Across their EP Abismos, sisters Valeria and Valentina Perez are perfectly in sync, their diaphanous voices winding in and out of each other to create unexpected harmonies at every turn. As preternatural as it sounds, they admit it took them a while to find the sense of unity that’s defined them as a duo. “In the beginning, we were like, ‘OK, how do we sing in a way where our voices flow completely together?’” says Valeria. “But we started practicing and singing to the point where now, we don’t even think about it. She goes, and then I know where to go, and vice versa.”
Even in casual conversation, the two singers, who were born in Colombia, often move together: Asked what it was like to leave their native Cartagena and move more than one thousand miles away to study music in Louisiana during college, both let out a well-timed “Uyyy!” at the exact same time. “Our family friends would go, ‘How did you let them go?’ But it was nice because even though we were far from home, we were together,” Valentina says.
The identical twins are actually triplets — they have a third sister named Veronica, a music educator who studied with them. In school, each pursued classical music career paths: Valeria was a talented double bass player, while Valentina was dedicated to the piano. However, the farther they went with their instruments, the more they began wondering about what they wanted to do. “I love the double bass and I respect classic musicians a lot, but it was like eight hours a day, and I was already feeling like I couldn’t spent eight hours of my life every day on the double bass,” Valeria says. “It was a lot.” She began picking up the guitar and writing more pop-oriented songs instead. Valentina also explored outside the piano, doing photography and other arts, and recording Valeria singing covers on social media around 2016. She started joining in sometimes and they quickly began getting attention online.
One person who reached out was the 13-time Latin Grammy-winning producer Sebastian Krys, who’s worked with Shakira, Juanes, and Elvis Costello. He thought the sisters should do more as a duo. “We had kind of been doing stuff together and we needed to hear it,” Valeria says. “It was so obvious, and we were like, if he sees it, why don’t we?” Krys signed them and over the next couple of years, they worked on a few different projects, including the 2020 EP Iridiscente, featuring songwriting and production from Linda Briceño, or Ella Bric, the first woman to win a Latin Grammy for Producer of the Year. Last year, they released the album Línea Recta, which featured the glowing track “Para Verte.”
Things have gotten even bigger for Vale in 2022. In September, they were nominated in the Best New Artist category at the Latin Grammys. They released Abismos and dove into work for a new full-length album. Vale has also gotten shout-outs from major artists excited about their music; Costello recently called them “incredible” in an interview with Rolling Stone and shared that he’d written a song for them.
Meanwhile, Vale are continuing to refine their sound and leverage the best of their uncanny connection. “We’re very alike but also very different,” Valentina says. “I always say Valeria is the person who is the most like me and who is the least like me, but we combine all our influences when we’re creating.” The fact that they’ve spent time writing and playing around with music since they were kids has also helped them build memorable songs together: “Se Acaba Todo,” off of Abismos, is a song they’d been arranging since they were teenagers. “We were like 15, 16,” Valeria remembers. “And we used to sing it all the time. When we sent Sebastian some demos for this project, he was like ‘This one is going in.’ And we were like, ‘Why?’ And he said, ‘I was listening to it on my bike and I almost fell over.’”
The sisters continue to be musical omnivores who devour everything from Silvana Estrada to Harry Styles, and often look to the example of cantaores like Jorge Drexler and Silvio Rodríguez for ways into songwriting. “I’m fascinated by it and I listen to that to find our own methods of storytelling,” Valeria says. That kind of imaginative lyricism and composition plays a role on an album they finished recently, planned for 2023. “There’s so much more coming,” Valentina says. “The album is in the same family as the EP, but it has some up-tempo songs. There’s a little bit of everything.”