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Q+A with LEAF Singer-Songwriter Competition Finalist Kristian Phillip Valentino

May 3rd, 2022

Kristian Phillip Valentino is a solo acoustic, singer-songwriter born and raised in the Chicago suburbs and now residing in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. His musical palette falls between the lines of indie folk, singer-songwriter and Americana. Fans of Gregory Alan Isakov, Iron and Wine and Jason Isbell will feel comfortable here. His lyrics are a healing balm from the daily struggle as they wash over you with a deep reverence. 

After the passing of his father, ending up homeless and being broken up with all within one month, Kristian began writing songs in the summer of 2010, as a way to start processing all he’d been through and begin the healing process.

NewSong Music: What inspired you to enter the NewSong Contest?

KVP: I’ve entered the past few years and I’ve heard great things from prior winners. The exposure alone is worth the submission. 

How did the pandemic impact you as an artist (for better or worse)?

I took the pandemic as a sign to work on personal growth and my mental health overall. I believe because I did this my songwriting and personal life have greatly improved. Some of my best songs have come from this time.

In what ways does the craft of songwriting still surprise you?

I find myself being surprised all the time. Especially when a melody pops up over chords I’ve been playing over and over through the years. It’s like the songs find me first and I just follow along to the finish line.