A confluence of intellectual, spiritual, and carnal musings, Reah swaggers her way through one rhythmic vignette to another. Think art rock with a splash of jazz and funk, she’s an indie rocker on an idiosyncratic rampage. Seizing that particular palette of genres, she makes them do what she wants. In the song “Gravity”, an urgent tempo does a chameleon switch, rolling and rocking softly into an un-self conscious sexiness. Her vocals take off into her own personal orbit, a girlish fragrance inhabiting every note.
But make no mistake: This artist is always in charge. Reah lures, she pries, she ridicules, invites, taunts and regrets. With the jazzy horns in “Melodrama” and the honky tonk piano energy in “Sober”, she carries the tension and exposition to unexpected, firecracker-like endings. The funny, ravishing “Undress Me…and get to know me better…Let’s set this room on fire”) is upbeat and nonchalant at the same time. So what makes Reah sing? “I always felt it was deliberating…singing is a beautiful way to deliberate”, the multi-lingual artist explains.
The back yard served as her first “recording studio”, the scene of her childhood rock-singer stylings. “I remember my father had a large collection of records. I tried to copy all the songs…and I remember sorting through them in priority of how I liked them. I love Creedence Clearwater Revival, Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd and the Beatles.” Eric Clapton’s “Unplugged” album sparked her desire to learn guitar. Although Dad obliged with a guitar and a teacher, he endorsed school studies over her pursuit of music.
“I had to sneak around to play in a band or go to music rehearsals.” She was thirteen at the time, and since then has added her current favorite instrument, the drums, to her repertoire. But don’t bet on drums remaining her favorite, because the only constant about Reah Valente - is that she’s constantly evolving. But Reah is a songwriter too, all her life writing songs. “Simplicity of song and lyrics… I remember the first time listening to ‘Have You Ever Seen the Rain’ and thinking to myself, ‘How can someone make something so beautiful?’ I let myself be touched by the music I was hearing then.
And I was so young!” After her parents divorced, life granted her admittance to the teenage going-through-changes experience. Dating, relationships, moving around a lot in Brazil, and a tapestry of cultural perspectives were her instructors in the discipline of flexibility. “So as not to get hurt…I have a very flexible nature. I’ll try hard.
But I’m ambitious too. I’m disciplined and focused. If I want something, there is nothing else that exists except that.” At eighteen, Reah was living in Tokyo and working at a modeling agency. And something was not quite right.
“The moment I decided to become a musician…I asked my mother ‘What was I born to do?’ ‘Music’, she replied. ‘You are all music.’ The next day I shaved my head and quit the modeling agency.” The sidewalk crowds of Tokyo were her first audience. Performing in two bands followed, in one of them as guitarist and the other as lead singer. At age twenty-one she signed her first record deal.
After working with a task-master Japanese producer, a savvier Reah embarked on two South Japan tours. Then there was a radio program in Okayama. “Twenty-one was the best year of my life…My hair was short, I had a dog. I left the craziness behind and it was good.” From Japan Reah moved to New York City, to major culture shock and major bad vibes. The Rx required a pit stop back to Brazil “to fix my head… to say ‘hello’ to my own spirituality…Yes, I am very spiritual.
Not on the religious side, but understanding that people are in different places in their lives…It allows me to be more patient, more humble…and so human.” What if she could have her dream come true right now? “I am exactly where I want to be right now…I feel that maturity has finally hit me…Whatever I get from now on, it would be very welcome. I’ve been able to achieve what I want so far. And if I haven’t, I am heading towards it.” One thing Reah knows fervently is the kind of music she wants to make. “I don’t like labels…I have always wanted to make music that I want to listen to. Not because of an inclination, that you like the artist…but because it’s good music.” She achieves this goal impressively.
And the relentless truth is that Reah Valente’s music does subvert the whole music-genre system. Anarchy? No. But it is subversive. Subversive rock? She won’t approve of that label either By Christine Summer March, 2009 Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
show me more