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Val Halla says being a little weird leads to good things

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Sometimes it is good to be a weirdo.Val Halla plays Lethbridge on Tuesday. Photo submitted

Regina born “grung-try” musician Val Halla has spent the past two years touring all over the United States in support of her third CD “ No Place” but found she had no place in the music industry as she was to rock for country people and too country for rock people, but the fans love her.

 She was to make her first appearance in Lethbridge, Oct. 18 at Whispers with Smokestack Jacks, however had to cancel due to pneumonia. Smokestack Jacks will still be performing.

 The 27-year-old comes from a strong grunge and classic rock background.

“Nashville is a music city. While it is really known for country music, there is everything from punk to metal to weird experimental stuff,” said Val Halla, from Kenora, Ontario, en route to Winnipeg. While she usually tours with a band, for this tour, she is going it alone, with just her electric hollow-body Carparelli guitar and two amps, one of which she found sitting in the closet of an apartment she rented in Nashville.

“ I benefitted from the fact I was trying to do something a little different instead of the classic country sound. Because there is heavy, heavy competition. There are tonnes of girls who have pipes and who sound like Carrie Underwood and they’re singing every night and they all sound great. So I benefitted that I stood out as a weirdo,” she said. Being a weirdo means she has had some difficulty being played on modern radio.

“Rock people would say I was too country while  country people would say I’m too edgy,” she said. However her song “Stay I Want to Be With You” is getting some airplay, though the ballad is a departure for her musically.
“It’s a little more on the chill side. That might be the price I pay for being all over the place,” she said.
 She knows Ted Nugent and has toured with him. But most importantly, he encouraged her to just be herself.

“ I was playing a show in Waco, Texas and one of his friends was in the audience. He came up to the stage and said Ted was recording a demo and was looking for a really strong female singer and asked me if I minded if he recommended me, so I said ‘whatever.’ And the next thing I knew I was in his studio. But he heard me sing and went crazy. He said we have to work together,” she related, he talked to his management about having her open his Trample The Weak, Hurdle the Dead tour last summer, and made contact with her during a show in Los Angeles.

“ A lot of people think females shouldn’t be playing rock and roll. I got a lot of that, people saying I should be singing more pop, folky, pretty stuff. But Ted said ‘You’re a wild, crazy, Canadian bitch, you should get out there and do something crazy and blow their minds,’  And he was the only one who told me that,” she said, adding  the importance of attitude was also something he impressed on me.

“He’d say that on stage like 15 times a night,” she recalled.

She is currently raising money for her next video “The Bad Girl Touch,” which will help raise money to fight breast cancer as one of her friends fought it.

“It’s a touchy subject. A lot of songs about it focus on the sad part of it, which I understand, but I  wanted to write a song that would celebrate the common strength of the women with it who carry on with their lives and be moms and hold down jobs while fighting it,” she said.

She is currently in the process of moving back to Canada to recharge and write some new music.

“ I had a work visa which meant I had to perform all the time, I couldn’t just get a job at Starbucks or something. And I couldn’t support myself in Nashville without  performing all the time. Two years have gone by fast and I’m tired. I want to take the time to write new music. And I couldn’t do that in Nashville,” she said.
Americans really have responded to her more classical rock inspired sound.

“There is a lot of indie-rock music there. And I completely missed the boat on that one. But in the U.S especially in the Mid-West in places like Iowa and Michigan where a lot of people have lost their jobs, people really like the rootsy pop/ classic rock old school sounding music I play ,” she said.

The show begins at 8:30 p.m., Oct. 18 at Whispers with Smokestack Jacks opening. There is no cover charge.

 — by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Monday, 17 October 2011 14:36 )  
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