After a challenging dry spell, California singer-songwriter Keeley Valentino finally had a creative breakthrough behind the wheel. That’s how “Little Things” came to be.
“One night, I was driving home from a long day up in Sonoma, the sun was setting and I just started singing to myself,” she recalls. “I tend to come up with a lot of ideas when I’m driving, and I think it works because it just comes to you organically. You’re not sitting at a desk or a table pulling your hair out trying to find a line. You’re just there in the moment, and it’s almost subconscious.”
Cruising down the highway, she composed some verses and a chorus in her head, then jotted down everything when she got home — and the rest of the song wasn’t far behind.
“Those are always the best songs, the ones that just come right out. But I’ve also learned that you have to work for those moments, you have to wrestle and practice and get frustrated 50 times to get to that one time where it just flows spontaneously,” she says.
“I wrote ‘Little Things’ about those chapters in life when you feel uncertain or stuck or lost and you just want to know whether you are on the right path and doing what you’re supposed to be doing,” she adds. “It’s a sentiment that still rings true for me and feels emotional every time I play it.”
Valentino grew up in Novato, California, listening to artists like Emmylou Harris and the Dixie Chicks. She took a songwriting course while enrolled at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University and released her debut album, The Mechanics of Leaving, in 2006. Although she’s based in San Francisco now, she continues to travel to Music City to pursue her songwriting.
Matt Mangano of the Zac Brown Band produced and mixed her self-titled EP which was recently released. Plus she’s been getting some independent radio airplay with “Little Things” after it was spotlighted at the Songlines listening panel at the Americana Music Festival in September.
Listen to Keeley Valentino’s lovely “Little Things.”