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PREMIERE: Hugo Valentine Releases New Music Video For “A Nation of People”

 Following our premiere week, we are heading over to the UK where we find the incredible songwriter Hugo Valentine who’s here with his debut EP A Nation of People. Today, we are teaming up with him for the exclusive premiere for the video of the title track, a song that just as the whole album, we get to explore several aspects of youth and growing up. The song itself has an immediate catchy quality, effortlessly anthemic with a slightly nostalgic flavour to it. Both the single and the video highlights certain life moments and the passage of time, and the mantra of the track echoes in your ears long after it’s over.

Born and raised in London, multi-instrumentalist Hugo Valentine has finally arrived on the scene as a singer-songwriter and is starting to cause quite a stir. His sound captures the essence of British and in particular London culture. His songs are of a catchy nature, always packed full of lyrical depth and colour, and his influences are widespread, ranging from Elton John to Mika, Queen to Arctic Monkeys, David Bowie to Radiohead, among many others.

Growing up with a varied musical upbringing, Hugo Valentine all began when he taught himself ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ on a toy piano that his grandmother had bought him and started taking piano lessons in his London home. At the age of 10, Hugo was admitted into the Royal College of Music junior department and remained there for four years where he was trained in classical music and, above all, the piano.

Hugo’s homegrown, self-taught approach has carried him through to this point. Using production initially as inspiration, and then as a way of getting his ideas across, he now has the tools to take his songs almost to their final stages of completion. In fact, this is how ‘A Nation Of People’ EP came about – four tracks originally written for piano which he took to the next level with his exciting approach to creative production.

Hugo also had the chance to sit with us and answer a series of questions about the single and EP.

Hi Hugo, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi! I’ve been well thanks, excited to release ‘A Nation of People’ and really pleased to be giving you guys the exclusive of the video!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “A Nation Of People”?

My latest single ‘A Nation of People’ is the first single from the forthcoming ‘A Nation of People’ EP. This single has been a long time coming – it has undergone many revisions which have finally led to this point. It is about the passage of time, and the fact that time is something that everybody, even the richest, most powerful people are powerless to control. I feel that this concept connects each and every one of us as human beings – it is something that we all have in common, no matter where we are from or who we are. The message in the song is that we must be present in each moment to really live life to the full. Time passes in a flash, and sometimes the most fleeting of moments turn out to be the most significant. It is so easy to become distracted from real life and allow time to blur, particularly in the electronic age in which we live, but in the end, all that truly matters is the present.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

In fact, I remember it clearly. I was visiting a member of my family who was in hospital recovering from profound sickness. Her husband was there at the time, and she commented, “You never really believe you will get sick until you do, and then it becomes a reality,” to which her husband replied, “just goes to show, it can happen to you dear, it can happen to you.” This line resonated deeply with me and subsequently formed the recurring mantra of the song.

How was the filming experience?

The filming experience was amazing. The video was masterminded by Tom Edkins of ‘The Hideout’ (www.hideoutfilm.com) and the second I read the treatment I fell in love. The children we worked with were so talented, and a lot of it was about artists and creatives coming together to work towards a common goal – everyone was so invested. A lot of the scenes were really cleverly shot so as to create atmosphere, and the synergy between the actors was stunning. We were also very lucky with weather as it was shot outdoors in January – there were certainly some tough moments spending days in the biting January cold, particularly with the kids! It’s taken a fair while to get everything in order to reach the point of release – I really have wanted to do this for a long time but it was important for everything to be perfect so as to do the video justice.

Why have you named the EP after this track in particular?

This settled itself as the title track because it contains the message I feel most strongly about and wanted to portray the most. The idea that it really can ‘happen to you’ is a very sobering thought, and puts a lot of things into perspective. It is also one of the tracks which I feel represents my sound strongly. Interestingly, I came up with the song name before I’d written the song, something which almost never happens to me. I just had this idea in my head about a nation of people, and it just felt right to build something around that. A big inspiration behind my music is the idea of bringing people together – something I’ve experienced attending festivals for many years – and I really set out to create an inclusive feel with this track. I think music has the power to transcend beliefs, race, religion, and any other kind or divisions which exist in our society, and this is always a primary aim for me when writing music.

How was the recording and writing process?

I tend to record most of my music whilst I write it – I have a small studio in West London where I do this, and I feel that recording and production are a really integral part of the writing process for me. I often come up with a groove or feel, as happened with this track, and I really had the idea formed in my mind before I got to the studio. I enjoyed the process for this song very much, as I really felt I was doing something I hadn’t tried before.

What role does London play in your music?

London is my creative inspiration, my hub of information. I really appreciate London more and more as the years go on, there is no end to the inspiration that can be found here. I am told that my music has a somewhat ‘British’ feel to it and perhaps that is a reflection of how I feel about this City. Things are also very accessible which I find makes it easier to meet new people and try new things.

What are your upcoming plans?

After this release, I am going on a small tour, with dates in Brighton, Nottingham, Reading, Cambridge, Leeds and of course London. Beyond that, I’m always in the studio writing new material so I fully intend on following the EP up for more music over the next few months. Check out my website www.hugovalentineworld.com for tour dates.

Can you talk to us about the new EP?

The EP came about as a result of a big change in my musical approach. I had been performing with a band for a while, and decided that in order to really focus on my writing and performance, the right step was to continue alone. The first song I wrote after this point was ‘Change’ – I really felt for the first time I was able to focus on songwriting alone, without having the band or production in mind, and this felt like a very pure experience. By this point A Nation of People had already been written, I was just waiting for the right opportunity to put it out. Dare to dream was actually a reworking of another song I had written, again stripped back and reworked so as to make sense when performed just piano and voice. Don’t You Forget Me was written about somebody very close to me who is unfortunately very ill, but I wanted to put a positive spin on things – I often find writing in this way allows me to put more deep feelings down without letting the music become depressing.

Are you working on any other releases/tracks?

I’m constantly writing new material, but in terms of releases I will most likely follow up with a pair of singles in a couple of months time. Let’s see what happens!

What else is happening next in Hugo Valentine’s world?

Hugo Valentine always looks for the next thing. Haha, but seriously, I always seek to change and improve my approach. I don’t like doing the same thing twice, and I always look at songwriting, live performance and image as permanent but transient parts of me, things which can always be improved. In the kind of work I do, I don’t think there is ever a point at which you are ‘done.’ I will continue writing and hopefully improving my whole life, nothing is going to change that!

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Www.hugovalentineworld.com | Www.hideoutfilm.com

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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