Singer and songwriter Giada Valenti was born and raised in Venice, Italy, and today she brings the flavors of Italy to the U.S. through her recordings, TV appearances, and sparkling performances as a musical headliner in Las Vegas.
Her vibrant personality and beautiful voice have made her a fan favorite – as one writer said recently, “If the Vegas entertainment scene is a sauce, Giada Valenti is the seasoning.”
Valenti was signed in Europe as a young singer with record label BMG and moved to the U.S. in 2005. In the United States, she became widely known through her popular music special, “From Venice With Love,” which aired nationally on PBS television. The PBS special led to concerts in performing arts centers and theaters all around the country. In November 2017, she debuted as a headliner in Las Vegas with a concert at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, where she continues to perform. In October 2018, she made her debut at Carnegie Hall in New York City, where she returned by popular demand in 2019.
The passion and romance of her stage performances are a reflection of a childhood spent in Venice, one of the most romantic places on earth. The rich history and culture that surrounded her in Italy has made her a charming and knowledgeable ambassador for all things Italian here in the U.S. That delight in her homeland comes through in her live streaming video series on Facebook and YouTube, “Giada Live”, which she started during COVID. She entertains her fans with music, celebrity interviews, cooking demos, and stories about the Italy she knows so well.
Mozzafiato sat down with Giada to talk about Venice, Italian beauty, and how both continue to inform and enrich her life.
Tell us about what it was like growing up in Venice.
Venice has influenced and shaped the way I see the world. I’ve seen my whole life people in love. People come to Venice to celebrate weddings, and then they come back for anniversaries. You see happy people kissing and happy all the time in Venice. And that was what I saw as a child. Plus, in Venice, there is a tradition to kiss the person you love under every bridge, and we have more than 300 of them. We make fun of it, but we do it just in case the tradition is true.
Venice is such a small place where beauty is everywhere. We have a great tradition of masks, but also fabrics like velvets and silk for clothes and interiors. They are very rich and colorful. If you walk inside an old Venetian palazzo, you are surrounded by many beautiful details from the walls to the ceiling…colors and shapes of all kinds.
Growing up in Venice has surely made me a romantic and passionate person and also an eclectic romantic and that is also in my music. I love songs of any genre and era, and that's a Venetian thing. A city of merchants from Marco Polo to the modern-day, Venice is the result of distant cultures that Venice has welcomed and transformed, making them its own.
What are some of your favorite places to visit when you’re back in Italy?
The family of my mother is living just outside Venice. This is also where I was born and raised. Of course, I love to go there. It’s the region where they make Prosecco and Pinot Grigio wines, and the region where the drink the Spritz was created.
My father is from Rome, which is another place I love to visit. This city is an open-air museum, so much history. But it also has beautiful stores. I love to stroll through Via Del Corso and check out what the big fashion brands are offering every year.
I always go where I have friends and memories. I love to visit Verona and the lakes around the city where some dear friends have a home. Treviso is also amazing, where I often go to eat tiramisu, as it was actually invented there. Near Venice, there is a small town called Caorle, where I got married. In the summer, I love to stroll around there with an ice cream, and even in the winter it is magical. I was just there with my parents and my husband for a stroll on New Year’s Day. It was very cold, but it’s a tradition to light a candle at the famous and so beautiful church on the beach Madonna dell’Angelo.
I have also dear friends in Bologna, and I love it there. People in Bologna are so friendly and just their accent makes you smile. Bologna is considered the gastronomic capital of Italy. Bologna is also a city of unique historic architecture found in the porticoes, beautiful churches, and, of course, the Due Torri, which dominate the skyline and are the symbol of Bologna.
I also have friends who live in a castle in the hills near Firenze (Florence). From his place, you see Florence, which is only 15 minutes by car. The city is noted for its culture, Renaissance art and architecture and monuments. The city also contains numerous museums and art galleries, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Palazzo Pitti, and still exerts an influence in the fields of art, culture, and politics.
In the last years I’ve also start working on a beautiful musical project with a renowned composer and arranger from Sicily. I’ve been there a few times for vacation. The south of Italy is a world of bright colors and citrus scents and the sea … idyllic. Sicily is known for their wine, almonds, pistachios, olives, and citrus, and superb seafood.
You’ve tried several brands from the Mozzafiato collection – what are some of your favorites?
I must say, I came to really love the ones I have tried. I wish I could try them all. I think that the Truffle Gommage by Skin & Co Roma is the best I have ever tried. I love the way it feels and the way it leaves the skin … clean and soft, radiant. I tried so many. Now I need to try the whole collection.
I love Acqua dell'Elba, which is also very popular in Italy. And another very popular product in Italy that my husband loves is Proraso, a staple of men’s shaving that has been used in Italy by generations of men. My grandfather used it and also my father.
I did not know the brand Tuttotondo. I tried for pure curiosity their shower gel, Spritz Veneziano. Being from Venice, I thought it was a funny name. I was so surprised to discover a high-quality shower gel with a very elegant and refined scent. I really love it.
Tell us about the exciting things you have going on right now and coming up.
Well, the pandemic has been tough, and we are still dealing with it. The concerts are still not to a full schedule, and all is still up in the air. But I have used the free time to record a full Christmas album. I was able to work with some amazing musicians who were all free thanks to the pandemic. The first part of the album is recorded at the legendary Capitol Studios in L.A. with musicians like Nathan East, a legendary bass player who has played on so many records and tours with artist like Eric Clapton. And also Anthony Wilson who normally tours with Diana Krall and Tariqh Aconi, the musical director of Josh Groban. It has been a dream to work with Shelly Berg, pianist of Gloria Estefan. The record is produced by 8-times Grammy Award winning producer Gregg Field. The second part is recorded at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London, where I was accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Bob Ziegler. I cannot wait to share the whole album with my fans and the world later this year. And we are working on a national tour and television special. I have a few more things I’m working on, but this Christmas project is surely high on my list of things to do.
How can people find you and connect with you?
People can find me on all of my social pages. They can also join me on my mailing list to stay in contact always and hear all my news. All of the links to my social media pages are on www.giadavalenti.com .