Austin Living: Musical Journey
Angel following her path of happiness and music
Angel Val knows exactly when and where her love of music came from.
At a young age, she was already looking up to her mom, who was then playing in an 80s rock band.
That love and influence was the beginning for where Angel is today — a successful local musician making records and loving the stage. To date, Angel has released a full length album in 2015 (“Gravel Road) and an EP in 2019 (“Broken”).
“It started with my mom being in a band when I was little,” she said. “I watched her perform and went to practices.”
At the time, the family was living in Owatonna before spending time in both Burnsville and Albert Lea. During that time, Angel began honing her musical talents. The catch was the instruments she was playing were a long way away from her primary instrument these days — the guitar.
“My parents actually forced me to go to guitar lessons,” she said, remembering that she didn’t care much for the instrument in her early days.
Her first instrument was the flute and the piano; however, while attending Burnsville High School, a performance at The Garage was a solidifying moment for Angel.
“I sang ‘Complicated’ by Avril Levine,” Angel said. “I was so nervous, but it was such a cool experience.”
As she became more comfortable with the guitar, Angel’s confidence began to bloom, and in eighth-grade she started trying her hand at writing her own music. By that point, things were rolling pretty quickly for the aspiring musician.
“I would say I picked it up pretty quickly,” she said. “Playing around with chords.”
As the music started to become more serious, Angel was receiving support from a number of places, including family Austin musician Randy Barnett, who is currently writing and playing music in Nashville.
“He was really pushing me to keep playing and writing,” she said.
During the time the two played together, Barnett was looking for somebody to lay down vocals on a project he was working on with another. In exchange, Angel could record some of the things she was working on.
However, a huge amount of inspiration has always come from her family.
“Family has been constantly supportive around me,” she said.
However, music was more than entertainment for Angel. It’s helped her become more social.
“I just did it because it was fun,” she said. “It’s helped me become more social. I was really shy and it helps me come out of my shell and helps me be somebody else a little bit.”
Angel’s music finds roots in different areas. With a strong presence of rock, she has also flowed into country, finding a harmony between the two genres. She points to current acts like The Pretty Reckless and Halestorm as current influences.
So much of her song-writing can find influences in relationships — both ups and downs, although these days she has been floating more to the happier relationships, guided by changes in her personal life.
She has both been recently married and become a mother. That last change in her life in particular has been instrumental.
“I haven’t really had time to write,” she said. “I’m so busy with him, but it makes me want to write happier songs.”
COVID-19 naturally played spoiler for Angel last year, and with changes in her life, the hectic schedule has kept her relatively quiet as far as playing goes.
But this year, she has been finding her performances on the weekends starting to pick up.
“I’ve actually been playing quite a bit this summer,” Angel admitted. “This year it’s been pretty much every weekend.”
That’s not to say it didn’t take some time to reintroduce herself a bit.
“When I got back on stage, I forgot where I left off,” she joked. “I had to practice more and get ready for it and relearn the songs a bit.”
These days, Angel is loving the acoustic shows and their intimate nature. She’s hoping to do more writing as time goes on.
At the same time, though, she’s also working on a new album — another EP featuring 10 songs — as well as playing a show in Hollandale from 9 p.m. to midnight on Sept. 11.
“Just more shows,” she laughed.