Vegetarian Elite
The Art of Living and Music with Multi-Talented Performer Joy Valencia      
Gonna take a walk outside in the afternoon
And watch the butterflies go spinning around
I think I’ll find some spiky branches to climb up on
And get a new perspective of the ground

I do feel free, feel really free, and I feel like I follow what I love… So much to be excited about and happy about and appreciative for.

Welcome, joyful viewers, to Vegetarian Elite. Today, we’ll introduce one of Los Angeles’ rising musical stars, the beautiful and multi-talented Joy Valencia, who is also committed to the compassionate vegan lifestyle.

And yeah, I’m givin’ my love away
It doesn’t matter if the sky is gray
It’s a beautiful day

Joy Valencia was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, USA and later attended the prestigious Berklee School of Music. She excels as a singer-songwriter, musician and producer, using her spontaneous intuition and an eclectic blend of musical genres to create her own unique sound.

I’m doing really what I love. And I’m a big believer in follow your bliss and do what really makes you happy, do what you love, basically. And I had an "Ah-ha" moment for that when I read this quote by Howard Thurman, and it was, “Don’t ask what the world needs; ask what makes you come alive, and go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Some positive feedback from her fans prove that Joy Valencia has definitely “come alive”!

“Gotta love her – she looks & she sings like an angel.”

“Soulful vocals, magical music... fantastic!”

“Wow Joy, your music is wonderful, love it...”

She has also earned the title “Artist of the Month” from musical websites and, who noted, “Joy Valencia is one prime example in the music world that shows how much can be accomplished with enough drive, spirit, and naturally talent.”

Joy, so take us to the beginning. Did you always want to be a singer or songwriter growing up?

Yes, I’ve always wanted to be a singer and a writer. I was four years old when I knew what I wanted to do.

So what happened at four? I mean, how do you remember back at four that that’s what you wanted to do?

Michael Jackson happened at four! It’s so true, no it’s true. I just knew. I just was so drawn to the music and the whole artistic aspect of it and performance, and I loved to dance, and that’s just, that was it, I knew.

But also, it made a lot of sense for me, because as a kid, I was always interested in recording my voice. I had a little karaoke machine with the two decks. So there was the one deck where you record your voice, and then I would switch it, and I’d put it over here so I’d play my voice and then I’d record myself singing on top of that, along with myself, a harmony. Then I would switch it again. And then I’d have three voices, and then I’d have four. As much as I could do, being a 13-year-old or 12-year-old or whatever

Joy’s natural love for experimenting with music carried her all the way to the largest independent contemporary music school in the world, the prestigious Berklee College of Music, where she fell in love with being in the studio. She also met her gifted husband Alejandro Valencia at Berklee. They have since become an excellent musical duo, establishing their very own studio, Elytron Productions.

For me when I’m writing, a lot of times I write with a voice recorder. So I feel like I get a sense of the melody and the overall vibe of the song, like the instrumentation. So the melody comes out and a few words, like a phrase or something. I kind of hear it all at once when it first happens.

What do you think makes a great song?

I think a great song is something that moves you. You know, it can make you happy, or it can make you feel something. A lot of times I think when someone can relate to it, "Oh, I’m not the only one who feels this way," I think that's part of it. So lyrics, I think, make a great song. But I have to also say that melody is so important to me, and I think for me the melody is the biggest factor.

Few individuals in the music business are involved in the entire musical process from start to finish. Joy is one of these few greatly accomplished individuals. “All Indie Magazine” gave this encouraging review of her work: “No matter which era Joy tries to capture, it works and makes Joy Valencia one of the most intriguing music artists…”

We do everything ourselves, so I’m there every step of the way. Like, a lot of the production ideas are mine, like I said, because I hear the instrumentation, I know what I want, so Alejandro is the guy who can make that happen. And also I do the vocal production. But I also do a lot of the tedious editing work that people don’t even realize that you have to do that stuff, because you know that they probably think that you can just record a song and put it out. But there’s hours of real work to be put in.

Joy and her production team’s diligent efforts certainly paid off in March of this year, when she had her first official video release premier for “Don’t Wake the Lion.”

If I wanna keep my head
I better keep it on the low on the low

I was in the mood to write a song, kind of light, fun artistic song. And I knew I wanted it to have some organ, I knew the specific organ sound I wanted, and a really high, fun vocal. And then it kind of came out of imagination and I was picturing a lion wearing my robe in my bed, just kind of silly, silly playful fun side. And that’s why I ended up doing that one.

So I’m gonna make a sandwich for his snack

I think music is a universal language and I think you don’t always have to understand what they’re saying to get the feeling that’s supposed to be coming across. I think it’s therapeutic, I think it can make someone happier. And it can uplift you and give you hope.

Music is surely one way to give hope for a better world. But Joy Valencia has found another powerful way to contribute to world peace – in her lifestyle.

I’ve been vegetarian for over three years and vegan for over two-and-a-half.

I was listening to “Do You?” by Russell Simmons. And I was not expecting this to happen, but Russell Simmons was talking about the chickens and how they’re treated, in a music business book. He said something about how whatever you’re eating, you’re putting that energy into you. And that was like, clicked. I was like, the energy of the suffering animal, the energy of the person who killed that suffering animal, all of that? So that’s what made me really think about it.

How did you feel after the transition and what are some of the benefits that you noticed?

I felt lighter, both physically and my conscience. I felt like food digested better. I think when you eat meat, it sits in your stomach and it rots in your stomach. It doesn’t just digest and go through, so doesn’t really give you the kind of energy that feels like fuel, like it keeps you going. I felt like I had better energy, I felt lighter. After I went vegan I lost five pounds, like immediately. Not like I was trying to, but I was like whoa! I didn’t realize that. Yeah, okay, I felt clear.

What are some of your favorite places to eat at, or your favorite dishes to cook?

Yes, I like Real Food Daily in Santa Monica and Follow Your Heart is up by me. One World Vegetarian is awesome. And as far as one of my favorite dishes to make, my favorite food to ever eat and make is tabouli. I make it with quinoa and I’m really lucky because a friend of mine gave me a recipe. It’s like a passed-down family recipe from her family in Lebanon.

I thought it was pretty shocking to find out that the United Nations released a statement saying that the livestock industry produces more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation industry of the whole world combined. So it’s greener to go veg than it is to drive a Prius, but why not do both, you know? It’s definitely something we can do to reduce our carbon footprint.

How do animal welfare ethics fit into your decisions to stay vegan?

There’s so many different reasons to be vegan, and for me, that’s the main one. I learned a term that describes how I’ve always felt about animals and respecting life and its ahimsa. It’s a belief in the sacredness of all creatures and urging avoidance of harm and violence. I felt like that my whole life.

I remember walking home from grade school, seeing kids stepping on caterpillars and guts… I remember thinking like, “Why, why? I don’t understand why we feel the need to kill things that are smaller than us.” That’s always bothered me my whole life and now I know there are people out there like me.

So basically I, feel good about not contributing to the culture of suffering. There are these animals being imprisoned all over the place. They don’t have freedom. That’s a basic right that everyone deserves (Right.) is freedom.

On April 10, 2011, Joy participated in a concert celebrating the premiere of Supreme Master Ching Hai’s poetry collection, “The Love of Centuries,” in Cerritos, California, USA. During the meaningful event, guest of honor Supreme Master Ching Hai spoke about the urgent state of our planet, and how we could each do our part especially by sharing more love, especially by adopting the loving animal-free diet.

Along with other distinguished artists, Joy performed an uplifting song bearing this message titled “Please Wake Up!” with the Oscar and 5-time Emmy winner Bill Conti setting Supreme Master Ching Hai’s poem to music.

O heart, relent your sobbing
For my soul to rest in long nights
Tears dried up and I’m wordless
Weeping in pain for the tormented!

The song was about how Mother Earth is mourning, basically. However, we need to be aware of what we're doing; our choices are changing the planet and we need to change basically. So it was a really nice message and the experience was great, the people were lovely. It was good vibes all around, and the food was amazing.

let’s renew our planet Sing joyous songs of oneness
let’s renew our planet Sing joyous songs of oneness

Thank you, Joy, for sharing your tremendous artistic talents and for being our inspiring vegan role model. Your beauty certainly shines inside and out! Wishing you the best of success in your musical endeavors, as we work together to make our world a place of love and freedom for all co-inhabitants.

Your love came flying through my window
As sweetly as a little sparrow
You said you’ll never ever hurt me
You said you’d carry me to safety

Kind viewers, thank you for being with us today on Vegetarian Elite featuring the wonderful singer-songwriter, musician and producer Joy Valencia. Coming up next is Between Master and Disciples. Blessed be the love shining from your heart.

If you love me, Tell me that you love me
If you love me, Tell me now
All we have is only but a moment
If you love me, please Love me now

Hi, I’m Joy Valencia.
Be Veg,
Go Green
2 Save the Planet!

Joy Valencia’s music is available at http:/ /

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