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  • Damaris Chanza

Rising Star Jay Valeyo Celebrates International Guitar Month

Updated: May 27, 2022

April is International Guitar Month, so it's the perfect time to highlight a rising local musician who started his journey with the humble guitar, Jay Valeyo.

I have had the privilege of befriending Jay for the last ten years and watching him blossom from a shy musician to a fully formed performer and frontman. One of the first things I learned about him was his extensive musical talents. His ability to play multiple instruments was the fact he gave for every icebreaker in school.

Jay Valeyo and I have also worked together on multiple occasions. I created the lyric video for his single More Than Us and helped conceptualize the promo art for his singles Favorite and Happy Never After. Outside of work we've done together, he was featured on Access Academy Radio Podcast and The Bali Hour Radio Podcast. Although his dream is music, Jay has also had a few acting opportunities appearing on shows like When They See Us (Netlfix), The Deuce (HBO Max), Power Book III: Raising Kanan (Starz). He has taken a temporary break from acting to write more music and supplement his solo career by performing with another rising artist, Tinkaa G.

.I have had the opportunity to catch up with Jay Valeyo to discuss how the guitar has influenced his music.

To my surprise, Jay Valeyo has always known he wanted to be a guitarist.

"I remember being in fifth grade, and my teacher assigned everyone in the class to make a small poster saying what you wanted to be when you grew up. I wrote 'Lead guitarist in a rock band' before I even touched a guitar."

Jay was gifted his first guitar, a Rogue Acoustic, when he was 14 years old and later received his first electric guitar. Through sheer dedication and natural talent, some of the first songs he learned to play were I'm Yours by Jason Mraz on acoustic and Dear Maria by All Time Low on electric. When prompted what his favorite songs to play are, Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran and Ghost by Justin Bieber are amongst them.

The guitar affects all aspects of his musicality, from the songwriting process to performing and even relaxing amidst the stress of it all.

Jay Valeyo uses the guitar to create both entertaining and emotive music.

"From vocal spacing to emotional content, my goal is to keep the feeling of a rock-tinged act and place that into other genres through my live performance energy, vocals, and writing."

Inspired by genre-melding and creating a lively performance, Jay Valeyo never lets the inclusion of a guitar stifle his stage presence.

"I can either be the frontman who jumps off stage or the singer-songwriter who hits your soul through sound and words alone."

Jay Valeyo is also an avid advocate for mental health and mental awareness. He is very outspoken about creating a space within yourself for peace that allows you to focus on positivity.

"I sometimes find myself picking up the guitar when I'm dealing with moods that I don't want to focus on. I can either write a great song about it or lose myself doing something I love. It can be therapeutic."

Overall, Jay Valeyo believes, "Instruments allow my creativity to awaken in ways that lyricism alone can't - I can grow my brand as an artist by sharing the stage with people who need my skills and network that way as well.

When asked if he had any advice for anyone considering learning the guitar, Jay said, "Just get started. The WORST thing you can do is deny yourself of something because you're afraid you won't be good enough. Youtube University is really your best friend in 2022. I learned to play using a combination of lessons from a game called Rocksmith 2014 on PlayStation, YouTube, and just practicing the tablature of music I loved." He encourages beginners to be patient.

Along with his patience and fearlessness, the guitar has helped Jay Valeyo advance his career and achieve his fifth-grade dream of becoming a rock star.

"My goal with music is to create a community reminiscent of the feeling that my favorite artists gave to me. Growing up, the bands and genres I listened to the most, talked about emotions, mental health, and finding solace in the chaos of your reality. I want to bring that feeling back to my fans and show them that regardless of what they're experiencing, they aren't alone because 10,000 other people are right next to them, singing the same lyrics they relate to. I want people to know that it's okay to not be okay."

Watch Jay Valeyo's music video for Happy Never After and stream his music on all platforms. Follow him on Instagram to keep up with all his live performances, and stay tuned as he has teased a new song being released this summer.

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