We have a fun one today with our Spotlight – Valdii. We got the chance to talk with Valdii on his most recent single The Mirror after going solo from the band Eleven Past One. Find out what some of his influences are and even some dream collabs.
How did you get started in music? Was it through friends or family?
For as long as I can remember there was music in my life, all around me. I come from a family of 8 and everyone plays an instrument. I discovered that I had a voice when I was very young and started taking classical piano lessons at the age of six.
Who are some influences you had growing up?
Growing up Christian and going to church on a regular basis, many of my musical influences, if not all, were artists that played worship music. Michael W. Smith, Kirk Franklin, Hillsongs to name a few. In my later years, I was influenced by Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, and Usher.
If you had your ultimate collab who would it be and why?
Such a hard question because there are so many! But ultimate collab would be Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, Dua Lipa, Miley Cyrus, DJ Khalid, or Drake.
Where does the name Valdii come from, and what does it mean? It sounds German?
Well, you’re correct with it being German. Valdii is my middle name, but it’s actually spelt Waldi. I felt like I had to change the spelling because everyone would look at the W and pronounce it with a W.
You have been around for a few years now in the music scene. Tell us a bit about being in the band Eleven Past One
Being in Eleven Past One was nothing short of amazing. There was such a brotherhood and musical bond there that was undeniable. We had it good when our song The World Is Ours took off. It was almost too easy. Back then, the music industry was so different. We were able to walk into Virgin Radio Toronto with our song, get them to play it and they loved it right away so they put it in rotation. Soon enough, the rest of the country’s top radio stations followed suit. We played some incredible shows and were able to be a part of many great things. Including television shows, playing shows across the country and becoming a serious contender in the top 100 billboard charts.
What are some of your most memorable tour stories, or performances from that time?
I can remember feeling like a real rock star when we had flown into Thompson Manitoba to play our first small arena headlining show. Fans were even running after our SUV after the show when we were leaving the venue. Right after playing the show, we had to fly right back to Toronto to play on the finale of YTV’s show The Next Star at Canada’s Wonderland. What a 48 hour whirlwind that was! Playing Family Channel’s Big Ticket Summer Concert at a packed out Molson Amphitheatre was another huge milestone in our career.
In 2019 you released several singles, Toxic, Comfortable, and I Learn. Was it difficult to put all of yourself out there as a solo act, when usually you have a band with you?
I was definitely nervous going out on my own. Being in a band for so long and having your band mates on stage with you and doing everything with you every step of the way was comforting in a way. Playing my first show as Valdii, I remember being a little scared and unsure of myself on stage but I think I pulled it off with a great show.
This single though, is blowing up already. Can you tell us about The Mirror?
The Mirror is my most vulnerable and honest song yet. I’ve been through some dark times in my life. I’ve done a lot of stupid shit. I can remember looking into the mirror some nights and just thinking I hate myself but I love myself. I hate what I’m doing but I also love it all at the same time. There are things about me that I don’t like, that I can’t change. I think almost everyone can relate. This song is about that.
What is your process like when putting together a song?
Usually it will go something like this; I get into a writing session, a lot of the time with my main co-writer/producer Brian Howes. We start discussing things that have happened or are happening in my life. We start going through notes in my iPhone. Song ideas, lyrics, words, sentences, just pulling things that really speak to us. Then we just start writing melodies with a guitar and lyrics. The engineer usually simultaneously works on the track as we’re writing the song.
You also released a holiday song last year, The Messiah Was Born. What made you decide to record and release a holiday single?
Oh I just had to! Love Christmas, love Christmas music. I need to release another one next year. Although I actually wrote this song like a decade ago, I decided it was finally time to record and release it. I think it all came together at the perfect time being Valdii now because it’s just me and I wrote that song all on my own. The message and story of Jesus Christ being born to save us, to die and rise from the dead is what this song is about. God is love and we need to emulate that love to every human being we encounter. No matter what they believe or how they look, God loves everyone just the same and He just wants to have a relationship with us and His Son, Jesus.
Speaking of the holidays, what are some of your best holiday memories, or some interesting traditions you do?
Christmas Eve memories with my whole family, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. Those are the best memories. Having everyone over at my parents house every year. Having a huge feast and then performing music with my family while opening gifts. Now, I’m making new traditions and memories with my own family, my wife and new baby daughter.
Being from Bowmanville, ON, how do you think being in a smaller city with access to a big hub like Toronto affected your sound?
Well, even though I’m from a small town, I’ve never really ‘looked’ or ‘acted’ the part, if you know what I mean. Haha I’ve always wanted to look my best, dress a certain way, be a part of pop culture in its fullest. Being close to Toronto really came in handy to just stay connected with all that. I went to University for four years there so it was great to actually live in the city for that time period.
Obviously with COVID-19 making things difficult this year, what are some big plans you have for 2021?
Oh has it ever been hard eh I hope everyone who’s reading this is staying healthy, mind, body and spirit. I’m believing 2021 will be my year! I’m starting to work on a lot more music this month and recording it all in January. Also, a music video for The Mirror is in the works for January. Believing for some more radio and online success and just to have the world hear what I have to say!
As we all know Canadian winters are not super fun. What are some forms of self care this winter that you suggest to folks struggling?
Well, I know I have a hard time with winter. The weather and darkness can get me down. So, I get a good dose of Vitamin D in the pills I take. I suggest going on walks and getting some form of exercise on a regular basis will help with the struggle. Or finding a hobby that you love doing, and just keeping up with that. I know that if life gets in the way and I haven’t sat down at the piano to sing for a little while, I feel incomplete and get down on myself. So I have to keep up with it or I’ll literally be a crusty person lol.
With many local and independent businesses suffering this year, what are some of your local gems you want to shamelessly plug?
Petite Nordique is a clothing store for babies and kids. Manantler Brewery is pretty cool. Norms Deli has THE best polish food in town. Clark’s Meat is a great homegrown place to get your meats. Revolution Salon & Spa is the best place around to get your hair done. Elevated Beauty by Rachael is a great place to get your eyebrows micro bladed, eyelash extensions and teeth whitened.
What would you like to say to readers and fans?
Stay focused on the good things. There’s too much bad being flaunted on the news. Be thankful for everything you have, even if you don’t think it’s much. Be content and God will give you what you need. Most importantly, love others and treat them how you would want to be treated. Oh and one last thing, stream the heck out of my music please! LOL Spread the love to your friends and family. I work hard on what I put out; I need your help with getting it heard. Love ya.
Our Spotlight – Valdii has come to an end. Big thanks to Valdii for taking the time to chat with us
Check out The Mirror available now
Keep up with all things Valdii here
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