Interview: High Valley Pleased to Stay True to Themselves and Find Success
When High Valley released their major-label album Dear Life in 2016, brothers Brad and Curtis Rempel were introducing themselves to country music fans in the United States, after finding success in their native Canada. Although they were starting out from the bottom again in the States, it didn’t take long for fans to gravitate to their music, especially their catchy debut single, “Make You Mine.” The song became a Top 10 hit at country radio and catapulted High Valley to a new, unprecedented (for them) level of success.
“Dear Life comes out, people treat us really well, play the crap out of the song on the radio, and guess what? Now we can go to any city in the world, evidently,” Brad Rempel tells The Boot. “We haven’t been to Hong Kong, but we have been all over Europe, and everywhere, people are singing our songs — not just “Make You Mine.” They’re going on Spotify and stuff and finding the rest of the songs; they’re singing “She’s With Me,” “Dear Life” — just singing.”
Adds Curtis Rempel, “That’s the weirdest part of it all, just the fact that people know the music. Everybody operates differently, but for me, looking at a chart or seeing numbers — how many spins, how many streams, how many YouTube views, chart position, everything — it’s all cool and mind-blowing. But the craziest part is when you actually go out and people are thrilled to just scream those words back at you, from the crowd, and you can see it.”
Dear Life shows off not only High Valley’s sibling harmonies and musical talents, but also their family heritage. Born and raised as Mennonites in Alberta, Canada, the brothers keep their music clean, wholesome and suitable for audiences of all ages — a method that seems to be drawing fans in droves.
“I think people understand “Make You Mine” better now that they’ve heard the Dear Life record,” Brad Rempel shares. “When “Make You Mine” came out, they’re like, ‘These guys might be into this kind of music, or they might have done this because they thought it was cool, something to try. When they hear Dear Life, they’re like, ‘That’s totally what these guys do. I get it now. This is who they are and what they do.'”
Brad Rempel is the proud father of two boys, Cash and Drew; Curtis Rempel and his wife Myranda recently welcomed their second child, Millie June, who joined big brother Ben in their family. Making music that their children can listen to is one of the most important deciding factors, High Valley say, when choosing what they will sing.
“I hate focusing on what we don’t want to say; I love to focus on what we do want to say,” explains Brad Rempel. “When we met with Warner [Bros., our record label], we said, ‘Hey, we’re about faith, family and fun, and we’d love to be known for that some day’ … and they explained how it was so cool for them to see, for the first time in 100 years, America’s doing everything together as a family.
“You get that at high school football games, and you get that at a couple things, but we’d love to be the band that was known for that — not [for being like] Justin Bieber, where the parents drop the kids off, and not other stuff where the parents go without the kids,” Rempel continues. “And everybody’s understood that. That’s been our main mantra, and it would only be our own fault if we’ve kind of been wishy-washy on where we stood with our values, and we have been before. But I feel like everybody knows what we stand for now, and that’s helped a lot.”
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High Valley have headlined their own shows all over the globe, and opened for high-profile acts such as Martina McBride, and they’ll continue doing both in 2017: They’ve got shows of their own on their calendar, but they’ll also take a turn opening for Tim McGraw and Faith Hill on their Soul2Soul Tour.
“I feel like their reach is so broad, from movies and TV and obviously their massive career in country music, both of them,” Brad Rempel notes of the country power couple. “Some [of that audience] won’t be as hardcore country fans, but others, we think, are going to like our flavor of country.”
High Valley have been working together for more than 10 years, making their living off of their music. But according to the Rempels, they’re just getting started.
“People say, ‘Man, you have been doing this for a long time. It must be so tiring,'” Brad Rempel recounts. “We just want to keep it rolling … We have one single, [and] I don’t ever want to be a one-hit wonder; I want multiple songs. I feel this summer will be a very fun time for us, because people will know that one song, and we’ll get a better turnout at a lot of our festival slots, but I’m going to put a lot of pressure on making sure that people see a show that — all they know us by is the band that sings that song on the radio, and now they’re going to see us live. I hope they love what they see.”
High Valley understand how far their music could take them, and they’re ready to work for it. So, they will keep pushing themselves — but they’re also enjoying the fruits of their labor.
“You write the song, you get a record deal, it’s all amazing. The record company tries hard to make people aware that your music exists. That’s all great. Even radio playing it is so great,” Brad Rempel notes. “But then, when people decide on their own, with nobody forcing them to do it, ‘We like this so much, we’re going to sing it ’til your ears start bleeding,’ then us as artists say, ‘This actually connected. We made a connection, all over the world.'”
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