Owen Valentine is a vocalist, violinist, multi-instrumentalist, and vocal coach to the stars. He has spent his career establishing a lane that is truly his own. As a vocal coach, Valentine has worked with Earth, Wind & Fire, Jill Scott, Lil Kim, Mary J. Blige, David Hollister, Mario, Boyz II Men, and many more.
Valentine spoke with rolling out about what got him into music, the instruments he played, and why he became a voice coach.
Where did everything start for you?
It all started with me in New York. In New York, I was being bathed in the sound, but I couldn’t get into the music. My brain was getting washed with it. Everywhere I was, [there were] all different kinds of music and sounds.
I moved out before I was 17 because I wanted to make music, and that was going against my mother’s wishes. So I moved out, got a place, and sat down and practiced. Every time I wasn’t working or exercising, I was practicing. I would be up at night practicing. I would go anywhere just to hear my voice constantly ringing in the hallways. Then eventually, I found my way to some instruments, and that’s when I switched gears and [went] from New York to Pennsylvania, and I started to blossom from singer to playing different instruments.
What is that one instrument that really speaks to you?
It’s going to be between the voice and the violin. When I think about playing the violin, I think I’m singing, I hear all the notes in my head before I play them. When I sing, I think about what’s in my head too, so I’m actually trying to do what’s in my head all the time. The vibe is when I listen to music or listen to someone else’s music [and] what I’m really doing is just putting more stuff in my head to influence what I play.
Why did you want to become a voice coach?
I didn’t want to do any of it. Sometimes your higher power has a different plan for you. There’s … aspiration and inspiration and then there’s a thing called an assignment. My inspiration was I knew I wanted to sing, play instruments, and dance because I’ve taken all these classes. I wanted to use them, but people kept asking me about [voice] lessons. Slowly but surely, I started to explain things to people. I think I started explaining voice around 21 or 22 years old, and I started explaining how things work. Before I knew it, people were telling me that I was really good at it and I should keep it up. My assignment was to teach people. I thought I was getting this information just to keep it all to myself. Who knew, later on, I’d be teaching the people I listened to as a child growing up, like Earth, Wind & Fire, Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott and Kem?