Chopping It Up

Chopping it up with Vali, Laurieann Gibson’s Newest Star

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We recently chopped it up with upcoming artist Vali and her manager and creative director, Miss “Boom Kack” herself, Laurieann Gibson about the life of a rising artist. A native New Yorker with vibrant gray locks and a voice that inspires, Vali spoke with intern Nia on life as an artist who not only wants to entertain, but inform her audience on the real issues.

Why music? What were the driving forces behind your decision to pursue this industry?

My influence started as a young girl. Both of my parents were musicians. I trained and studied music both vocally and instrumentally at Laguardia Performing Arts School in New York. I was heavily involved in the all the school choirs, learned music theory and even composed music. Discipline was the hardest but I knew I always wanted to pursue this career. I looked up to Michael Jackson, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Beyonce, and Mariah Carey.

What made you decide to move to L.A. and what was the move like?

I knew the move to LA had to happen. I wasn’t booking any gigs in New York and by moving to L.A., I could focus a lot better on music there. I needed a change.

At first, I had no friends, no place to stay but my drive kept me going.

Take us through your song writing process. 

When I write, I start from scratch. [There’s] no track made and I sit with the producer. We develop a message, [and decide] what and who we want to inspire and go from there.

Your new single is “Ain’t No Friend of Mine” aka ANFOM. What inspired you to make this song?

ANFOM came about when I was in the studio one day and I saw these tribal drums in the room. I just went over and started playing and shortly after I developed a beat and the phrase: “Ain’t no friend of mine, ain’t no friend of mine.” You’ll hear it in the song, the drums in the background. We went around the room to decipher what it meant — we came up with: Liberation. Freedom. Not being bound.

the sun will come out tomorrow #anfom #newmusic #aintnofriendofmine #musicvideo

A post shared by vali (@vali) on

Why did you choose to begin working with Laurieann?

As a creative director, I fell in love with [Laurieann’s] process. She was the perfect person to take my career to next level. She taught me how to be fearless. To go into this career with no boundaries.

Laurieann: I had choreographed Missy Elliot, Brandy, and Dainty Kane. After working with Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj, I realized that I wanted to create another version of creativity.

When I met Vali, I met a similar soul. I met a girl that had the same artistic DNA that I have. Similar to how she left NY to go to L.A., I also left my home of Toronto to be in NYC at 17. After working together, Vali asked me to be her manager.

I told her: “Don’t do this unless you’re serious.” What I respect about Vali is that she knows how to be humble and gracious.

Laurieann, how would you describe Vali’s music?

Her music has no boundaries. We share the same ideals on love, hate, prejudice, racism and so on. That’s how ANFOM came together.

Vali, you’ve been writing your own music from the young age of two. From then to now, how has your music evolved?

From my first piano piece at two, it only consisted of a few notes. Today, my music is pulled from different experiences. The music contains more decal and stories.

How would describe your personal style?

Preppy urban with a vintage feel. I label myself as a musician, artist, and entertainer. I don’t compare myself to anyone. I live in my own world.

What’s the most rewarding thing about being an artist? 

Everything! I want to inspire. Have people feel that they’re a part of a movement. To not judge because we’re not perfect.

Check out the official video to #ANFOM now!


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