Do you believe in fate? Do you believe in destiny? Do u believe we are all here to carry out certain purposes? I want to tell you about someone who does.. An Artist who believes in living for today. An Artist who believes in achieving his own pursuit of happiness. For him, his son, and the people he loves. He has no problem sacrificing moments of hardship for one exquisite moment of beauty. “That’s life...” he says. So he recites Muhammad Ali “suffer now, live the rest of life like a champion” or the other quote “pain is temporary Glory is forever.” He says “We all live now, for tomorrow is never promised. Love, Live and Love some more. Music is just one of our gifts.”
It is an early saturday morning on the south side of Lansing Michigan over at 3134 Avalon in a grey 2 story house with Red shutters with hearts in them. Breakfast is cooking, salsa music (Marc Anthony) is blasting from stereo Valenz’s Puerto Rican mother has on, in another room there are sounds of live Acoustic strumming’s from Valenz’s father playing his guitar. In the basement there are sounds of a current baseball game from Valenz’s older athletic brother (Robert T. Villarreal) and older cousins. Then all the way upstairs in the room that sits across from Valenz bedroom are the sounds of George Michaels coming from the headphones of Valenz’s sister (Rachel M. Villarreal) and other girl cousins from Midland or whatever familia happened to be there that particular weekend. All of the sudden you here a loud pound and a yell up the stairs “U GUYS!! COME DOWN, BREAKFAST IS READY!!! HURRY UP BEFORE IT GETS COLD!!”
In the room across the hall sits a curly head lil boy and his cousin posing in front of the mirror with combs, reciting all the lines from the movie “LA BAMBA”, and acting out all the parts, of course Ricky was always “Ritchie Valens” from the movie, always singing all the songs as it played on his little television in his bedroom that was filled with Elvis posters and memorabilia. There also was also a stereo in his room, which next to it sat his collection of cd’s and tapes that consisted of Jodeci, R. Kelly, Boyz II Men, Aaron Hall, Brian Mcknight, Bell Biv Devoe, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Al Green, Marc Anthony, Jay Perez, 2 Pac, NWA, Easy E, Bone Thugs n Harmony etc, and a broad range of different music.
As Valenz sits in front of the mirror belting notes and lyrics from Ritchie Valens songs playing on the screen “oh Donna” you hear another bang on the wall “RICKY Y OMAR GET YOUR LIL BUTT’S DOWN HERE, FOOD IS READY, EVERYONE IS WAITING ON YOU GUYS” and the two hustle downstairs giggling in hopes of not upsetting Valenz mother for taking too long. This is all a broad picture or image of the early years of the house that built the musical artist Ricky Valenz and what has all added to his broad character and ability to adapt or be a chameleon in music, relationships or any type of situation which also makes Valenz relatable to almost any person he comes in contact with.
Now its 2011 and as we sit here and listen to Ricky Valenz music, u can here a mix of Marc Anthony, Jay Perez, Jodeci, Boyz II Men, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, to Brian Mcnight all the way to Tupac Shakur, Diddy Combs. One of main things you will get when you here Ricky Valenz, is a straight R&B/Soul/Hip Hop sound with a Latino flair to it. At the moment Valenz has reconnected with a highschool friend/producer Michael “Sycko” Lopez and together they are finishing up his first cross over Tejano full Spanish speaking CD. Eventually along with his music Ricky wants to transition into acting. Right now Valenz is specifically working on his nitch in the Latino market, along with his his sound and his lane which will separate him from every other artist. His voice alone as a Mexican American vocalist sets him apart, most people mistake him for being African American when first hearing him on the radio versus seeing him in person. Michael Lopez (Valenz’s Tejano Producer) says “Valenz has much soul in voice, and fans are able to trace his influences back in his sound which creates a very unique blend. Very excited to work and continue working with him.”
Valenz comes from musical and very athletic families. His Father Roberto Villarreal was one of Michigan's top guitarists in the early 70’s, was a member of the Michigan super band “LATIN SOUNDS” which played a variety of music from Funk, Latin Funk to Tejano/Mexican music.. Ricky Valenz bio-logical mother Armilla Villarreal (Hernandez) was also a vocalist and had sang as a lead singer in a Milwaukee band for over 15 years.. So along with the influences of R&B, soul, funk, tejano, classic light rock from both bio-logical parents, Valenz’s step-mother Juanita Villarreal who was Puerto Rican also loved to sing dance and play Salsa, Bachata and other Puerto Rican music which has and will continue to be a big influence on Ricky Valenz, and not just music but the culture as a whole.
Taking you back Fate came early on in the life story of Ricky Valenz, it came the very moment he was conceived. Back in the mid 70’s his parents gave birth to his older brother and sister and had decided to both get medically fixed to where they could no longer conceive. As mentioned earlier fate had stepped in for the first time, against all odds 8 years later Ricky Valenz was born. The doctor and mother both called Valenz a “miracle baby” and both believed Valenz was here for a reason, against all odds.
Valenz father worked hard all his life for GM to provide for the family and his step-mother was a secretary for the local school district in Lansing MI. With the many influences around, Valenz’s home growing up was well balanced with different cultures, his parents had friends from all sorts of backgrounds, all races all cultures. All very good, well rounded people... The Villarreal house was always filled with home cooked Puerto Rican and Mexican food, music and good times. Also Valenz grew up on the southside of town, and had many older cousins that had looked out for him and kept him out of the streets or the drug game or anything illegal early on and all the way up through his teen years. Along with the fear his mother “Juanita” which would eventually turn to respect, his 2 older cousins often looked out for Valenz and kept him up to tune, as well as older brother and sister. This is a big reason Valenz is a huge chameleon, and he always thanks his parents for exposing him to all backgrounds and cultures. Also growing up Valenz’s family was always heavily involved in the Tejano scene from his uncles many of his cousins (some featured on his latest project).
Aside from music Valenz grew up playing and shining in baseball, football and basketball. He would go all the way through High School prospering in baseball, starting on the Varsity Baseball team as a freshman and becoming a high school all star standout in Michigan and around the nation. During his high school years Ricky Valenz had even represented the US in a tournament overseas in Puerto Rico in which he would be awarded the MVP award, coaches spoke of his classic leadership, sportsmanship and class-act ways through the journey. At the end of his high school career Valenz had offers to play for colleges University of Miami, U MASS, University of St. Johns, Southern Cal., Butler, and many Major Universities across the United States. Ricky Valenz was even scouted and being looked at by 3 Major League teams out of high school. Fate stepped in again into Valenz’s life. He hung up his cleats, went into full time Christian Ministry at his local congregation and got married to a high school sweetheart.
Being the young couple was so young, unfortunately the marriage wouldn't last. But fate didn't let up, the two were blessed with a baby boy but it was earlier the same year before his son was born Valenz was in a group called “GOODFELLAS” which consisted of four friends (Harvey Lee, Bobby ‘Nizzy’ Lane, Jason ‘J Holla” Hollawell and Ricky Valenz) with Valenz son 6 months in the womb, the R&B group would decide to take a trip to New York with manager Tarek ‘Terk’ Stephens. The Group packed up a van, said there goodbyes and hit the highway. Within the first days the group knocked on offices doors downtown NEW YORK and sang for Major Record Labels like JIVE RECORDS, BAD BOY ENT. etc, Goodfellas had even managed to all in one day audition and same day walk on the show, and win the famous amateur night at the Apollo in Harlem which was said by then the head manager of the Apollo organization that this was the first time history anything like this was allowed or ever done. Fate.
To make a long story short, Goodfellas ended up in Manhattan in front of the building Def Jam Record Label was located in. As Goodfellas sat outside doors of entrance warming up there vocals the legendary Hip Hop mogul Jay Z walked out of the entrance, the fellas on the spot sung for Jay Z and he had gave the group the tip that if they waited another 5-10 minutes Russell Simmons himself would be exiting out the same entrance and that we should be patient , wait and to sing for him as well. Minutes later Simmons as said by Jay Z exited from the building, the Goodfellas sung Boyz II Men acapella for him on the spot, Simmons loved the guys so much that he set up an appointment to get them in the building the very next day to sing for the entire A&R family of Def Jam/Def soul. Little did the fellas know that this day would go down in history as one of the most biggest chaotic days in not only the Goodfellas life, but the entire nations history books. Fate.
The Next day the fellas would make there way back to Manhattan to audition for Def Jam set up by Russell Simmons. By the end of the audition and conversation in an main office that overlooked New York City the entire A&R family sat in front of the group after they performed there acapella song and made the statement to the group of young brothers:
“Well... We enjoyed your guys performance, we are going to clear out appointments from noon on tomorrow, bring your attorney with you, we will have all the paper work ready... Welcome to the Def Jam family fellas! Congratulations!”
Ricky Valenz and the fellas left out of that building that day ecstatic with emotion. Later that night the fellas all stood side by side with there manager by the water that over looked the entire New York skyline, with arms around each other toasting drinks in the air, saying “we made it, we made it!!” and singing there songs acapella into the night sky.
That same night the fellas went back to the studio Brooklyn with star producer Al West, and written/recorded a song on the spot titled “its alright”. (Remind you) the next day at 12 o’clock sharp the fellas had an appointment to sign there Major Record deal contract with Def Jam in Manhattan to make each of their own and all of their own families back home dreams come true. As the sun went down and the night passed with the moon light, chaos and fate was sure to follow. The next morning at 9am the Twin Towers in Manhattan tragically went down from terrorist attacks along with the hopes and dreams of The Goodfellas. One of the worst tragedies in the Nation’s history is also tied to Ricky Valenz and the Goodfellas. That day hopes would be postponed for years to come. Fate.
Valenz would return to Lansing MI with nothing to show, jobless and with a baby 2 months away from being born. Ricky Valenz would then postpone any moves back across the country to either New York, Texas or California for his music career for a 9 years to fulfill his role as a father. In the years to come fate would continue to pop its head in and out of the Valenz path. Valenz began would focus on other careers, and would eventually lead to even working as an Executive Assist. in the Executive office of the Governor of the State Of Michigan which would add to his professionalism and outlook on business, relationships and networking etc. in the midst of those years Valenz did still make attempts but never went fully back into his career. Valenz had in the midst of those years opened up for star rapper 50 Cent in Miami on the Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ tour, he also opened up for Yuk-mouth in Arizona and Pretty Ricky at Lansing Michigans’s annual Common Ground fest. Ricky Valenz even traveled to different states auditioning for American Idol, once making top 100 out 20-30,000.
Ricky Valenz always knew what it would take to make it happen again for his career, and that would be what he once did with his group back when they traveled to New York, he knew one day soon he would need to network, build his brand, find his nitch reconnect and make new connections and travel out of Lansing, Michigan again. The only thing through the years Valenz just could not find it in him to move away completely from his infant son. Well recently fate would again step in, Valenz has had his son full time as a single father for the past few years, and in the meantime was granted permission to take his son anywhere with him. So soon in the near future, as his bio continues to grow, Valenz will add his son Ricky II into his story, and together they will take on there “Pursuit of Happiness, pursuit of fate.. pursuit of greatness”
In his early years Valenz grew up watching and idolizing the original “Ritchie Valens” of the movie La Bamba that was based of a true iconic story. Ritchie Valens was a Mexican American artist that moved to California to try and break into the Rock n Roll when there was no other Mexican artist playing the music that he was playing. Well Ricky Valenz is preparing to make that move to San Antonio,Texas. Like Ritchie Valens, Ricky Valenz is a Mexican American artist, but the difference is Valenz wont be trying to break into Rock n Roll, he will be breaking into the Tejano Scene along worth R&B//Hip Hop an avenue where there is no one or any artist of his nature, that has his sound, look, voice, personality or swagg. Valenz is one of a kind. One of his time. all the way back to when he was in the mirror putting on concerts all by himself or with cousins, Valenz had dreams of having a movie made about his life back when he was an infant, and dreams of selling out arena’s even Madison Square Garden like an idol of his Marc Anthony has done or selling out the Astrodome like another star Selena.
There is no telling what the future will bring for Valenz and his son, but we know Valenz is only beginning, and fate will once again peak its head back into his life. Some people cap there limits. Valenz believes there is no limit, there is no timeframe, there is only life, there is only what we want to do, and how we want to live today. He says “the only person that has to be satisfied with the movie about yourself when the credits are playing is YOURSELF... so live your life how you want to live it and fulfill yourself and God”
This is Ricky Valenz, this is real life pursuit if happiness, his pursuit of happiness, this is where life is taking him, this is his pursuit of greatness.. his pursuit of life. Making dreams reality.
This is... Fate.