Mickey Valen, a New York City born and bred, has been making waves over the past three years. Prior to following his passion for music, he was a senior data analyst at Citigroup before moving to Los Angeles to pursue music production. From creating an idea in his head, after one year Mickey Valen was able to be a commercially successful solo project.
Following the release of 'Meet Me' featuring Noe, which quickly shot up on the Hype Machine charts and eventually hit #1, Valen releases his newest track 'Wildcard' featuring powerful vocals from Feli Ferraro. This track is a firery bass trap track with a fun kick. We sat down with Mickey to chat about music, life, and what is in store for him in the future. Read what he had to say below while you enjoy listening to some beats!
1. Can you tell us about your latest release 'Wildcard'
Feli originally sent me a message on SoundCloud asking to collaborate. I sent a few instrumentals but when I went back to her EP that she was working on I heard the song "Wildcard" and fell in love with it. I begged her to send and produced it right after I had finished Meet Me. At the time I moved away from NY to my families beach house in Delaware for 4 months and was basically in the middle of no where just writing everyday. I was definitely inspired by Illenium for that song and was just messing with fucking up the vocal chops instead of making them clear.
2. How did it feel to watch 'Meet Me' climb the Hype Machine charts to #1?
It was #1 in 24 hours so I barely had a chance to notice it. I wasn't really watching the release since Lowly palace was handling all the promo. It was a really amazing surprise and great feeling =]
3. What was it like to leave your established career at Citigroup and take on the risk of starting a new career?
It felt really surreal. It was something I had been working towards for years and when I didn't have to wake up at 640am anymore it just felt incredible. At the time my dad just retired too so we'd get breakfast and I was like damn so you just retired bruh?! So many people go through life thinking that its normal to work a 9-5 but its NOT. It's a trap.
4. What advice to you have for anyone on the edge of taking that career leap like you so did?
I read a lot about quitting my job because I was very nervous. I found this one article that stuck with me where the entrepreneur said that you will always find an excuse to not take the leap. I kept saying ..."well maybe after 6 more months because I'll have a little more money saved". But if you do that, there might be a promotion or a new project you have to work on, and then its "well after this project is finished...". The time is never going to be "perfect". In my gut I knew that it was the right decision and I had worked long enough where I wasn't taking a huge risk... so my advice is to just go for it. You only live once.
5. Was music always the plan or was it something you fell into passion with later in life?
I studied classical piano since I was 7 and I always wanted to make music a career. I'm not good at teaching or explaining things and I actually didn't like performing piano in front of people ...eventually my friend Lucian introduced me to producing and I fell in love with it.
6. We know you have a classical background in music, was this a hobby of yours or something your parents made you do as a kid? How did this help you into wanting to produce and ultimately start your solo project?
My mom claims she knew I was into music because I picked a toy xylophone out at a store, but to be honest it was prob the first toy I saw. She put me and my sister through lessons and I fell in love with it. I think I even liked the competitive nature (against yourself).. finding pieces that were harder than the last to improve, learn and get better each song. I'm pretty sure I brought that into my production career and I push myself to learn and stay on top of what is going on in the industry.
7. In the creative process, what is your favorite part? Do you like to write melodies, lyrics, or produce the songs? How do you begin making a new track?
I used to be more involved with the melodies but now I just focus on the production and leave the lyrics and melodies up to people who focus solely on that. My job as a producer is to support what the singer is talking about and get their message across with as much impact as possible. When I get a top line I usually sit there and just play with different sounds/synths and chords until something sparks my interest.
8. In your first few years of your career you have created a loyal following, do you have any future singles or even albums in the works for the year?
I have a bunch of singles in the works as well as some dope remixes =]
9. What can we expect from you in the future as you continue to rise in your career?
Hopefully more music consistently. I want to release a little faster so I can build a longer catalog.
10. What is the wildest/craziest thing you have ever done or witnessed since starting your music career?
The wildest thing I've ever done was produce a song called WILDcard. Thats wild, right?