Ingenuity and vision, these are some of the traits that make up a truly inventive artist. The kind that you watch as they grow themselves, while affecting the artform around them with their pure creativity. The kind of artist that leaves home in pursuit of their dreams at a young age, chasing the intangible, forever reaching forward in their strides to realize the image in their soul. The kind of artist that you would say Brayden Valerie is.
Barely eighteen and full of wide eyed plans for the future, Brayden Valerie is the epitome of the wild creative. A spirit that goes forth into the world to design a better one as they walk, experiencing the highs and lows that life has to offer. Even within the short conversation we had with one another, I could tell that Valerie doesn't make art out of a want, but out of a physical need to build. These are the very artists we wish to promote to the wider world around us, because it is these artists who will elevate the craft around them. Regardless of how you feel about the music, the experimental edge necessary for growth is as obvious as the sky is blue. So sit back and enjoy the clouds, get lost in the sound.
This following interview has been edited for clarity.
So for our readers, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Brayden Valerie, I hate my real last name so I'm gonna legally change it to Valerie 'cause I'm hella ashamed of my roots and shit. I'm eighteen, ran away when I was like 17. Dropped out of school, some shit came up so I had to go back home and now I'm in Los Angeles. I rap and people say they like my music.
How'd you find your love for music?
I watched Get Rich or Die Tryin'. Turned it on one night and I was like, "yeah this is fucking awesome." Then I started listening to hella music from that era, like early 2000's Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, even some Eminem. I just thought it was awesome and I loved the melodies these guys were coming up with, and when I love something I just have to try it out for myself.
I know the "Bullet//Suzuki" video recently dropped on Vimeo, how do you feel about that?
Honestly, I'm really fucking proud of it. I've been really scared to put out a music video up until this point, because of like a fear to disrespect genuine filmmakers. You know what I'm saying, I don't ever want to put out bad content. That's my biggest fear, putting out bad content. I'm never gonna put something out for the sake of putting something out.
That's why it took so long. I've been making music since I was thirteen and I barely put out my first music video when I was eighteen. So just the fact that I was able to put out a good music video makes me really happy and what makes me even more happy is that people think it's even better than I think it is.
So, Parker Jeppsen of Absent USA helped in the video's creation. Can you tell us how you two met?
I was just added to a group chat one day, it was called The Proxy group chat, it was a little thing created by a mutual friend Tamia. Anyhow, there was this kid Parker who was like, "yo, I fuck with your avi," 'cause I was wearing a Menace shirt and he really fucks with the brand Menace. He was just like, "I fuck with your style, your aesthetic, blah blah blah." And that was it, we started talking through Twitter and linked up.
Not too long ago you dropped your EP, Valerie, how did that come together?
So that was back in like February and basically. Like prior to, Valerie, I was working on another project called, Whore of the Orient, and it was gonna serve as my official debut album. It was gonna be really conceptual, but I just felt like I needed a better intro.
Originally I just wanted to put out like three songs, just three hot ass singles that had the potential to blow up. I just wanted to elevate my status and all that shit, but just like anything I work on it became so much more. Like I ended up adding a whole other track and it kind of took on its own identity. As for its creation process, it was just me and my friend Jacob in his messy ass room working non-stop. I payed for a track to be mixed and the guy took forever and then sent me back some shitty work, I got so pissed I actually like punched my laptop and broke it because it was the night before the drop. Jacob stayed up all night remixing the whole thing, so shout out him.
I can tell you take from a large range of influences. Can you give us your top five across any medium?
Obviously I'm hella influenced by cinema. Like early Wes Anderson shit like, Bottle Rocket, or any David Fincher, he's like my favorite filmmaker. I love his work. The Social Network is my favorite movie of all time.
Honestly I don't know if I could list five so I'll just say: avant-garde cinema, early 2000's rap music, Lucki, whose a rapper, and then, honestly, motorcycles.
You have a very distinct style, what three words would you use to describe it?
Can I just use one?
Go for it.
"I'd put a song on YouTube and get a thousand views, but only one like and like two-hundred dislikes. Made me hella depressed. I'd go sit in my room and say I'm never making music again.
But that was a lie, I just love this shit too much."
How did this style develop? Did you try other sounds first or was this the natural instinct?
When I first started out my shit was totally different. Like first of all, I was trash, and secondly I was rapping on some straight boom-bap shit. I'd get hella hate and shit, I'd put a song on YouTube and get a thousand views, but only one like and like two-hundred dislikes. Made me hella depressed. I'd go sit in my room and say I'm never making music again.
But that was a lie, I just love this shit too much. My style just developed as I developed as a human. The shit that inspires me is just my taste really. The movies I like, certain aesthetics, all that shit. At the end of the day I just make what I want to make.
What do you think is your "star power"?
No one is like me. It might be a shitty answer, but I just have a lot of individuality and no can make the same shit that I can make. I don't wanna sit here and say I'm gonna make it, but I'm really unique so I know what I make will be unique. Hopefully the world will see that and cherish the fuck out of it.
I believe I can be doing the shit that Kanye and Kid Cudi did for music in a few years.
What are your next steps over the coming months?
Honestly, right now I'm just trying to make sure I'm not going to be homeless in Los Angeles. Like I'm living at this crib with seven other people that I don't know very well and everyone has got to be out by like the end of the month. Right now I don't really know what the fuck I'm going to do. I'm trying to get my own place, but I have stuff I gotta figure out first. But that's like one of the biggest factors in my life right now.
Other than that I'm just trying to put out as many singles as I can right now and then I'm really trying to hone in on this album because it means a lot to me and I know it can be really special. I'm trying to collab more and go do shows and shit.