Gracie Stagliano

An up-and-coming hip-hop artist, K’Valentine is almost at the end of her first tour with Talib Kweli and Styles P. To preview her second-to-last stop on the tour in Philadelphia, I asked her about the tour so far, and what we can expect from her in the near future.

An interview with K’Valentine to discuss the Seven tour.

What have you enjoyed on the tour so far, and what are you excited about experiencing during the rest of it?

Wow, this tour has been fun! This is the longest I’ve ever been on the road, actually on a tour bus. I’m the only girl, so it’s been fun just being on the bus. Sometimes I’m really quiet and the guys ask like “hey, are you alright?” But really I’m just soaking everything in, just being in the moment, and thanking God for this opportunity. Even traveling and being exposed to the beautiful scenery; it has renewed my appreciation for this life and reconfirmed how awesome God is as a creator, just seeing the trees and the mountains and the animals as we’re driving from state-to-state- it’s amazing. And interacting with all of these people—some who have heard of me, some who have never heard of me-  I’m still receiving the same amount of love from the people. I feel like I’ve taken thousands and thousands of pictures already. But I don’t take it for granted. It’s been really fun. I’ve gotten to know Styles P a little more. We’re going to work on some new music soon, so I’m really excited about that as well.

Are there any cities you’ve particularly enjoyed or any that you’re excited to visit on the next half of the tour?

All of the crowds have been pretty good, but some of the crowds, like the L.A. crowd was super dope. Some of the crowds are a little more alive than others, but L.A. was dope, the Berkeley crowd was really dope, Seattle was really dope, Portland- the audience was crazy, like super crazy. Boise was dope. I know that because I wrote it in my phone. I kind of rate the audience, and those are the ones that I wrote “super dope” next to. Cause I don’t want to forget this stuff. When I go on tour, and I do my own tour, I want to make sure I get those cities again. I’m really looking forward to Chicago, which is Thursday. I’m looking forward to Minneapolis, which is tomorrow, because I know some people there, and I want to go to the Mall of America. I’m also really looking forward to the New York show. I’m looking forward to the Philly show! I’m gonna get me a Philly cheese steak.

What can fans expect from your performance and how is it different from listening to your music at home?

I would say they could expect a more intimate performance. They can expect crowd interaction. I like to include them. When I’m on stage, I make eye contact with them. Sometimes I’ll do a song where I drop the beat and I’ll start doing some a capella, so you can really hear the lyrics. It’s one of my favorite songs that I do. I’m going to need crowd participation for that, and since we’ve been on tour, the crowd loves when I implement them on these songs.

Do you perform any spoken word on stage?

I haven’t done any spoken word recently. Someone else asked me that. Just because I’ve been so consumed with the music and getting my album complete. But if you were to go through my phone and look through my notes, there’s lyrics and lyrics for days. I can be just going about my day, I could be in the shower, I could be eating, and lyrics come to me, and so I write them down immediately so I don’t forget them. I’m sure if you go through my phone you’d see some spoken word, but I haven’t actually sat down and wrote a poem in a while.

How do you feel that you express your creative vision on stage? How do you go from words on a page to performing?

I think it has to do with when you write a song, you have to make it sound believable in the booth. It’s acting. Not visual acting; it’s audio acting. I don’t even want to say acting because a lot of my stuff is really how I feel. But you just have to relay those feelings on stage, and when it’s a live performance it’s no longer just audio. It’s visual too. So all the way from your body language, to your movement, to everything, your voice. It has to relay what that specific song is about.

Are you performing a lot of songs from Here for a Reason, or are you performing older songs?

I’m doing a combination of both. I’m doing some songs from my last mix tape, Million Dollar Baby, and I’m also doing some songs from my debut album, Here for a Reason. It’s a good combination of songs.

What do you think that you get out of a live performance? What’s your favorite part of performing? What’s important about it for you?

My favorite part of performing is being able to interact with the crowd. Normally when people are listening to your music, you’re not able to interact with them because they’re at home, but having them be able to listen to it, and I’m right there to connect with them is the best. The song that I close out with is called “Family” and for that song, I need crowd participation, and I think that’s one of my favorite moments because the crowd is really engaged, and it’s just fun.

Do you think that your performance has changed at all since you’ve been on tour, and if so, how?

Yeah, I would say that my performance has actually gotten better. When you’re doing it every night, you can only improve. So yeah, it’s just gotten tighter, and I don’t run out of breath or anything. I feel like I’m a pro.

How do you feel your performance as a woman is different than Talib or Styles P or any other male hip-hop artist?

I think it’s just something new, something fresh. I don’t want Styles or Talib to be jealous, but the audience, they come to me and say “You were way better than both of them.” I think it’s just refreshing to witness a female in hip-hop to get up and have something to say. That’s what a lot of them say like “It was refreshing; you were the highlight of the night.” It’s good to see a pretty girl on the bill with two strong men. It’s like a treat.

What is the future of women in the rap or hip-hop world? Do you think we’ll be seeing more female artists in the near future?

I hope so! I’m gonna continue. And I think more of them are coming up. I think Nicki [Minaj], when she made her way on the scene, I think she inspired a lot of female hip-hop artists. Even the ones who had been out before her but you hadn’t heard anything; they came back from underneath the rocks. I know a lot of female hip-hop artists as well. I think the more women who are in the forefront and brave enough to continue are only gonna inspire more women. So I definitely do see it building in the future.

Can we expect you to go on another tour soon? What’s your next big project?

I would say the main focus after the tour is to release the album. My hope and my plan is to have a Here for a Reason tour eventually. I’m super excited about Here for a Reason being released, and for people to hear it. It’s an amazing body of work, and I’m not just saying that because I created it. I’m able to be unbiased. I’m able to step outside my own box and listen. I don’t think there’s anybody who would listen to that and not be able to relate to something on the album.

What was your inspiration for your song “Atlanta”?

I was actually packing, getting ready to fly to Atlanta. And while I was packing I was listening to this beat. I love Atlanta. I tell my sister all the time I’m either going to move there or L.A. because I just love Atlanta. I love the energy. I love the people. I love the southern hospitality. I love everything. So I was like, you know what, “Atlanta, Atlanta I miss you.” That came to my head, the hook. I was like, I’m going to write a love song to Atlanta, but I’m going to liken it to a guy, just to make it a little bit more creative and a little bit more feisty, instead of just speaking.

Check out a follow-up review of K’Valetine’s Concert at Theatre of Living Arts on February 9th here: https://barricadeblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/27/kvalentine-theatre-of-living-arts-4-4-17/

For more information and tour dates visit: http://kvalentine.com/

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