Valensia is an ultra talented singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Unfortunately he has spent most of his music career in relative obscurity. Musically he combines the influence of 1970’s Queen, Kate Bush, The Beatles and 1980’s pop music; i.e. Duran Duran, The Police, and Culture Club. Vocally he sounds like an amalgam of Freddie Mercury and Kate Bush with a touch of Michael Jackson. With all of that his biggest influences are clearly Queen and Freddie Mercury. All of these influences meld within Valensia’s lushly produced and intelligent pop/rock compositions. His influences are displayed loud and proud, but ultimately the musical vision is uniquely Valensia’s.
He has spent the bulk of his under the radar career paying homage to the great music of Queen. For me his music is the ultimate love letter to Queen and Freddie Mercury. At times Valensia sounds so much like Freddie Mercury it is uncanny. Listening to his music it is quite clear that Valensia is first and foremost a passionate fan of Queen. His desire to produce music that is heavily influenced by Queen is only natural.
Overall most of his albums are worthwhile listening. Obviously some are better than others, but there is great music to be found on all of his releases.
His first album Gaia, released in 1993, established the basic musical template that he has worked with for his career. Elaborately produced pop/rock music combining the quirky over the top artfulness and huge vocals of Queen, the unique weirdness of Kate Bush with 1980’s pop rock.
On Valensia II – K.O.S.M.O.S. (1996), Valensia refines the formula that he established on his debut album. The songwriting is more mature and the arrangements are fuller. I also feel that his vocals are stronger as well. Overall there is a focus on more mid tempo songs and ballads on K.O.S.M.O.S.
His third album, Valensia III – Millennium (1998), is hampered by record company interference. Apparently he was instructed to write songs similar to a than current popular artist. The result is an album, apart from three tracks, that sounds nothing like his prior albums.
Next up is Gaia II, released in 2000. A decent album that is a bit slick and overproduced. Overall it is a good, solid batch of typical Valensia songs, but the songwriting is somewhat lacking. Gaia II does contain the mini epic Phantom Of The Opera, which is essentially Valensia’s reworking of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
As great as some of his prior albums were, they were all leading up to his magnum opus. Valensia’s absolute masterpiece is The Blue Album, released in 2002. The Blue Album is so over the top, in a good way. Valenaia beats Queen at their own game musically and vocally. There are so many multitracked vocals at times it is dizzying. Over the course of The Blue Album Valensia takes the listener on a wild musical roller coaster ride. I could go on and on about each track. Instead I will highlight a few songs.
The Blue Album begins with the epic track Mayte. The song opens with Valensia sounding like Freddie Mercury circa 1974, singing, “Murder I think you are a murder!” The glorious Queen like choral vocals throughout the song are marvelous. The song weaves a tale of friendship and betrayal. It is six minutes and thirty nine seconds of Queen II inspired musical bliss.
Inshallah revisits the sounds of Queen II as well. Multitracked Valensias abound throughout this track. This song showcases Valensia utilizing the perfect mix of Freddie Mercury and Kate Bush style vocals. As strange as that may sound, it works quite well.
Valensia’s vocals on the track Alyssa are absolutely gorgeous. The song sounds like Queen meets old time Disney. Keyboards and piano abound to create an air of mystery and wonder. There is a nice mix of the sounds of the Queen albums Queen II and A Day At The Races.
Throughout The Flying Dutchfan Valensia sounds so much like Freddie Mercury it is incredible! This is an upbeat rocker with some of the biggest choral vocals on the album. The song also features a killer guitar solo by Valensia.
Valensia tosses so much into The Amatuer. There are huge Queen II like vocals, Kate Bush like vocals, reggae and rock flavored guitar all mixed into one deliriously over the top song.
The Line features the musical sounds of the 1980’s. Imagine Queen collaborating with Duran Duran. To top it off Valensia adds in a shred guitar solo.
A Night In Spain has an exotic feel to it. More Freddie Mercury/ Kate Bush style vocals abound. Valensia displays a killer falsetto throughout. The music would fit right into a James Bond movie.
Burying Heather is my least favorite song on the album. It is an enjoyable track, it just is not as well written as the others. However it is a fascinating track because it sounds like Freddie Mercury fronting the Beatles circa 1966.
The album ends with the absolutely beautiful song Valsenian Jazz where Valensia sings the bulk of the song in falsetto. Jazzy piano chords, walking bass lines and orchestral keyboards help to give the song a slow waltz, jazz feel. This easy going track is a perfect ending to the over the top musical mayhem that ensued prior.
After The Blue Album Valensia recorded Queen Tribute in 2003. Based on the title one can pretty much surmise the album’s content. Much more than a simple tribute album. Valensia opted to mostly record lesser known Queen sings; i.e. You Take My Breath Away, My Fairy King, Dear Friends. He also added in a few hits, putting his own spin on songs like We Will Rock You and Killer Queen. Going much deeper he recorded a song by Smile, the band that was the precursor to Queen. Only a true Queen fan would record the song Polar Bear. This is a tribute album worth hearing.
After the Queen Tribute album Valensia remained somewhat active with various projects. One of those projects was Metal Majesty. This was an opportunity for Valensia to try his hand at hard rock/heavy metal. However any hopes of new solo music faded further away with each passing year. For a long time it seemed as if The Blue Album would be the last solo album of original music by Valensia. That all changed in 2014 when Valensia released the many titled album Valensia VI – Gaia III – Aglaea – Legacy. According to Valensia this was to be his farewell album. This album was a most welcomed surprise. Overall it is a solid, if slightly inconsistent album. But as a fan anything new by Valensia was an extreme treat.
As I mentioned earlier there is great music on all of Valensia’s releases. He also released three EPs that are worthwhile listening as well, The White Album (1994), Luna Luna (2001) and Non Plugged (2004).
There is talk of another Valensia album, but at this point it is just talk. I would love a new album from Valensia. But if nothing new is released I will be satisfied. The Blue Album alone is such a treasure trove of music. It is an album that is enough to satisfy for years to come.
Valensia is a true artist with a great passion for music. I truly believe that his music should be heard by a wider audience. It is my hope that many will read this blog, listen to the included songs and seek out Valensia’s music.