Emerging as a formidable artist these past few years on the SoCal music scene, singer/songwriter Dina Valenz currently performs on a monthly basis at the Long Beach Town Center as part of their Live Music Series. The multi-talented performer has also played at numerous clubs throughout Los Angeles, including recent gigs at Lola’s Martini Bar in West Hollywood.
The San Pedro, California native is a familiar presence on the L.A. club scene from the handful of years she spent with Not Like The Other, where she was the lead singer and only female. Joining the band while enrolled as a Drama major at UC Irvine, Dina continued with them for several years after earning her degree, performing No Doubt, 311 and Sublime covers at hotspots like the House of Blues Foundation Room and the Cat Club. Working later with female quartet …Everything Nice (and Then Some!), she developed a keen ear for harmonies, an experience that plays an instrumental role in her songwriting today.
Emerging now with a completely different musical style in line with key influences like Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow and Jewel, Dina is gearing up to release her four-track debut EP, which was executive produced by veteran contemporary jazz singer-songwriter Mark Winkler (who also co-wrote with Dina the infectious jangling pop/rocker “Favorite Pair of Jeans”) and arranged by renowned jazz pianist/keyboardist Jamieson Trotter. Other tracks include the happy, carefree love song “All My Tomorrows,” the haunting, bluesy heartbreak tune “Miles and Miles” and the infectious and edgy, attitude driven “Skinny Bitch.”
“My music is very much inspired by the pop music of the late 90s,” she adds, “and those were the artists who inspired me to pick up the guitar, sing and write what I feel. The four songs on the EP offer a pretty good spectrum of my writing these days. I feel like I’m in a great creative place and after going through many ups and downs, I’m writing about the things that have gotten me here.”
Dina’s musical destiny began taking shape at age 12, when she picked up the guitar for the first time. She remembers practicing every day after school until her mother forced her to go to bed. “Ever since then,” she says, “my guitar and I have pretty much been inseparable.” Spending much of her lunch hours at school playing and singing for tips for the kids (Skittles, lunch tickets, etc.) She later joined the high school Vocal Ensemble and participated in every performance and talent show she could sign up for. During her senior year, Dina played her first open mic night, where she had the opportunity to play six songs in a row. “I got all my friends out to see me and I was hooked!” she says.
Dina is still hooked (and writing hooks!) – on the joy of performing for audiences, on singing and playing her guitar and writing more songs which she hopes to licensing to television and film as she builds her solo career. She says, “I’ve done a little of everything, from acting to writing screenplays to singing in bands and a capella – and none of those experiences are as meaningful to me as writing and singing my own songs. The best part of the creative journey has been finding myself in the process. This is always going to be what my life is about.”