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Ōtautahi’s Valere Releases New EP Gold Dust

Photo Credit: Hayden Graham

Valere is the musical project of Shana Graham (she/her), an award winning songwriter based in Otautahi (Christchurch).

Over the last decade Valere has built a back catalogue of romantic R&B, characterised by a seamless blend of soulful vocals and intimate bedroom production. Valere kicked off 2024 with the release of Lily's March, a poignant tribute to motherhood prompted by Graham’s own journey to parenthood. The track saw Valere featured on RNZ Afternoons and in Rolling Stone AUS/NZ, NZ Musician and Undertheradar.co.nz.

Today marks the release of Valere's new EP Gold Dust, a soft yet assured listening experience informed by the early years of marriage and motherhood, as well as the deaths of family members.

Gold Dust showcases Valere’s renewed focus on guitar-driven songwriting, traversing from delicate lullabies about longing for hope amidst grief (Azariah’s Lullaby), to devotional indie pop (Stuck In My Head), and heartfelt folk exploring faith and the belief in reuniting with loved ones after death (Gold Dust).

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“I started thinking about writing the EP very soon after I got married - on my honeymoon actually!” says Graham. “Soon after I got married, my aunt passed away and we also found out I was pregnant. It was a lot of change all at once and a lot of life and death.I had seen a soft ray of light come through the curtains in an AirBnB I was staying in, and it was a lovely soft golden colour. I thought about how my life just went through this massive change.”

“I feel like I've learnt a lot about grief and hope through the writing of the Gold Dust EP, I spent three years just grappling with all of it.“

For Gold Dust, Valere returned to writing songs on the guitar. “For a long time, my songwriting was heavily influenced by beats, but I rediscovered my love for the guitar and how it tapped into different facets of my lyricism. I was keen on incorporating more real instruments because of the authenticity they bring.”

Reflecting on the experience of creating Gold Dust, Valere expresses, “I’m really excited to share the EP with everyone! It has definitely been a labour of love, and one that I have been itching to release. It's funny that excitement is what I feel because I usually feel nervous. But I think after going through all of this life change, I just have a new found confidence and joy in sharing music again, because life is too short!”

Valere will celebrate the release of Gold Dust by performing at Big Fan on May 18, with support from Ersha Island . Tickets are available now from Undertheradar.co.nz.

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