Stemming from the Northern Territory, Valentina Brave has released her debut single I Met A Man. Taken from her upcoming EP Wildflower, the track, reminiscent of a 70s Betty Davis style anthem is a raw and unapologetic heavy soul war-cry against the status quo, defining Brave as a feminine force to be reckoned with. The songs on the Wildflower EP were written while living in a small remote bush community in Arnhem Land over the past eight years and spoke to Valentina about the experience as well as performing with Michael Franti.
Does it feel like a relief that the Wildflower EP is finished?
It is a huge relief actually. It’s been a few years in the making and lots of dreaming about it before that, so to finally have some music out in the world feels very soul satisfying. I’m also really proud of the songs and it’s a wonderful feeling to be really immersed in this creative journey.
For someone who has not heard of Valentina Brave how would you describe your music to them?
It’s definitely got a darker edge to it. I am a really deep thinker and the process of writing is one way I make sense of the world and how I feel about it, so the songs are pretty loaded. I’m an intense person, I mean, not all the time, but I get really deep really quick and my music definitely reflects that.
Who is your biggest musical influence and why?
My biggest musical influence is my Dad. He is an incredible songwriter and is always working on something creatively. I spent my childhood singing harmonies with him and my family. They taught me that music is a powerful soul medicine and regardless of if you are making it or listening to it, it will help heal our individual and collective brokenness. I owe so much of who I am and this music in my blood to him.
What has been the best piece advice you have been given so far?
Great question! So many amazing people constantly guiding and offering epic wisdom to me over the years but one that stands out is my darling friend David Ades who would say, “What other people think of you is none of your damn business”. Once this really starts to become a mantra, it helps set us free to live according to our passions and hearts calling rather than from fear of judgement. It takes work to let go of outer influences and old patterns we’ve inherited and truly just do you. But If you have the courage to dive deep enough, that’s where the magic lives and I believe it serves everybody if we come from that place of vulnerability and truth.
What is the story behind the song Wildflower?
Wildflower is a pretty heavy song. It’s a Murder Ballad after all! Who even writes Murder Ballads these days?!!! But this song REALLY felt like it wanted to be written, like it’s a testimonial for women who have suffered at the hands of violence and have had to fight, at all costs, to reclaim themselves. It’s a heavy tale written in an old school Western story style but we all know this is as common now as it ever was. I deeply believe that any violence is a sickness, and especially as we are loosing so many people needlessly to guns around the world, let me be very clear that although she kills him in the song, I DO NOT stand for violence of any kind. I see this song as a metaphor for personal rebirth and transformation.
I have played it to women who have been in violent alcoholic relationships and it’s been a catalyst for healing tears and deep conversation. Writing Wildflower was a stream of consciousness experience for me and I honestly felt surprised as the story revealed itself on the page. It’s a really sad story and to be honest I don’t really understand where it came from or why, I just felt like it arrived and I let it come through without judgement and have always had a strong intuition that I should record it and share it.
As the songs started to take shape do you really come alive and was full of energy?
I have recently watched and edited a little ‘Behind the Scenes’ film of the EP recording sessions in Margaret River and it’s been really interesting watching myself through that lens. I was overcome with gratitude and felt incredibly blessed to be working with such amazing crew. The energy was clear and the music flowed effortlessly. It was big work but everyone there was totally in it! Danielle Caruana, my producer had such vision and the songs were beautifully crafted and got deeper and more delicious every day. I think we were all kinda shocked at how well the chemistry worked and the magic that took place. The band were INSANE and Dave Mann who engineered, is just creatively brilliant. All the elements were in alignment that week. I remember feeling like I was in a dream.
Would you write again in another remote location?
I would. I will write anywhere anytime but It’s been particularly mind blowing to experience the space up here in Arnhem Land. This country and its people transform the way you see the world and your place in it. Of course this has an influence on my writing. I’m now writing about the elements and the strength and fragility of the human heart. The way that fire has to burn for new life to grow. It has been a humbling and profound time and I will carry these years in my heart as the most blessed and expansive of my life.
Has the creative process kept going and are you looking to make an album?
The creative process never ends! I have songs ready to go and will definitely be making an album. Might be another EP before that, depending on finances, it’s expensive making music!
Was performing with Michael Franti a career highlight?
It was SO amazing! He is so generous and has been so supportive of my journey. Such an incredible guy. Of course I’d seen him play at Blues Fest for years in complete and utter awe, so being up there singing with him was an electric feeling!
Funnily, I was watching Lauren Hill on the same stage the night before and I said clearly and honestly to myself, ‘I am going to play on that stage one day’. Literally the next morning, Michael messaged me and was like, ‘Hey, can you come and guest on my show tonight?’ So it was 24 hours later I was standing right there on the exact stage where I’d envisioned I would be. Dream big, work hard! The universe is listening!
What’s next for Valentina Brave?
I’m just going to keep making more and more music and art, teaching music in the community where I live and counting my blessings for my happy healthy family and incredibly rich life. I know too well that everything can change in an instant so I am soaking in this beautiful moment and never taking one day for granted.
Interview by Rob Lyon