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Meet Alejandro Valentin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alejandro Valentin.

Alejandro, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’m a singer, songwriter, and actor. Funny enough, I didn’t pursue any of these ambitions until I was in college. As an LA native, I grew up in the city of Hawthorne, the heart of the South Bay. Hawthorne is recognized as the home of many talented and critically acclaimed musicians like The Beach Boys and Tyler the Creator, to name a few. As a first-generation Cuban American, I not only grew up in an environment where music was culture was prominent outside of the home but also inside of the home. I am the youngest of 3 other siblings, all of whom are talented in the arts and that I take inspiration from. When I was six years old, my mom would often invite our neighbors into our living room to watch me sing and dance to Michael Jackson’s music. Yes, I tried to dress like him and imitate his dance moves. Who doesn’t? I also vividly remember waking up every Saturday morning to the sounds of my mom passionately cleaning while playing Salsa or religious music on full volume. Music is something I cannot avoid, even if I am asleep.

However, I kept my musical talents and theatrical aspirations behind closed doors due to my crippling fear of rejection or embarrassment. Like many teenagers, I attempted to fit in with the “cool kids.” I played basketball religiously. I walked, talked, and tried to dress like a jock. Don’t get me wrong, I love basketball. I, too had hoop dreams of becoming a pro basketball player for the LA Lakers. While my sights were set on basketball throughout high school, I was also a chubby, long-haired 16-year-old kid creating online video game commentaries and uploading hundreds of videos to YouTube through a partnership program. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school, where I shifted my attention away from these ambitions and focused on improving my academics so that I can attend college. Then life took its’ course. I was rejected admission into my dream school, UCLA, and after being miserable for months, I withdrew my commitment to CSULB and decided to enroll into El Camino Community College so that I can reapply to UCLA as a transfer. Most of my family and friends strongly opposed this decision.

So how does this journey relate to me being a singer, songwriter, and actor? I wish I can answer this question comprehensively, but in truth, I think we all understand that our choices and experiences continue to reveal to us new information about ourselves, including what our hearts most desire—in know, cliché but true.

Before I transferred to UCLA, I enrolled in a singing class during the Summer with some friends. By the end of the course, I wanted to do it all over again. I was like a kid, once again, ready to use his God-given talent to pursue his childhood dreams of becoming a singer and an actor. While I was a junior at UCLA, I enrolled in my first acting class in the UCLA Theater, Film, and Television (TFT) department. That class put the scope of my life into perspective. I’ll never forget the day I ran to my dorm room with excitement after my monologue performance. While lying down on my bed, I told my roommate “I can’t believe I finally know what I want to do with my life.” From that moment on, I studied various forms of acting technique at the Speiser Sturges Acting Studio, Carolyne Barry Acting Academy, Torrance Theater Company, and other studios. I have been casted in various lead roles for short films and student thesis films for the USC School of Cinematic Arts MFA program, NYFA, and Occidental College.

In the Fall of 2018, I enrolled into a music production course, a songwriting course, and worked with a vocal coach in my local community. Since then, I have written dozens of songs and have dedicated my life to discovering new ways to express my emotions through my music. My primary instrument is my voice. I am learning how to play guitar and piano, using the same curiosity that I once had since I was a kid. I spend hours each day not only writing music and practicing vocal technique, but I also produce, record, mix, and master my vocals onto a track using ProTools. I currently have three songs available for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, and all other digital platforms. It has only been six months since I released my first single, “Love You Till’ I Can’t Anymore” online. Although I may not have a large audience, it pleases me to know that most of the people I have interacted with, including young students that I mentor, love my music and know the lyrics, word by word. That is a gratifying feeling.

I plan on releasing my first EP on all digital streaming platforms this Summer and hope to attract the right talent representation in the near future.

Has it been a smooth road?
If I may speak on behalf of all musicians and actors, heck anything worth pursuing in life, our pursuits are anything but smooth, to be frank. But honestly, the bumpy roads and detours have led me to different destinations that connected me with wonderful friends and mentors who I call family.

Pursuing a career in the arts, especially in a place like Los Angeles, is rather difficult. It requires ample resources, accessibility, talent, hard work, luck, and above all else, connections. With that said, I have already been rejected hundreds of times from auditions, talent agents, managers, etc. I imagine there will be more rejections to come, but that does not phase me because I know that as long as I continue to enjoy the process and create what I love, my work will be in the right place at the right time for the better. Plus, there’s more to life than music and film.

Can you give our readers some background on your music?
My music can be heard by searching “Alejandro Valentin” on all streaming platforms (Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Google Play, etc.). My style blends rhythmic verses and punchy melodies layered over contemporary productions that vary between dark, electro-pop to funk and contemporary pop. I record all of my music at my home studio using ProTools.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I am an LA native—I cannot see myself living anywhere else. I am fortunate to have grown up in a community that embraces diverse cultures from all around the world. As far as making music and pursuing acting in Film and Television, Los Angeles remains the entertainment capital of the world. Let it be known to everyone though: LA is not as glittery and glamorous as Instagram and commercials/movies make it to be. It is a city of blood, sweat, and tears. Dreams turned into reality. Dreams crushed by reality. More importantly. The spirit and culture of LA thrive from the very fabric of the working-class men and women of color, many of whom are immigrants.

Nevertheless, and everyone living in LA can agree with me here, traffic, transportation, and rent prices are atrocious. I cannot imagine how difficult it may be for other artists to pack their bags and leave their families behind to pursue their dreams in a place where you can only make enough to put a roof over your head. I did not have to travel from across the east coast or the other side of the world to pursue my career. I am both fortunate and privileged to be able to live in close proximity of my dreams.

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Image Credit:
Photographers: Pricilla Elizabeth, Cathryn Farnsworth

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