The rising singer-songwriter on confidence, being comfortable with herself and controlling her own narrative.
Taken from the Autumn 2020 issue. Order your copy now.
“If you know me, you know I’m not that fluffy,” singer-songwriter Claudia Valentina laughs. We’re discussing how, at just 20 years old, Valentina is using her own brand of “edgy pop” to disrupt the tired narrative of conventional love songs. “I’m not about the traditional love thing in my own life so I would never write a ‘come save me’ song. I like to flip it around.” Nowhere is this more obvious than in her debut track “Seven”, which offers a no-nonsense, no-frills account of modern heartbreak. Over stripped-back piano, Valentina laments falling for her lover’s charm once again — this time, however, she refuses to participate in their game. Assuming full agency over her narrative, she declares: “I’m taking off my makeup / I ain’t gonna wait up / So you can let me down.”
Early in our interview, it becomes glaringly obvious that this assertive energy is not merely a facet of Valentina’s pop star persona, but rather constitutes the very essence of her character. On the best advice she has received so far, she doesn’t miss a beat: “Call me a dick, but I give great advice to myself. I talk to myself in my head all day and all night, and often have to be my worst critic and biggest cheerleader.” Here is a young female artist who relies on only herself to get where she wants to be.
(LEFT) Bodysuit by DILARA FINDIKOGLU, headband by SIMONE ROCHA and shoes by AQUAZZURA. (RIGHT) Dress by CHRISTOPHER KANE and earrings by SIMONE ROCHA
It was Valentina’s father who imbued her with this sta-unch independence and unbridled drive growing up, she tells me. “He is the smartest, wisest dude and the biggest hustler, boss man I’ve ever known. He made me super resilient to the point where literally nothing in life can phase me, only make me hungrier to make my dream happen.” Her ambition has seen her take big risks for her career — from leaving her home in Guernsey at the age of 10 to join the West End production of Billy Elliot, to moving to LA just three years later to follow her dreams of being a recording artist — and she’s had to build a pretty thick skin from a very young age. “Looking back, I grew up way younger than I should have. But in the long game it’s made me who I am,” she admits. “Living and growing up in different cities and being fully immersed in the music industry made me pretty tough. LA changed me a lot and taught me so much as it is a cut-throat place. ‘No’s, to me, are way more valuable than ‘yes’s. When someone told me I couldn’t do something, it made me want to succeed 10 times more.”
“Obsessed”, the second release from her upcoming debut EP, due October 30th, sonically encapsulates this dedication and drive. Synths and a pulsing beat build effortlessly to a reverberating chorus, in which the artist reflects on the personal sacrifices she has made to realise her vision: “Been leaving all these messages on read / I’ll have time for sleeping when I’m dead / Married to the money, newlywed / I’m not sorry baby, I’m obsessed.” unashamedly determined, she conveys a level of self-assurance one can only admire. “I feel more confident and comfortable with myself than ever before. Being able to share that through my music and inspire others to not be afraid of taking control of their narrative is the goal,” she affirms.
To Valentina, the hustle is not a means to an end, but rather an end in itself — and in turn, she holds the key to realising her power. “I want to be known for my obsession with breaking my own barriers,” she says resolutely; “give me a couple of years and hopefully what has been in my mind will come to life.” Valentina, we don’t doubt it for a second.
Dress by SORAPOL LONDON, earring by MOTLEY, rings by ALIGHIERI and shorts by WOLFORD