New York native Vali initially cut her teeth in musical theater, taking gigs dancing and singing backup for various urban and rock acts on the side.
Born in Hell's Kitchen and raised by a single-mom clarinetist with her symphony-conducting father living nearby, Vali (born Kelly Valentina Porter) was exposed to the entertainment business from a young age and eventually ended up studying at Connecticut's Hartt School of Music. After years of touring with theater groups and singing backup for everyone from Trans-Siberian Orchestra
, she landed a fortuitous gig as a backup dancer for Rostrum Records
rapper Nitty. Before long she had scored a deal of her own with Rostrum
as a solo artist and made her debut with 2012's Kiss the Sky, an eclectic EP of urban pop that introduced fans to Vali's versatility. A year later, she paired with labelmate Wiz Khalifa
to record the single "Dimes." Over the next few years, she continued to collaborate, record, and hone her skills as a songwriter, re-emerging in early 2017 with the hooky single "Ain't No Friend of Mine" in advance of her first album. ~ Timothy Monger, Rovi