covid but I’m excited to go out of the country and other states again this year. I always say if I weren’t an artist, I’d be a vlogger just traveling. I think that’s one of the reasons it’s important for me to tour in the near future. I love seeing the world and learning new things about it.

Which mistake can you advise any artist that wants to follow in your footsteps against?

Hmm, that’s a great question. It’s hard to avoid personal mistakes but that’s not the worst thing, because I believe they hold such an important lesson in order to help you grow. With that being said, I would advise them to view any mistakes made as a learning opportunity. Don’t be afraid of failure because that doesn’t mean you’ve lost, it just means you’re being tested. Being an artist is hard but it’s so rewarding doing something you love. There’s no regret in following your passions if you ask me. But as a piece of advice, I would say to be daring, be original, and make sure the work you present is 110%. If someone says you’re “extra” you’re doing it right.

How can people find you or your projects online?

You can find me by searching Valencia Rush or on my website, damnvalencia.com. Finally, you can find me on all social media @damnvalencia.

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