By Terry Martin
Founder of RnBInTheD.com
At first glance, Canadian singer-songwriter Kat Valentine gives off a unique vibe and that’s exactly how she likes it. The first rule of engagement: Get to your attention, whether its direct or by distraction in order to disarm, capture and hold you. Kat Valentine’s theatric music videos and style she protrudes seemingly is a mix between gothic and Harajuku, giving off a very punk-rock vibe.
“I don’t really consider myself goth. I guess my style is alternative, but even then a lot of alternative people would say my style is tame cause of the lack of piercings and/or tattoos—though I plan to change that, I’m just indecisive as hell.” States the Windsor, Ontario native who began her career a short seven years ago as a contestant on The Next Star a Canadian version of American Idol.
Seemingly ingenue, Kat Valentine performs shows in both Detroit (also known as ‘Motown’) which has a heavy music and art scene and on the other side of the border in Windsor, Ontario – known as ‘The Canadian Gateway.’ Both cities have exceptional artists in their local music scenes and seemingly share much of the same talent across the border. As a promoter and show organizer, watching Kat Valentine perform in Detroit got my head to turn, some call it the ‘it factor.’ I call it good air.’
“I think there’s something off about me that people want to figure out. My sound can be hard to place. I try to do what I do for the girls, for their gaze and their power fantasies. But I think there’s something for everyone. I want to make an effort to connect with people and fans and become a reflection of what they want to see in an idol, because I don’t think fan service is a bad thing. Fanservice is what I live for.“ – Kat Valentine explains her personality and musical mission to her fans.
Once the spotlight shined on Kat Valentine, it never dimmed. After placing fourth in Canada’s The Next Star, Kat Valentine continued her journey and sought to find herself both musically and more. She began the indie artist route performing in and around the Province of Ontario while finishing school and beginning college. She also released her own independent music.
“I’ve loved music all my life. I begged my parents for six years to audition for The Next Star on YTV, and when I was 13 they finally let me. They weren’t expecting me to get a golden ticket let alone go to the end but I’ve always believed in myself. This is all I’ve ever wanted to do. It opened up some doors for me and taught me a lot about the industry but going back to a normal life after instilled in me the drive to keep making music. I’ll never not be an artist; I’ll always chase the spotlight.”
Kat Valentine is a multi-thronged chameleon mutation of an artist. Creating r&b-pop music the way she does, puts her in line with artists such as Beyonce or Rhianna. Kat Valentine’s lighting in the bottle is a mixture of part vibe, musical notation and substance over style.
“They [music and image] are equally important to me. Music is a multi-sensory experience. We all may not taste color or see sounds but many of us are transported to powerful memories when we hear a certain melody. Many of us play our music loud enough [that] it shakes our bones. Many of us make love to our favorite songs. If an artist can find a way to mediate those experiences, optimize every dimension ion and every sense, they can make the ultimate connection with their fans.” states Kat Valentine who has built a strong reputation in her native Windsor.
Vocalist Kat Valentine takes comparisons as nods to her own influences but keeps a look out for this one because she is following a path toward total domination in the music industry. She is actively taking a hand in her plans in all aspects, directing herself toward her goals with every calculated move from music to the image to visual treatments. She has her own ideas and works to implement them as much as she can.
”I’m super into the music video process of things. I want to make a short film with a music video as the script in the next couple years. I’ve also been working on a line of refurbished and upcycled vintage. I wanna do it all. I produced most of my album too and I can see myself doing that for others. Anything that allows me to take creative control, I wanna do.” Kat Valentine explains her video creation process.
If you are the type of music lover who digs Victoria Monet, Normani and Teyana Taylor type of artists, then Kat Valentine is your flavor. American audiences of late are welcoming Canadian’s musical children at a much higher rate than in the past and making them worldwide superstars. With the influx of Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Carly Rae Jepsen and of course the iconic artist Drake, a good number of bigger musical artists in the first quarter on the 21st century are Canadian-born and bred.
“It’s funny when Americans don’t recognize super popular songs or artists from my childhood; I forget how isolated – or rather exclusive – the American media is. I think it’s the case that if artists want to succeed internationally their best chance is through the American market. With my proximity to Detroit especially, I’ll be making it through to the US soon enough. But my preference can’t go wrong with that universal healthcare. I think my homebase will be in Canada even as I expand.” Kat Valentine explains.
Keeping her roots are very important to the young singer and songwriter, whose music touches that side of pop. Although it is stereotypical that black artists are expected to do r&b by nature, Kat Valentine believes it is a title that artists are not solely identified by. Kat Valentine does not consider herself strictly an r&b artist and she doesn’t listen to r&b on the usual and she doesn’t think black artists are starting to feel comfortable identifying themselves within different genres or creating all new genres themselves.
“I think it’s a term that’s plastered onto a lot of black artists because of a history we don’t talk about or know about. But regardless, look at an artist like Ariana Grande: runs for days, trap beats, down to the women she says she’s influenced by Aretha Franklin Mariah Carey and yet no one hesitates to classify her as Pop. In a way I think R&B is dying or expanding.” Explains Kat Valentine.
Her latest EP “Sirens Pt. 1” is a buildup that started in 2020 and culminated with the release in 2022. Fully self-written and produced material, Kat Valentine has delivered a very well-oiled batch of bangers. Kat Valentine’s style gets a visual treatment with the songs “Please Me” and an extended visual for “Casualty.” The latter of which Kat Valentine displays as her capable acting chops. As a songwriter, Kat Valentine always had a strong pen game but with help from other producers, now she has grown into producer in her own right, creating a solid landscape around her compositions. According to Kat Valentine, her sound engineers have been instrumental in making her music come to life.
She currently works with both Avius and MAD Recordings out of Windsor. Avius helped to develop and produce Kat Valentine’s first single, “Please Me,” everything else has come straight from Kat Valentine since she has been on a tight budget, so all of the audio stems were produced in-house and arranged on GarageBand before bringing them to the studio. Her own music fabrication style is groove-heavy, mid to up-tempo productions that allow Kat Valentine the space for her sultry lyrics that come across as sensual and enticing. Kat Valentine’s song makes you wanna go straight to bed with a lover and her capable vocals help ride it out.
The self-described “Kitty Kaos” has been prepping for her destiny for a while and is lashing out to make her presence known and remembered. Doubt anyone will forget nor regret coming across Kat Valentine. Some plan to live a lifetime trying to make their mark if only for a short time The thing about this kat, is she’s just getting started and making sure you know her not just for this lifetime but for all nine.