By KATIE REDMILES
Musician Desi Valentine filled the Underground’s Acoustic and Open Mic Night with the soulful sounds of Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse and Adele on Jan. 15 as part of his first performance at a college.
The night began with a performance by the student band, Goody, featuring Tanner Carlton, junior business major, EJ Willis, junior communications major and Mason Carlton, an undeclared freshman. While Carlton sang the melody and played guitar, Willis provided strong rap verses that created an exciting genre mash-up.
Both voices were very polished and fit the tone of their songs, which ranged from loss of childhood in “Selfdom” to the upbeat feel of “Lighters.”
At the end of their three songs, they gave out CDs to many students.
Valentine and his guitarist, Alex Coch, mesmerized the audience when they took the stage. Valentine first introduced himself and Coch in a stunning British accent, and then erupted into a raspy, Ray Charles-type cover of Kayne West’s “Gold Digger.”
Several students had their mouths open in awe of his rich sound. The more he sang, the more Valentine’s whole body became a part of the performance. He swayed along to the beat as he raised his hands to eye level, shaking his shoulders.
“They’re really good because they put a lot into it and it makes them better,” said sophomore psychology major Krislyn Yeatras.
Other covers included Winehouse’s “Rehab,” Gnarles Barkley’s “Crazy” and Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.”
Valentine and Coch also played original songs throughout the set list including the remarkable “Soldier On.”
Valentine said he and Coch wrote the song when they were struggling in their lives and careers, but it was very relatable to any situation of hardship.
Valentine is originally from London, England, where he first met Coch because “his best mate was dating my best mate.” Thier musical compatibility was instant. Valentine ended up in Los Angeles to launch his career, but also to continue working with Coch.
The two were well received by the UMW student community. Students clapped and sang along to some well-known songs. At the end of the show, many students went up to meet the musicians and shake their hands.
“I want them at my wedding; I plan on asking them at the end,” said sophomore Spanish and international affairs major Cheyanna Early during their last song.
With one album already released, Valentine is currently working on his second which will feature more of his favorite styles, while also exhibiting his own originality.