ATARAH VALENTINE

PHOTOS + WORDS BY: Eric Mooney

Thinking back to early childhood, what was your first experience with music for the first time like?  What song do you remember most as a child?

My father was a musician, so music was always a big part of my life.  He was in a band that went on to become Skid Row years later and had, what seemed at the time, a gigantic bag filled with amazing glam costumes; studded belts, spandex, fringe and fishnet shirts, knee high leather boots, etc.  My siblings and I would put it on and just kind of hang out in it.  

My earliest song memories are a bizarre combination.  My parents have been divorced for as long as I can remember so I have two pretty vivid memories from both sides.  I remember going to my dads house and he would always play "Puff The Magic Dragon" for us kids and we would all sing.  I also have very strong memories of driving with my Mom and my Step-dad listening to Phil collins, "Easy Lover", in their Chevy Astro Van. For the longest time I associated Phil Collins with car sickness.  I, finally, as an adult, have gotten over that.

What can people expect to see at your live performance?

When people come to see my show, I think they get the full understanding of who I am as an artist.  For me, even in my writing, I think about how it will work live.  Music for me has, and always will be, an escape.  When I perform it's the one time I feel free from my body.  Living in NYC i'm lucky to be exposed to lots of live music.  I can't tell you how many shows I go to where the performer acts as if they are in their bedroom by themselves while the audience stands with their arms folded looking like a room full of mannequins.  I want people to feel my energy and feed off of it, and i want to feel theirs.  My show is loud, upbeat, energetic, and a lot of fun.  We need more of that.  Especially in New York where everyone takes themselves way too seriously.  I want to entertain, not, metaphorically, masturbate on stage while people watch.

What has been the biggest challenge for you in your career?

The biggest challenge for me is the amount of time it takes to do anything, especially since there aren't a lot of people doing what I do. I'm not a girl who sings over Synth-Pop tracks, or a vibey hipster band.  I can't just slip into a scene, I have to create one.

What do you do in your spare time?

I've turned into a machine this past year.  If I have spare time I feel like I'm not working hard enough.  I'm usually at the gym, at rehearsal, writing new material, or in the studio.  I really enjoy what I do, so I never resent it. 3 out of those 4 things can also be safely coupled with a margarita.

What side of you do your fans never see? What, if you could say anything, would you say to your fans? 

I'm very much a "what you see is what you get" type person.  If you listen to my music and see me play live, you basically know everything about me.

I would call them friends more than fans. The relationship we are building is so valuable to me.  They are so enthusiastic and supportive.  In a time where so many people hide behind a computer and put so much negativity out there, I have been really fortunate to reach the audience that I have.  They empower me and I want to do the same for them.

What can we expect from your new music? 

I just want Rock music to be back in a real way and in the mainstream.  Not to take anything away from other styles of music, but people are still listening to rock music obsessively on Spotify and the radio still plays everyones favorite songs from the past 40 years every time you walk into a store, bar, restaurant, get in your car, etc. You can't really say that about any other genre of music, but for some reason labels don't invest in it anymore.  The kids who follow me on my socials and download my single, "Break Free" are still listening to Nirvana, T-rex, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Def Leppard, Guns N Roses, Queen, The Rolling Stones.  They don't have a modern reference to follow. That needs to change.

If you had unlimited resources and nothing holding you back, what would you do? 

To be honest, I wouldn't do anything different.  You can't expect to have anything handed to you.  I have worked really hard for everything that I have and that is why I appreciate it so much.  I can't tell you how many new artists get swept up into their hype and stop doing the work.  I know I'm lucky to be doing what I'm doing and I take it very seriously.  I will always be the first one there and the last to leave.  There are a lot of things that I am without right now: management, a label, an agent, it's never ending. That being said, the right agent will get me in front of the audiences I want to reach and connect with.  That is my priority.  As far as the other things go, I'm not too concerned about them.  If and when I bring more people in, they have to be as passionate about the project as me or it's not worth it.