Hugo Valentine

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Every Monday we will be bringing you interviews with unsigned UK or Ireland artists for Independent Music Monday. Recently we caught up with unsigned London singer Hugo Valentine to find out more…

Where are you from and how did you first get into music?
I'm from London UK and first got into music via the piano. My grandmother had bought me a toy piano as a present at the age of four and I taught myself 'twinkle-twinkle little star.' I then began taking lessons soon after.

Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
When I was growing up, my influences were Queen, INXS, Genesis, even Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven. But when I actually began writing music for myself, I really was majorly inspired by Bowie, The Beatles, Elton John, Coldplay, Queen, and then later on Arctic Monkeys and Radiohead among others.

How would you describe your sound?
I would say my sound is piano-led indie pop. Catchy and hook driven but with lyrical depth. Majorly inspired by festivals.

What is your latest release called and what was the influence behind it?
My latest release is called 'Live Another Day.' It is an appeal to a sufferer of drug addiction, and the essence of the track is light from darkness, hope from desperation. I tend to write about things that are close to my heart but when the subject matter is something painful, I always try to put a positive spin on it, to give hope to the listener. I aim to heal with my music, so that people can relate my words to their own experiences and hopefully bring light to their own darkness. This is what music does and has always done for me, so I hope to give some of that back to other people.

What’s your local music scene like?
The local music scene, ie London, does not have a particularly 'local' feel to me. My music is on the 'pop' side of things and therefore it is more based on little 'pockets' rather than what I would consider to be a particular scene. I think there are great musical areas in London - Camden is somewhere I really relate to, as well as Shoreditch, but given the size of London I think people tend to gravitate towards specific venues rather than particular scenes. At least that's my take on it!

What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
Next release is scheduled for 2nd August. Following that I am planning to release the subsequent singles in late September and early November. I am also playing at Camp Bestival, Carfest North, Carfest South and Brookfest with the full band, and we will be doing another London show around October time.

Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
I would love to collaborate with Sia, Diplo, and Mark Ronson (not all at the same time!!). Oh and Max Martin, he's a total genius and legend.

Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
Ah there is one story. Not so funny but it was pretty cool. I was doing a show at a place called Raffles in London a few years back and my bassist dropped out last minute. I had found a guy to replace him but as it was such late notice we didn't have time for a rehearsal, or in fact to even meet in advance of the gig. He finally turned up (I only recognised him vaguely from his Facebook profile photo) and he basically went straight on stage with us half an hour later and totally slayed the gig!

What is the one thing that you want readers to know about you?
I want readers to know that I like to tell stories, and I am not afraid of making music that is pop. Music is a way of connecting people, and that is really what I live for - in today's world it's so easy to overlook the importance of human connection and that is something I strive for in my music and indeed in my daily life.

You can find out more about Hugo via Facebook, Instagram, Spotify or Twitter.