Emily Valentine might have gone to La Cañada Elementary and La Cañada High, but that doesn’t mean she’s your average resident of the 91011.
With years of touring in a punk band, appearances on “American Idol” and “The Voice,” and yes, lots of tattoos, Valentine is already moving full steam ahead in her attempts to take over the music industry, even if she’s living with her mom in quiet La Cañada Flintridge.
Valentine said she doesn’t mind living at home while she gears up for the next phase in her career, which kicks off when she plays her debut solo show Sept. 18 at the Viper Room.
“My mom keeps me in line, and it works because I can look forward to writing music six days a week in the studio,” Valentine said.
Although she started out in the punk band Go Betty Go, Valentine has now moved into the limelight as a solo performer, and says her style is darker dance rock and pop.
Valentine said her mom, Patty Wynn-Hughes — Valentine is a nom de song — led her down the path to a musical career.
“My mom was a singer in a band until I was around 10 years old, and that was my first exposure to music,” Valentine said. “I pretty much sang before I could do anything else.”
Having lived in La Cañada Flintridge since she was 7, Valentine said that she couldn’t wait to get her driver’s license so she could see L.A.’s music scene, and that her mom made it happen by letting her use her car.
“She really let me expose myself to different styles of music and was really instrumental in allowing me to go to Hollywood at a really young age to be in the audience of rock ‘n’ roll shows,” Valentine said.
Valentine is ready to have her own shows now, having appeared briefly on “American Idol,” and making the final battle round of NBC’s own singing competition show, “The Voice.”
Valentine said appearing on “American Idol” prepared her to take advantage of her time on “The Voice.” She said the show was a great opportunity to hone her craft and learn from accomplished music industry veterans.
“I’ve worked with producers who work with the best,” Valentine said. “I’ve worked with Linda Perry, who works with Christina Aguilera and Gwen Stefani and wrote “Beautiful. She has had a string of hits.”
Still, Valentine said she’s the same girl from the suburbs she’s always been.
“I’m not this crazy, wild rock ‘n’ roll girl. I mean the coolest thing about me is my tattoos,” Valentine said. “All I do is work on music and watch stupid reality shows.”
There are the tattoos, however. Valentine starting getting them while working in a tattoo parlor in Sherman Oaks when she was 17. She knows her tattoos make her stand out in her hometown, but she’s not hiding them.
“People aren’t used to seeing people that look like me in this city … I do get recognized by neighbors when I’m walking my dog,” Valentine said. “I think everybody that lives here knows it’s still where I’m from.”
She said her favorite tattoo is her Snow White sleeve, “because it symbolizes the fantasy — the idealistic perspective that I had when I was kid.”
Valentine also has a Candy Land landscape in full color tattooed on her back, and a “St. Barbie” on her leg, among many others.
Still, Valentine said that after thinking tattoos were going to change her life and help her identify with the rock ‘n’ roll world, she’s realized that’s not the case.
“You realize the long, hard, slow way, or the fast, young way, that it really doesn’t change anything about who you are,” Valentine said.
Ultimately, Valentine is driven by the music.
“Whether I’m making $40 at a bar in Hollywood or $10 million a year and winning Grammys, I would still have the same love for the music,” Valentine said. “It’s never going to change no matter how big or how small I am in the industry.”
FOR THE RECORD: This version corrects the photo caption.