Valere (a.k.a Shana Graham) is a singer-songwriter hailing from Kirikiriroa (Hamilton) who brings an eclectic mix of synth and soul to the local music scene. Now she is heading across the country to celebrate her debut album on the Chroma tour.

We caught up with Valere to chat about taking her new record on the road alongside a host of local wahine acts, performing live during this time and creative atmospheres.

Tell us about your debut album colours?

colours is really an album that talks about my interior life and struggle of finding, and being confident in myself (which is an ongoing thing!). It marked a really transitional few years of my life where I was pretty connected with colours. I likened my experiences to different colours: finishing uni, navigating relationships and what music meant to me, so it’s just a smorgasbord of experience! I think it’s shaped like a ‘V’, with the first half descending into doubt and then rising out of it towards the end!

You’re about to embark on a tour across the country with stops in Christchurch, Auckland, Wellington and Hamilton. What can people expect from your shows?

Well, they can expect a very excited me! I really just want to put on experiences that people can feel comfortable in and connect with the music. Even though my songs are quite electronic and poppy at times, I still want people to feel like they’re just yarning with a mate and can let their hair down a bit. Also, they can expect to become massive fans of the various wahine I’ve got joining me!

What’s your favourite part about performing live?

Honestly, the yarns after. I love meeting people after the show and just getting to know them and learning about what connected them to the music etc. Like I said, I just want to break that audience/performer barrier in some ways, and conversations during and after the show are the best in doing that!  

How did you get your start in music?

I’ve always sung since I can remember, but I didn’t really get into songwriting until being encouraged by a great music teacher in high school when I was year 11. She encouraged me to write some songs on the ukulele and enter competitions – without that, I wouldn’t have known that I really enjoyed or had a knack at it! Studying pop music at the University of Auckland only developed that further (and it was the place I put the uke down and started mucking around with electronic music!).

What/who are your inspirations and where do you like to get creative?

Nature is a massive source of inspiration for me, and so I like to walk around and sing ideas into my phone. Otherwise, listening to music, watching cool films and just being around creative places like art galleries and vibey cafes really get the gears going. 

Who are you enjoying listening to right now/on your current playlists?

Currently, I am thrashing Phoebe Bridgers and Rina Sawayama! Also, I’ve been having fun making playlists for each show on the tour, which are inspired by different colours too including the Pink playlist for Christchurch.

What’s one song you wished you’d produced/created?

SO MANY SONGS [laughs] but currently, Deja Vu by Olivia Rodrigo….wow. What a TUNE! So clever and just masterfully produced too. 

I know the world is still a little crazy right now but what do you hope is on the horizon for the next 12 months post-this NZ tour?

Oh man! Well, after the tour, I’ll be getting ready to be a mum (I’m due mid-September, so if you’re the praying kind, please pray for me and my family!). I have also been writing a tonne and am keen to record some songs before baby’s arrival. Hopefully when things start to settle down, I can release a few things early next year and play some shows!

You can catch Valere and friends on tour this over the next four weeks in Auckland (25th June), Wellington (26th June) and Hamilton (3rd July), tickets are available now from Under The Radar.

From tour managing boybands to working massive events and interviewing international talent, HAZEL REID is in love with the craziness that is the entertainment industry.

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