Val Levine’s entry into the world of music was anything but by the book. “Growing up as a figure skater, I always felt I was assigned to the other side of the music,” says Levine. And for decades, she was.
Levine started ice skating at age four, and by age seven, was turning heads as an upcoming athlete to watch. She competed throughout her youth, turned pro at 18, graduated from college with a degree in dance, and continued to perform throughout college and into adulthood on the pro ice show circuit. She skated in major shows—including ‘Ice Capades’—and traveled to venues across the U.S and abroad. But pro figure skating has a limited life span. Although there was not a guitar in sight as a child, reading and writing poetry were always a passion. After stumbling on a guitar and learning some basic chords, it was just a matter of time before she began songwriting. And she hasn't looked back.
Although Levine had entertained audiences at some of the biggest venues in the country, stepping onto the local music scene proved to be a big leap outside her comfort zone. "I felt confident playing large ice arena stages while moving very fast " chuckles Levine, “But the intimacy of performing original music in quiet listening rooms was incredibly intimidating. I had horrific stage fright”.
Regardless, Levine persevered and eventually formed a band, and returned back to familiar territory performing, this time playing music at various venues on Long Island. In 2017, after releasing her first album, 'Paper Romance', she spent time in Nashville to listen, play and learn. She stayed longer than anticipated, and now calls it home for the winter months. Since arriving, she’s been deeply inspired by connecting with local writers. Her recent Nashville recordings were produced by honky tonk crooner and Lower Broadway favorite, John England. She says the new tracks celebrate the Nashville experience she’s had so far, and the traditional country sound that has influenced her writing this year.
With early musical influences running the gamut from Rikki Lee Jones, to Emmy Lou Harris, to classic show tunes and beyond, Levine says that are so many compelling things about songwriting. "To be able to engage and entertain an audience with something personal is very meaningful to me." says Levine.
Her latest single " Happy Ever Aftermath" can be found on most on-line music platforms, as well as her full length CD "Paper Romance".