Valentina Cy is a breath of fresh air, when it comes to both her music and personality. Born and raised in Los Angeles, the singer, songwriter, producer, model, and photographer speaks her truth in her lyrics, while touching the masses with her smooth, sultry voice. When it comes to life, she enjoys everything from food to drawing.
Her fondest memories as a child include jamming out in the living room with her father, who’s a Brazillian pianist. With college on the horizon, she knew she had to make the conscious decision to pursue music full-time. In 2017, real name Valentina Cytrynowicz uploaded a song called “Easy For U” to SoundCloud — and the rest was history.
When it comes to her sound, she describes it as “organic soul pop with a country twang.” Now, she celebrates a new recording deal with Island Records, unleashing her major label debut titled “Bad.” Working directly with blackbear, the new single serves as the first of her monthly releases, running from summer through fall. Flaunt caught up with Valentina via FaceTime to discuss her upbringing in the city of Angels, working with blackbear on “Bad,” love for nature, and more!
Why the name change from Valentina to Valentina Cy?
It was the start of a new chapter. I recently signed to Island Records a few months ago. My last name is Cytrynowicz, so it’s the first 2 letters of that. It felt good to reinvent myself, but also stay even more true to who I am.
What part of Los Angeles are you from?
Basically Hollywood, Beverly Grove. If you’re from here, you know. I’ve grown up in LA my whole life. I’ve always been extremely aware of what I wanted to do since day one. I grew up around so many talented, driven people. It helped cultivate my passion and my work ethic.
Would you ever want to move elsewhere?
I’d love to live in Italy one day. That’s my favorite place in the world, south of Italy. Live in a villa, eat toast all day.
At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
I’ve always wanted to be a singer since I could remember. In high school when people started talking about college, I thought “there’s no way I’m going to college, I’m going to do music.” There’s no doubt in my mind, it was a straight path into what I wanted to do.
Who were you aspiring to be growing up?
Nina Simone, Fiona Apple, Amy Winehouse. I always wanted that super low voice. Ever since elementary school, my goal was to be able to sing with the depth of those singers.
You just released your single “Bad,” who or what inspired this?
Halsey actually, she has a song called “You should be sad.” One of my favorite songs, it’s so great. It’s the perfect mix of pop and country, I’ve listened to it on car rides over and over again for hours. It’s so great, it inspired the song a lot.
What was it like working with blackbear? What’s your guys’ relationship?
It was a dream. I had DMed him a year earlier if he’d hop on a song of mine. When he reached out over Instagram about this song I posted a little clip of, I was over the moon. I went over to his place, he’s a super warm person. A little shy but it makes me love his music even more. Because it’s hard to meet your favorite artist in case it goes wrong, but it was amazing.
Did you learn anything from working with him?
I learned if I have an instinct to write something and I feel somebody else will judge it, I should go with the instinct and not listen to the voices in my head.
What inspires you creatively?
Anger. Boys. I love writing about all the salty little details of a relationship, when it goes bad. [laughs]
How was shooting the music video, directed by your sister Marcella?
My sister has directed, produced, and edited every single one of my music videos. It’s so fun because I give her a song and she comes back with the full treatment. I don’t even say anything, I trust that everything she does comes out beautiful. It’s amazing to be able to work with my sister and the small crew we have every single time. My boyfriend had a horse so we used a horse. My dad was PAing on it, it was the best time.
Do you like nature?
I really like nature. Often when I’m in a mood where I can’t talk to anyone about what I‘m going through, I will drive to the beach. I live in Santa Monica so I drive down the PCH. I’ll sit right near the ocean and watch the waves for hours, listen to music. Lately I’ve been going camping over quarantine. I like how tough of a backpacking trip may seem, then you get to the top of it and like “okay, I can do anything!”
I see you making cute videos on IG. How important is social media for your career?
Thank you, social media’s extremely important for my career. I’m so thankful to have a platform where I can show people what I believe in, also hopefully inspire everybody with recipes and music. I’ve always used social media as a marketing tool, which is the most useful and mentally safe way to use social media. Since I was 15, I’ve used it as a tool for photography, music, and to share what my friends are doing as well.
Favorite person to follow?
Probably Dua Lipa. Honestly from fashion to music to how she addresses issues going on today, she’s a major inspo.
How did you find your way to Island Records?
When I was managing myself 2 years ago, I had lunch with a guy named Kevin McMullan, who’s now my A&R. He was at another label, then he moved to Island. He introduced me to my manager, then they were best friends. He brought me into Island with one of his best friends, it was one of those amazing organic LA things. I owe a lot to Kevin.
How would you describe your fashion style?
My style is extremely connected to my mood, depending on my confidence level. I’ll wear all black and a hoodie one day, not even show my face, or I’ll go all colorful, sexy, cool if I need to be looked at that day. Just walk out confidently.
What’s one thing fans may not know about you?
My nickname was Tuna until I was 18. [laughs] I had a teacher in 3rd grade from Rhode Island, he called me Valentuna. It was literally my name,no one called me Valentina until after high school.
Goals for yourself at this point?
To sing the James Bond theme song, and to tour around the world. I love performing. It’s actually my favorite part out of everything in music.