Verónica Valerio is a successful singer, songwriter, and talented harpist. She was born in Veracruz, Mexico 1981. When she was 2 years old, her mother decided to move to another coast in Mexico, Yucatán Peninsula. They moved because they started a village for orphan kids. Her father was the director of the place, while her mother, as a social worker, was responsible for finding sponsors and raising funds. She was raised in a village that had 104 kids with only 8 mothers for all of those kids. They went back to Veracruz when she became 13 years old. Since she was raised in a small village, she had to adapt to the new lifestyle in this big city. She describes Yucatán as a “musical place with really nice people.”
Veronica joined a musical school in Veracruz and studied music and dance. She then joined a band as a singer and started to sing boleros. At that moment, people who sang boleros were over 60 years old. She was a 17 year old woman singing boleros, always surrounded by adults. Boleros were all about love and romance. She liked boleros and felt like it was a good start for her soul. However, her mother had to migrate to the United States because she couldn’t find a job, so they were separated. She started to get stressed about her family status, so she spoke with her mother and wanted to change her life. She graduated and left the band when she became 23 years old.
Veronica got a job as a music instructor for babies from 6 months old to 4 years old. She would go to her job in the morning, to the musical and dance school in the afternoon, and some nights she’d spend singing boleros. She liked her life and described it as a simple easy life. She then moved to New Orleans.
While Veronica was in New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina hit the place and caused massive damage. She lost her harp and violin. The reason why she had the harp with her is because it was a gift from her mother when she graduated from the musical school at the age of 23. Her mother gifted her the harp because it was a cultural instrument. Her mother’s intention was only to entertain Veronica with the harp. She never knew that Veronica would actually teach herself and become the successful harpist she is now.
After the hurricane, Veronica moved to New York City. She started studying in Hunter College as a transfer student. She then began to think about her new life in NY and how she can work and pay bills. The first thing she thought about doing was singing, but New York is full of singers and it would be difficult to enter a singing field with such a level of artistry. She wanted something different that no one else plays there, which was the harp. She saw the harp as a boat that rescued her and transported her all the way to New York. This part of her life was very overwhelming, but she overcame it by trusting and believing in herself.
Veronica’s role models growing up were troubadours, which are singers and writers who talk about things that happen in a certain moment such as politics and news. She thinks it’s such a great way for communicating with people where everyone is at the same level. They inspired her with those great writings and encouraged her to write her own songs. To Veronica, influencing people is the key to writing good songs. Veronica has two albums, “Canciones de Puertos” and “Viajes de Ida y Vuelta.” She also has a few single songs. Some of her beautiful songs are “Veracruz” and “Cielito Lindo.”
Veronica is now working on a new collaboration with the legendary Van Dyke Parks, where Van Dyke’ s will be orchestrating for Veronica’s glorious songs. She feels very blessed to work with such an icon because having this opportunity is every musician’s dream. Their collaboration, Van Dyke Parks Orchestrates Verónica Valerio: Only in America, will be released on June 11, 2021. The lyrics will be in Spanish. These two legends will merge all their musical talents together to create remarkable songs.
Veronica is currently 39 years old. Family members can be role models for us, but since Veronica didn’t like her family’s position, she stepped out of it and decided to pave her own path. Veronica views success as happiness.
“ happiness is in your mind, it’s a choice. Happiness is to live up to your own expectations.”Valerio, Verónica. “Verónica Valerio Interview .” 5 May 2021.
Veronica became a successful singer and harpist by believing in herself and choosing her own way of happiness. She worked hard and overcame all the obstacles she faced. She is an inspiration for all women who aspire to be successful in life.
Bustamante, Verónica Maza. “El Arpa y La Voz De Verónica Valerio.” MILENIO, Grupo Milenio, 20 Nov. 2019, www.milenio.com/cultura/escenario/veronica-valerio-habla-sobre-su-musica-tradicional-y-de-boleros.
Valerio, Verónica. “Verónica Valerio Interview .” 5 May 2021.
“Veracruz.” YouTube, Van Dyke Parks , 15 Apr. 2021, youtu.be/f0XPAxAMrrI.
“Cielito Lindo – YouTube Music.” Performance by Veronica Valerio, YouTube, YouTube, 2013, music.youtube.com/watch?v=ODLHlr2GE3Q.
By Royada Saleh