Valentine Sweetheart Gives Oldies New Life
If angelic voiced Valentina comes across as a sweetheart, it is probably because she was born on Valentine’s Day.
For years, this famous Las Vegas Latin music acts promoter has made a name for herself booking the nation’s top Hispanic bands. Now the tables have turned for and she is now promoting her first recording.
“Thanks to Johnny Hernández, I finally realized the release of my first compact disc,” the charming, statuesque, blonde said during an interview at the Hispanic Entertainment Archives.
And it has been long overdue when one considers that Valentina grew up singing with her grandmother, Gerarda Reina León at a church in Fresno, California. And later after a divorce that left her as a single parent with a disabled son, she is now able to realize her dream as a recording artist.
As a a member of the Teen Challenge Prison Ministry and for years sang at juvenile correctional institutions, major men-and-women’s federal and state prisons in California.
As most girls, she fell in love. She changed her last name from Estrada to Mrs. Díaz and became the mother of four — Venessa Perales, Joshua, Israel and Simón Díaz.
Meanwhile Valentina also honed her vocal skills by getting up to sing with different bands — including Rudy Madrid and the Cruisers — at various night clubs in San José, California.
In 2002, she went to visit her father and brother in Las Vegas; and wound up staying. The rest, as they say, is history.
Today Valentina is entering a new chapter in her life. This time as a recording artist and the title of her CD is “Sincerely” (Oldies ReLived).
“I chose to do oldies because that’s my life and it relives the romance and the memories of back in the day so that they will never go away,” the Fresno-native said.
The production starts with the title song, wheezes through “Gee Whiz” and leads into the mesmerizing “Our Day Will Come” and Armando Manzanero’s “Somos Novios” translated into English.
Even tough, red-bloodied macho men will get goose bumps and feel a chill going up their spine when they hear Valentina’s honey-voiced lush seductive vocals in “Sabor A Mi.” Her sexy voice is enough to melt any man’s heart and defenses, whew.
Then the Stronghold Records artist picks up the tempo with “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” and “Kansas City.” By now, actually after the first song, one is left impressed with the excellent, superb backup vocals. So for those wondering, that is Little Joe’s brother and Valentina’s ex-husband, Johnny Hernández, doing all the four and five-part harmonies and taking his voice to new vocal ranges coupled with a few falsetto parts.
Hernández’s astounding vocals, new kick-butt arrangements and sampled horns give this production a brassy kick that coupled with Valentina’s vocals make this CD a winner.
The CD sadly comes to a close with “Be My Baby,” “My Guy” and “Tell Him.” But the good news is that you can play it again, and again, and again.
In closing Hernández, who owns Stronghold Records and produced Valentina, said, “I think we captured the essence of what oldies are about and I’m very proud of this CD.”
Both artists also acknowledged and thanked Lawrence Tarin, who co-arranged, engineered and played all the music; saxophonist Steve Vaughn and Vic “Nash” Espinoza, who played guitar on two tracks.
Now everyone including Valentina’s mother, Amanda Clara León, is out pushing the compact disc.
“Besides being my biggest fan, my mother is a salesman and the best promoter,” the Vegas promoter turned singer said.