Andrea Valles has racked up thousands of views on YouTube by playing ukulele. Now she's ready to share her who she is on the 'Idol' stage.
ANDREA VALLES: I'm from Venezuela. I was born in Venezuela, and I was actually raised in the US, to be specific in Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah. And about seven years ago, moved to Houston, live in Katy, but Houston has been the best experience. It's beautiful here. I love the diversity here, and honestly, moving here is what made me pursue my music career even further than I already was.
So I've been singing since I was nine years old. I've been doing this for a m inute, you know what I mean? It doesn't even feel like work sometimes because it's my passion, so I'm really grateful to be able to do things like this. So yeah, just been singing my whole life, and I'm a wedding singer now. I've been doing wedding bands for, like, four years now. I actually sing with the Dry Water Band from Houston, which is super cool. And yeah, now we're on American Idol. So we'll see what happens.
BRITTANEY WILMORE: So you moved to Katy, you said, so it would be about seven years ago. So did you go to school out there for any period at all? I ask because I also grew up in Katy, so I was curious what schools you went to know?
ANDREA VALLES: No. Yeah. Oh, of course. No. When I moved to Katy, it was actually my senior year, which kind of sucks because I had to go to a new state, start in a new school with new people that I didn't know. But it all worked out. And I made some friends. I actually went to Cypress High School, Cypress Lakes High School, for one year, and then I did a year or two at Lone Star College Community College. And then I stopped going to college and just pursued music 100%.
BRITTANEY WILMORE: What brought you here to Texas? Did you just move here with your family?
ANDREA VALLES: Yeah, so I was 17 when we made the move, and it was just for my parents finding better jobs out here, and housing is great out here, so just like better lives, I guess, always, always, always, that's always been the motive, to have better, stable. lives,
BRITTANEY WILMORE: How has your family responded to your singing career? Have they always been excited about you pursuing this?
ANDREA VALLES: Yeah, thank god I've always had the most supportive family, the most supportive mom. My mom was a single mom for quite a few-- like majority of my upbringing. So yeah, I have so much respect for my mom. She's always supported me. I remember telling her that I wanted to be a famous singer when I was nine years old, and ever since then, everything she's done to help me has been towards that. So I owe it all to her and to my family for the support. I'm very blessed, very, very blessed.
BRITTANEY WILMORE: I know that it's kind of in the middle of taping, if you will. But have you been able to talk to her or tell them anything that you can share in terms of how they responded to knowing that you were on this?
ANDREA VALLES: Like on "American Idol"?
BRITTANEY WILMORE: Yeah.
ANDREA VALLES: Oh, yeah. Of course. Yeah. My mom has known since-- there's a cute little story. I drew a picture of myself on an "American Idol" stage when I was nine years old. And that's when I told my mom that I wanted to be a singer. So the fact that, it's happening now is it's super huge, especially for my family, because they've had to deal with me singing all around the house, telling me to shut up all the time.
They know that it's my dream. So them seeing it all happening is really big. And that energy rubs off on me too. So, it's just, We're all very excited.
BRITTANEY WILMORE: So it's come full circle, I guess.
ANDREA VALLES: It's so full circle. Completely full circle. Yeah. So Katy, actually mentioned that, I think, in my audition when I told them about the drawing that I did. She mentioned that it's full circle. So, yeah.
BRITTANEY WILMORE: What are the judges like? What is it like performing in front of them?
ANDREA VALLES: Oh my gosh. It's honestly-- there's no words to really describe the feeling because it's so much adrenaline. And it's the most amazing feeling. But I don't know. Seeing them-- seeing these people, these artists, that have been doing this their whole lives, it's super admirable. And being able to perform in front of them is literally a dream come true. Because it's you would never think that people from that level of, musicians would you'd be able to share your talent to them.
So for me, it's just I'm super grateful. And I love Katy, I love Luke, I love Lionel. Lionel is literally the most beautiful. He has the most beautiful smile. Katy is just so funny, so herself. And Luke is the silly-- he's silly. And just their combination together, it makes it so good, so nice to be a part of it. So I'm really looking forward to what's coming next from them.
BRITTANEY WILMORE: So you said you've been singing since you were nine. So is that kind of how you knew you wanted to be a singer? Were you always adamant about doing that? Or were you ever like, oh I don't know if this is the path I want to take.
ANDREA VALLES: That's a good question. I've always known that it's something that I wanted to do. And it's I've always pursued it not even knowing that it was what I was going to end up doing in my life. But I never quit. You know what I mean? And with the support of my family, they've always pushed me because they've seen that it's something that I love to do and I'm actually good at. So why not? You know what I mean? Why not give it all you got? You never know what's going to happen tomorrow.
So that's just the way I live life is just doing what I love no matter what, unapologetically. So-- but there has been times where you don't feel like you're enough, or you'll fit in the industry, or all the no's that you get throughout your life. And it brings you down. But what keeps you there is the love you have for when you actually are doing it. And that's just what's pushed me the whole time. So here I am. "American Idol" baby.
BRITTANEY WILMORE: I want to talk about your super cool YouTube page. We were talking a little bit about this before we started recording. So you play the ukulele. So first, how in the world did you learn how to do that?
ANDREA VALLES: So the instruments that I play, I've all self-taught. I never had lessons growing up. I only had lessons like vocal lessons. But the first instrument that I ever picked up was the ukulele. And it's because my sister for one of my birthday presents, she gifted me a ukulele. And I was like, what the heck am I going to do with this thing? And so I just started-- I got on YouTube and I started looking up videos of ukulele tutorials, this, this, and then I just kind of started learning myself. And I picked it up.
And I really enjoyed it. So my YouTube channel is basically that. I do ukulele covers. I started doing my ukulele covers. And then I started making ukulele tutorials just so I could share what I've learned off of YouTube and just give it back. You know what I mean? That's kind of the point of it. So I'm still doing that now. And I feel like it's really fun. It gives my YouTube channel a certain vibe. When you go there, it's just like that's what you get. That's the content you get. And I'm totally OK with that because I love playing the ukulele.
BRITTANEY WILMORE: I could definitely tell that. It looks like a very joyous thing for you. It's happiness, easy vibe. So I could definitely see that.
ANDREA VALLES: 100%.
BRITTANEY WILMORE: I guess, what's your favorite cover, or favorite song when you're playing the ukulele?
ANDREA VALLES: Oh my gosh. So I have so many. I have so many favorite covers. But I'd say my favorite now is probably "Circles" by Post Malone. I just like the vibe. I did it in one of my favorite rooms. Because I moved around a lot. So my scenery changes all the time. So I just like that room that I did it in. And I love that song. And yeah. That's probably my favorite right now. But they change. They always change. Then it'll be "Blinding Lights" by The Weeknd because I did it when my hair was pink. I had the bangs. It was quarantine. It changes. It always changes around.
BRITTANEY WILMORE: So you mentioned so you play other instruments, you said?
ANDREA VALLES: Yes. So I self-taught myself how to play the guitar, a little bit of piano, ukulele, and then when I was young I really love percussion and drums. So in high school, I did percussion. So yeah. That's basically what I know now. And I really want to learn how to play the bass too. So-- I want to be well-rounded.
BRITTANEY WILMORE: Absolutely. We mentioned it briefly, but your hair was pink before. And now you've got this really cool look going on. So do you like to change it up a lot with your style? What made you want to have the pink hair and then change it up?
ANDREA VALLES: Yes. I love changing. I'm constantly changing. It was to a point where from middle school, I cut my hair short. And then ever since then, I had long brown hair for the longest. And I just got bored of it. And honestly, being in the music industry and pursuing this as my career, I feel like you're able to be very free with how you look, and what you wear, and how you dress. You're able to express yourself in any way. So I decided to frickin' dye my hair all the way pink and then then it turned blonde, and then I cut it, and and now we're here.
So just expect a lot of changes from me.
BRITTANEY WILMORE: So I also saw your a bilingual singer songwriter.
ANDREA VALLES: Yes. Yes. Yes. I am Venezuelan. So that's where my family is from. And that's where my parents are from. And my mom made it, she made it so we did not forget our Spanish. She made it so always speak Spanish in the house growing up. Even though we grew up in America, she always wanted us to maintain where-- always remember where you're from and keep your roots and stuff. So never lost that side. So I write in Spanish, I write in English.
And it's really fun. Because I'm a lot more comfortable to sing in English. It's more comfortable because it's my first language. But when I sing in Spanish, there's something about it too. It's just it takes me somewhere else because it comes from deep in my soul where I'm from. So it feels more at home when I sing in Spanish too. So it's really fun. I love being able-- I feel very blessed to be able to do both.
BRITTANEY WILMORE: So we talked a lot about your covers. But also I saw you have some original music.
ANDREA VALLES: Yes. I do have original music. I actually started making music when I was-- when I first moved to Houston, I started making music. I met some friends and that's when I started really writing and getting into my own just figuring myself out as an artist and figuring out what my sound is more. And so yeah. I've put out some EPs and some singles. You could listen to that anywhere on any platform. And yeah. I feel like I'm constantly growing as an artist and finding out my sound.
Even being on "American Idol" has really helped me grow as an artist and really figure out what it is that I want to put out for the rest of my life, what kind of music I want to make. So I'm still learning every day. But it's fun. It's really fun.
BRITTANEY WILMORE: Well, since I am talking to you in the middle, or at the start of, I guess Women's History Month, who are some of the women who have inspired you?
ANDREA VALLES: Oh my gosh. So many. So many. Let's just name a few. Well, right now in the industry, like SZA, Kehlani, Cardi B. These women, they're so passionate and so-- just so motivated to just get it done and to put this art out and be so creative. So it's very inspiring to see that, especially in the music industry now. And it continues the youthful vibe, which is what I love. I love feeling like a kid. I love that inspiration that we get from these women in the industry. So I love to see it.
BRITTANEY WILMORE: What advice do you have? I know you're obviously still going along in your career. But it sounds like you never gave up. You kept pushing on and going on to different things. So what advice do you have maybe for other people who also want to pursue this?
ANDREA VALLES: My advice to you is just to never stop. Never stop. If it's something that you truly love and something that you truly have passion for and that it makes you happy, don't ever stop. Because that's what's going to keep pushing you to keep going. Because you never know what tomorrow brings. So why not give it your all now? So that's just my advice for you. Keep your head up. All the no's that you get are just part of the journey. You can't have any success without failure. So keep going. Keep pushing.
BRITTANEY WILMORE: So I'm curious because you have a sign or something next to you, something about don't be-- what is it that's on the wall.
ANDREA VALLES: So let me read it for you. It says, "it's you against you every day. Make sure the right you wins. Don't fear failure. Fear being in the exact same place next year as you are today."
BRITTANEY WILMORE: Oh, that's cool. Did you write that?
ANDREA VALLES: No, that's actually just something that was already there. But I vibe with it 100%. It's literally-- it's something to live by for sure.
BRITTANEY WILMORE: I felt like it was something that kind of reminded me of you and your vibe and your attitude just from talking to you right now. So that's why I was like, I wonder where that came from.
ANDREA VALLES: No, so I'm actually at a hair salon. I literally got my hair done. But this place, no I'm not even going to lie. This place has the best vibes and it's very positive and it's very uplifting. So the fact that this is here and we're here, it's a sign. It's a sign.
BRITTANEY WILMORE: Absolutely.
ANDREA VALLES: Literally. It's a sign.
BRITTANEY WILMORE: It is. Had you been familiar with "American Idol" well, obviously to the stage, but is this is your first time auditioning? Had you auditioned before? Because I saw you did-- you auditioned for a different show. "La Banda" I think it's called.
ANDREA VALLES: Yes. Yes. Yes. So I have been on different TV shows in the past. "La Banda" was one of them. And this is my first time on "American Idol" ever auditioning or anything. I actually auditioned during quarantine. I thought it was the coolest thing that we were able to audition through Zoom. How easy that is with the world, with everything going on in the world, and we have the technology so advanced now that you can just audition for "American Idol" on Zoom. That's crazy.
But I'm blessed and super grateful. And yeah. It's been awesome. I'm glad I was able to have the TV experience from past shows, or from previous shows, to help me prepare for something like this like "American Idol". Because it's huge.
BRITTANEY WILMORE: You mentioned quarantine. And that was going to be one of my next questions is, what has it been like for you and your family through this pandemic?
ANDREA VALLES: Oh man. It's-- I mean I feel like everyone has gone through their hard times during this time. But I feel like there's a lot more positives than there were negatives because you were able to just be with yourself, spend a lot of time with yourself, and spend a lot of time on your own. So I feel like that has allowed us to just grow as individuals and to be more united with our families, and friends, and check up more on people, and just be more present in the moment.
I feel like that's really what I took from quarantine. But thankfully, we were able to stay safe and follow all the guidelines of what it is to be safe with COVID and everything like that. It's just all been so crazy. But the best thing we can do is just be mindful of others and be mindful of yourself and just stay safe. Wash your hands, man. Wash your hands. Oh.
BRITTANEY WILMORE: Yes.
ANDREA VALLES: Man.
BRITTANEY WILMORE: Is there anything that you would like for our viewers to know about you?
ANDREA VALLES: For viewers to know about me, I just want everyone to know that I'm very open minded person, a very optimistic person. And I believe that anything is possible. And you can achieve anything if you set your mind to it and your heart to it. And yeah. I really just want to share that with the world. I really just want the world to know me for who I am, for what I represent. Just a girl with a family bilingual. We're out here. Just always pushing for a greater future and a greater life.
And I just want everybody to know that. That's where my heart is.
BRITTANEY WILMORE: I love that. Thank you so much for talking with me.
ANDREA VALLES: I appreciate you so much Brittaney. Thank you so much for having me.