Rhythm Of Love: In Conversation With Valentina - Eastern Mirror
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Music, Rhythm of Love

Rhythm of Love: In conversation with Valentina

By Purnungba Longkumer Updated: Jun 30, 2022 10:08 pm
In conversation with Valentina 4

Alenuo Kelio aka Valentina, is an upcoming artiste to look out for. She’s garnered a lot of attention for winning the Best Electronic Artiste for “Stranger” at Musicians Guild Music Awards and is pumped to achieve more.

In today’s Rhythm of Love, she shares insightful tidbits about the music industry, skills she’s picked up along the way and dreams she’d like to see come through one day. 

Eastern Mirror: Could you introduce yourself and your journey into music?

Valentina: Hi, my name is Valentina, and my tribal name is Alenuo Kelio and am currently pursuing bachelor’s degree and I’d describe myself as a very jolly and happy-go-lucky kind of person by nature, and am selectively extroverted.

My journey into music was quite a tumultuous as well as breathtaking experience. I started performing at schools and churches and I used to cover a lot of songs, pop and a lot of gospel music as well. That’s where I built my confidence over the years.

I went from composing acapella songs to being asked to write for school events. It’s funny to remember how I used to teach my peers my songs without letting them know that they were originals. I would be in charge but I wouldn’t know which songs were appropriate to cover so I just wrote my own.

And here I am still learning everyday because, well the more I learn, the more I understand that I’ve got a lot to understand still.

Eastern Mirror: What are some challenges that you face as a young artiste trying to manage academics and music at the same time?

Valentina: I’ll be completely honest about this one. I’ve had a lot of setbacks along the way. I’m sure there will be many people who can relate to what I’m saying, and I hope this helps them in any way it can.

Multitasking was not my strong suit at first; because I was attempting to balance multiple tasks at once, it eventually became a trap that I set for myself, and into which I fell rather hard.

I had no idea how to manage my time and was completely inexperienced in dealing with any situation that arose. There were times when a two-headed situation would drag me down in some way.

Life is unpredictable and never follows a straight line, so not knowing how to create a situation for ourselves wherein various aspects can coexist will confuse us to the point where failure is an unavoidable outcome.

I also struggled with procrastination at one point. This is a very simple one, and I believe it is one of the most common ways we drag ourselves down without even realising it. Because I’ve learned that I must be consistent, work hard, persevere in learning and studying, sacrifice, and embrace the zeal to love what I do, all while spending quality time with the people I cherish. It takes time and a lot of practise, but it’s all well worth it in the end.

In conversation with Valentina 1

Eastern Mirror: Any new skills that you have learned to help you perform as a musician?

Valentina: As an artiste of any kind really, there’s always one secret (or maybe not) to honing our craft.

Something that I’ve learnt to value all these years is to practice, over and over and over again and I believe in quality over quantity.

So, rather than learning 99 songs with one practise, I’d rather practise one song 99 times and perfect it. It’s more of a mental thing than we realise. I mentally trained myself, and while there was no single solution to all of my problems, I felt that practise was how I learned to grow, and it is how anyone else can as well. Practice not only helps you learn to sing or perform, but it also helps you gain confidence in yourself.

Furthermore, being genuine and true to yourself is essential for establishing a firm foothold. Whatever the task, be sincere, and most importantly, here’s the key to my confidence: Wear your most comfortable shoes to your performance.

Eastern Mirror: While collaborating with other artistes, what did you learn and cherish the most?

Valentina: Quite the beautiful question this one is. I’ll enjoy answering it but I’ll make it brief.

Having the opportunity to collaborate with other artists has really helped me learn the concept of respectful cooperation, where we can connect and bring out different ideas and concepts together, creating an alternate space for us to illustrate our dreams and bring them to reality.

Exploring different genres and places of interest, then putting it all together in different sequences, and then going to fill in gaps, experimenting: seeing what works and what doesn’t; it can all be very exhausting, but we also find support in one another, so it becomes quite an enriching experience that we can’t help but cherish.

In conversation with Valentina 2

Eastern Mirror: If you can have your fans remember one thing about you, what would it be?

Valentina: If I could have my fans remember one thing about me it would be my self-confidence with discipline to make a difference.

I never stopped myself from taking up any and every possible opportunity whenever offered, be it big or small.

Based on this question, I’d like to take this opportunity to strongly advise any reader out there not to pass up any opportunity that comes their way and to seize it. It may be nerve-racking at first, but I say this because the more willing you are to accept them, the more you learn about your own strengths as well as your flaws; the more this happens, the more you learn to grow with confidence and discipline yourself in observing the beauty in every difference.

Eastern Mirror: Which of the two original songs (Everything is going to be okay/ Stranger) are you most happy/content with the outcome?

Valentina: That’s a tough one because I’m personally attached to every song I write. But if I had to choose between Everything Is Gonna Be Okay and Stranger, I’d have to go with Everything Is Gonna Be Okay.

This song has a special place in my heart because, while I have never been diagnosed with depression or anxiety, I have been able to relate to such feelings on occasion because some experiences were just that disheartening.

Eastern Mirror: From your perspective, do you feel that there is bias in the music industry in Nagaland towards certain artistes?

Valentina: From my perspective, there is a bias in the music industry that is never adequately addressed in Nagaland because, as far as I have noticed musicians who create original music are not as well supported as cover artists.

Cover artistes are artistes in their own right, but we overlook the amount of painstaking energy and time that original artists have poured into their work.

It is sometimes an innate ability on their part to write, but it is also a skill that has taken years of practise and effort for them to be as good as they are.

This, I believe, is a major flaw in our music industry; whether it’s audience support or major platforms for artists, most people are unwilling to invest in artists who genuinely want to share their original art and am hoping that this will change in the future.

In conversation with Valentina 3

Eastern Mirror: How did you feel when you won the Best Electronic Artiste for “Stranger” at Musicians Guild Music Awards 2022?

Valentina: I felt so blessed to have won the Best Electronic Artiste for “Stranger” at Musician’s Guild Awards 2022. This made me believe that the end result of consistency, hard work, sacrifice, and everything else you go through is always worthwhile.

This will undoubtedly serve as a reminder to me in the future to work even harder every day and not give any room for excuses.

Eastern Mirror: How did the collaboration with GFRY and Jintu come about?

Valentina: I guess this makes for a short story time now.

So well, the collaboration for Stranger was actually quite out of the blue.

There was this track that we were working on but kept holding it out, and delaying it because there was just something that was missing. I really wanted to dedicate this song to the Assamese people so I racked my imagination for it. I consulted Gfry on what we could do to make it different in some way, and things just took off from there.

He was very supportive about it, and through him I was also able to get in touch with a very talented Assamese artist, the one and only Jintu. I guess I can say that the rest is history.

Eastern Mirror:  If you could date any musician (or celebrity), who would it be and why?

Valentina: If I could do that, I’d never miss out on the chance to date Aurora, my current inspiration. She’s a Norwegian singer, songwriter, producer and dancer. A stunning woman, she’s so sweet and fragile. I’m very drawn to her music and the way she expresses herself in it. It’s something that really attracts me to her and makes her so admirable.

Eastern Mirror:  What is your wildest dream to achieve as an artiste?

Valentina: At this point in my life, my wildest dream as an artist is to gather all Naga musicians from every corner and perform a grandiose concert together.

Naga musicians are all so unique and interesting in their own ways that it would be fascinating to see how we bounce ideas off of each other. As a musician, it would be such an enriching experience because it would truly open up new perspectives for everyone present, and who knows what kind of creative juices would begin to fuel us all. Now I really hope this comes true.

By Purnungba Longkumer Updated: Jun 30, 2022 10:08:41 pm
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