• Interview with Max Valley (Musical Artist)

    Thanks for taking the time to do this interview Max. Tell us a bit about yourself...
    I'm a musical artist with different artist names depending on the style of music I do, and am currently promoting my latest album under Max Valley which mostly contains love songs in the pop, soft-rock, ballad and dance genres;

    How long have you been singing?
    My first recorded song dates from when I was 16; It was not professionally made and is considered by myself as being unfinished; However I took a few singing lessons afterwards to learn the basics, then continued on my own.

    What first got you interested in becoming a singer?
    When I was a teenager I was fascinated with singing itself;

    I was wondering if I could actually sing myself, so I recorded my first song;

    Oh it wasn't a chef d'oeuvre but it showed me that I could actually hit the notes well even though I didn't have much knowledge of the music theory at the time;

    At the end of the recording you can actually hear myself say "it's great I have it now, yeah!"... Very cute! ;)

    I was really happy to see that I could sing, even though it wasn't perfect it was a step forward for me;

    A few years later I went to a friend's home studio, I was going to record the instrumental tracks for a song I composed based on the lyrics of a friend of mine called "Dreaming", it wasn't meant to be me singing, my friend was going to narrate his own text over the music, the song was actually meant for him to get back with his girlfriend after a breakup;

    However, after recording the music tracks I just took the mike and improvised the lyrics by singing over the music;

    My sound engineer friend was impressed and said something like "I like your voice into this microphone" which encouraged me to actually compose the singing part for the entire song and record it later on;

    It wasn't perfect once again but little by little I was gaining more confidence and knowledge;

    Still I was never satisfied of my singing at the time;

    I continued making demos by singing on them but they were meant to be given to other singers, hoping to find one that would be interested in them;

    So I sent the songs to managers and singers, but anyone in this business might know that it's really hard to find someone who can relate to the lyrics and style of a particular song writer, these songs were sometimes very personal and the music was my own style;

    So after a while I stopped sending them;

    In 1996 I just finished a set of new demo songs I was actually happy about, and I saw there was an artist manager that lived a few streets away from where I lived, so I decided to go see him and give him the new songs;

    He was impressed by the songs but couldn't find anyone that would fit my style of music and lyrics, so he said "why don't you sing them yourself?"

    While some people would've actually seen this negatively I personally saw it as being positive, in fact I was honored, it was simply telling me that my singing was good enough for me to sing them professionally (and hearing these demos today I can actually say that definitively yes, I was ready for that);

    So it surely gave me a boost of confidence and afterwards I started re-recording some of these demos professionally with my own singing, and that's when I decided to start my own website recording one new song/piece every 2 weeks for the people to download;

    Today these tracks form my first official album under the name "Max Ichiban".

    What/who inspires your music?
    It can be my personal experiences, but sometimes I think of the title first and it inspires me;

    I also have been studying the social, legal and financial aspects of today's society worldwide which can influence some of the more political songs I make.

    Do you see being a singer as a career, or as a hobby?
    I consider myself primarily as an artist outside of any social responsibilities or business etc...

    To me an artist is someone who does something with what he has;

    But then I like to share what I do with the people, and if I can live off it then good.

    What are you trying to do with your music? Do you want to help your community?
    With the more political songs I like to touch some subjects relating to today's society as a whole, which can help on the consciousness side of things;

    Have you ever performed live? How did it feel?
    I was the drummer of a band called "Philish et ses pantoufles" in the past and we performed live in many bars around the Montreal area (in Quebec, Canada);

    It was a lot of fun;

    I was also a percussionist in a youth symphony orchestra for several years performing in the province of Quebec, Ontario and also in France;

    I remember a concert in France in front of 3000 people, it was an amazing experience;

    We actually were over 400 musicians on stage, it was a festival called "Les Orchestrades" from Brive-la-Gaillarde, and the energy coming out of this was amazing (and loud ahah!)

    Do you have any kind of management, publishing or distribution team behind you? If so what are their responsibilities?
    I currently have a manager for the Asian part of the world and we're working on promotion at the moment;

    There's some talk about promoting in Japan, and other parts of the world;

    I also composed several piano pieces in the past and published one of them on sheetmusicplus.com last week under the name "Max de la Vallée", and am planning to publish some more in the near future.

    What are some accomplishments that you have achieved, and are most proud of?
    I'm happy to have recorded 10 solo albums so far under different artist names, and the fact that people seem to like what I do surely warms my heart.

    Have you ever made any contact with major artists or other high positioned people in the music industry and do you keep in contact with them?
    I have a few artist friends and other contacts who are in the industry, either in the pop or classical music branches, some of them are well known, but I have learned through time not to rely too much on others to get things to move forward;

    Actually I've had offers from records companies in the past that I've declined, basically because of differences in terms of mutual goals, or because I didn't feel ready at the time.

    What one tip would you give to other aspiring independent artists?
    Don't wait for anyone to do something or to start a project, otherwise you may wait forever. ;)

    What do you see is in the future for the music industry? How do you think it will evolve/change?
    With streaming applications such as Spotify I feel like things are in a complete revolution at the moment;

    People can listen to any album they want for free, and the artists are getting paid, even though it doesn't give much per streaming, it could still become interesting, especially for independent artists.

    Do you feel like the internet is helping you as an independent artist?
    Yes, for sure;

    In the past artists mainly had to rely on being signed under a record company in order for the people to get to know what they do;

    Today there's a lot of opportunities for them to reach the public directly and keep a bigger slice of the pie, but I tend to back away from some of the very big companies because one may drown in the mass of artists that have signed up with them and it's difficult to get noticed, to reach the people who may like what you do.

    How do you think social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have affected the music industry?
    For sure it's great to keep in touch with the people who like what we do, and they can be good marketing tools also.

    Where can we hear your music online?
    My music is available in all the major digital retailers such as iTunes, Spotify, Amazon etc...


    What projects are you working on at the moment?
    I still have a few ideas on paper for new singles for Max Valley, and I'm also working on the 6th Max The Tape Recorder album.

    Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years time?
    Wait, let me check... ;)

    Honestly I try to stay in the now and not to focus too much on the future or the past, but probably still making music. ;)

    Do you have any shoutouts you want to give?
    Check out my Max Valley album for free on Spotify:

    Also if you like electronic music you can check out the Max Tani album, one of the tracks is very cute and is called "Techno Tap Dancing no.2" and is becoming quite popular.

    Thanks again Max for doing this interview.
    My pleasure!
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