Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, we previously featured Dolly Valentine back in 2018 when she was making up half of the duo, Holy Golden. Now releasing as a solo artist, and attempting to, “express the most complicated things in the simplest way”, Dolly recently released her debut album, How To Be Good. Although a solo record, How To Be Good was made with acclaimed producer Ryan Hadlock, and also features contributions from an all-star cast of musicians from bands such as Field Medic, Ought, and Illuminati Hotties.
Discussing the influences behind her music, Dolly Valentine has cited both the retro-classics of Tom Petty and The Beach Boys, as well as the more contemporary ilk of Waxahatchee and Kacey Musgraves. How To Be Good is a record that seems to walk the line between the ambition of alt-country and the polish of chart-bound pop; as with acts like Gemma Hayes or Neko Case, Dolly Valentine seems equally at home in either genre. Across the album’s twelve tracks, Dolly seems to drift between moods, from the atmospheric, piano-led road song Go On to the arpeggiated guitars and backward glancing lyrics of Michigan, 1997. Perhaps the stand-out moment is Love Is Love, a twanging country number, resplendent with a skipping drum rhythm and triumphant chiming bells, as Dolly sings, “the world don’t make much sense but I don’t mind, if love is love and you are mine”. By the time the album draws to a close on the defiant, These Lips Are Mine, it feels like a triumphant journey, a record littered with moments of self-discovery, love and hope. Dolly Valentine might not have all the answers, but as she sings at the end of it all, “be proud to say, you made it here today, you came a long way”; with a record this good, her journey is surely only just getting started.
FTR: For those who don’t know who is Dolly Valentine?
Well, Dolly Valentine is me. A singer, songwriter, storyteller, and mystical-minded human just trying to make the best out of life and do what I love!
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
New Year’s Eve 2017 in Newport, Rhode Island in the back room of my friend’s former vintage shop – a special place called ‘Maison DNA.’ I wore an orange silk cape from the 1800’s! Just a few friends and family were there. I wasn’t even performing as Dolly Valentine yet. Afterwards we walked the historic streets of town and had champagne in a fancy old hotel. It was magic. The perfect way to usher in a lifetime of performing!
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
I make music because I love to. I’ve dabbled in other art forms but music is what I do with the most flow and ease. I want to say something though about the process of sharing music (or any art you make) because it can be very tricky terrain. It took me time and soul-searching to feel confident about who I was and what I was making. Making is one thing, presenting another. My heart feels so connected to other artists because sometimes our society doesn’t really know how to foster artists and of course, it’s rare to grow up in an environment that says “yeah, you can just go follow your heart’s desire and be totally successful within the realities of the world.” I encourage all artists to fight for what they believe in and trust that maybe they aren’t where they want to be yet, but the path is truly beautiful if you open up to it and things take time!
When I feel the vibration of a song, like literally playing an instrument or singing, it’s this pure form of healing. It’s the way I digest the layers of my consciousness! Music is a universal language.
FTR: What can people expect from the Dolly Valentine live show?
I’ve been told multiple times that a performance was “hypnotic.” There’s the happy fun songs where I’m dancing and moving around a lot and then the songs where I’m super focused and just closing my eyes lost in the moment. I get pretty focused when I perform, but I’m curious what performances will feel like once we can start playing live again! I hope there will be many with lots of people in the audience feeling good vibes!
FTR: What’s next for Dolly Valentine?
After finishing the album, the world threw us all for a curveball! I came home from traveling. I started a small farm, I’ve been living life slower. Meditating more, learning about things. I can’t say exactly what’s next for Dolly Valentine but new music is slowly trickling through the creative pipes and there will always be more music. Also, I have this beautiful intuitive feeling of good things to come.
They Listen To…
Samba Toure – Chiri Hari
Valley Maker – Beautiful Birds Flying
Victoria Reed – Same Way
Helado Negro – Please Won’t Please
Aldous Harding – Fixture Picture
How To Be Good is out now. Click HERE for more information on Dolly Valentine.