Born in the San Fernando Valley, Valerie Marie Leslie grew up on the stage and somewhat in front of the camera: singing, dancing and acting like most residing in Southern California. In the interim of rationed alone-time as a kid, she discovered her passion and inclination for song writing, then poetry. Little did she realize the perpetuity of this practice.
She was transplanted to Washington State at age 17, where she received an AAS at Edmonds Community College, with the focus on Music Theory and Digital Media Scoring. She completed school with a Bachelor’s degree of Music in Theory/Composition at Central Washington University. Post-college, she unconsciously labored at convenient but disaffiliated jobs while venturing to satisfy her composing appetency, achieving very humble credits to her name: Composer for “Siblings” dramatic film short; Recording Engineer/Editing “Conversations” a multimedia dance project; Chancel Choir Director, Chehalis United Methodist Church; Music Director for “Little Red Hen” Glenwood Elementary, and “Oliver!” Snoqualmie Falls Forest Theater; and Transcribing for Dana Lyons and Straw Into Gold, to name a few.
As for the poetry, she kept it confined to the darkness of her nightstand… until now. Poems from adolescence through early adulthood are tattooed to permanent publication in her debut book, Even the Smallest Bird Casts a Shadow. Pages of poetic journalling, lyrics and verse create a human being living among us.
“These are poems I look back at,” says Valerie. “I have so many, and yet so many are gone. The idea of a book came to me as a means of preservation. But it turned into a paper person.”
The book was published July 2015, but officially premiered January 14, 2016 at Village Books, Bellingham, WA, which grew into her 2016 Spring/Summer venture, “The Smallest Bird Tour”. She visited and performed in various venues such as bookstores, open mics, art galleries, and poetry nights. Valerie can be found performing “poems set to music, music set to poems” around the region.
She worked a full-time job managing the entertainment and marketing department for a local casino while writing, launching, and promoting her book. She personally and professionally is moving forward with advocating art and entertainment.