Kristian Phillip Valentino, a 2022 NewSong Music Finalist, has been logging studio hours for his forthcoming album, Happily Ever After. This is a five-song collection of love songs, written for Valentino’s wife Holly. It’s also a follow up to his last album, For Everything, There is a Season, which ended with a break-up song. The EP will be released on the NewSong Recordings label on Friday, Sept. 22 and the first single drops Thursday, July 27.
Valentino says that many listeners don’t know that the break-up on Season was real — and it was with Holly. Seasons was written and recorded after the couple parted ways, and for Valentino the project was a way to process the heartbreak. But that’s not how real-life worked out. Kristian and Holly found their way back to each other and are now happily married. That warranted a new collection of songs … though Valentino needed a nudge.
“When Holly and I got married, she wanted me to write a song for the ceremony,” he recalls. “I was pretty taken aback that she asked me to do that. I’d recorded it on my phone, honestly, and we played it before the wedding.” But that song, “Forever with you,” was the catalyst for finishing the couple’s story in verse.
Valentino came to Citizen Studios, located within Citizen Vinyl in downtown Asheville. The studio has historic ties to the Asheville music scene, as well as to Western North Carolina radio, and is helmed by Gar Ragland, the president and co-founder of NewSong Music, and founder and CEO of Citizen Vinyl. Initially Valentino had three songs, but he told Ragland that he wanted to record five.
The original set of songs included album opener “Out of My Head,” about the first time you see that person with whom you fall in love, and end track “Find You Sooner.” The two additional tunes both came in a surprising way to Valentino who admits he usually takes a while to write a song.
“It was midnight, I had my guitar in my hand, and I came across these chords,” he remembers. All of a sudden, the idea for “Taking My Time” came to him, and he completed it within 30 minutes. A few nights later the same thing happened. That time though “Stick Around” emerged as a cowrite with Holly. “We’d never done anything like that before,” Valentino says.
The musician started writing songs after the passing of his father and for years he used songwriting as a tool to process hard times. Now, he says, he’s able to balance the sad songs with happy ones.
Happily Ever After will be released on Friday, Sept. 22. Stay tuned for details on a record release show in Asheville. The EP’s first single, “Taking My Time,” drops Thursday, July 27. Follow @KPVSongs and @NewSongMusic to listen!
ABOUT KRISTIAN PHILLIP VALENTINO
KPV currently calls Asheville, N.C. home. His musical palette falls between the lines of indie folk, singer-songwriter and Americana. His lyrics are a healing balm from the daily struggle as they wash over you with a deep reverence. Valentino was a finalist at the 2022 LEAF Singer-Songwriter Competition, a collaboration between NewSong Music and LEAF Global Arts, and the 2022 NewSong Music Performance & Songwriting Competition.
ABOUT NEWSONG RECORDINGS
NewSong Recordings is a small label located in Asheville, NC and based out of Citizen Vinyl. It’s roster includes projects by Max Hatt / Edda Glass, Mel Bryant & the Mercy Makers, Rachael Kilgour, Crys Matthews, Cardinal Sons, and more.
ABOUT NEWSONG MUSIC
NewSong Music is an independent music organization that aims to build a supportive community of performers and songwriters across various genres of music and skill levels, while identifying truly exceptional artists and introducing their music to a broader international audience.
ABOUT CITIZEN VINYL
Citizen Vinyl was established by NewSong Music director and co-founder Gar Ragland. It opened October 2020 as Asheville’s first vinyl manufacturing facility. Citizen Vinyl boasts a variety of amenities including full-scale recording studio Citizen Studios, a vinyl-themed craft cocktail and coffee lounge, a record and art store, and more.
ABOUT CITIZEN STUDIOS
Citizen Studios is a classic space for timeless sounds; the modern analog rebirth of the historic WWNC radio station studios. The newly renovated space now consists of a large control room and a communal multipurpose room for recording, rehearsing and events. The studio is available for recording artists, engineers, producers and private functions