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Mentor: Valerie DeLaCruz Location: Albany, New York

B I O G R A P H Y

Valerie DeLaCruz

She finally had to choose: a talented visual artist, a well-regarded interior designer, a successful entrepreneur, or a vocalist. Six years ago, Valerie DeLaCruz decided to follow her ultimate passion--singing and songwriting.

Valerie was performing her own music as early as age 15, when she opened for Johnny Rivers. As a teenager she played guitar and sang in several acoustic harmony acts, and worked as a solo performer as well. Valerie then put her guitar away for a while and fronted a series of bands. Living in Boston after attending the Art Institute of Boston, Valerie toured the New England club circuit in a top 40 lounge act and a variety of small jazz groups, honing her vocal chops. Today Valerie has come back full circle to her acoustic roots, writing and recording original country-pop songs. She cites Nashville songwriters Beth Nielsen-Chapman, Kim Richey, Angela Kaset and Hal Ketchum as current influences.

She's been compared to Linda Rondstadt, Trisha Yearwood and even Cher with her sultry alto voice. Her stage-saavy performances have delighted audiences from Disney World to the Bluebird Café as she delivers her sassy tunes. But she's not just a pretty voice: she's won numerous songwriting awards including First Prize in the USA Songwriting Competition, Country Category, out of a field of 700 international entries, 1997 and 1998 Songwriter of the Year from the Northeast CMA, 1999's First Prize in the Great American Song Contest (Country), and an award in 2000 from Just Plain Folks for "They'll Never Know." She's proud to have been one of the original Just Plain Folks mentors. Valerie has performed in the Lilith Fair Talent Showcase and has opened for Iris Dement, Livingston Taylor, Tracy Byrd and Martina McBride. She's produced the All Girl Music Revue, featuring regional female singer-songwriters. After three independent CD releases, she was signed in 1999 to Relentless Nashville Records, and her debut CD was released in September 2000 with the single and video for "Hey! That's My Kiss."

Copyright 2001 Just Plain Folks Productions TM.