GVSU alumni start a pop band


Marissa LaPorte

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Four-fifths of a new Michigan pop band is made up of recent Grand Valley State University graduates that are chasing their dreams, producing and performing music.

Jake Nuechterlein, the band’s guitarist, said he believes receiving support from the community is important for local bands such as theirs and that GVSU students should come out to their upcoming debut show in Grand Rapids. He said he enjoys meeting and talking to students after the show.

“I think it would be cool for (current students) to see GVSU (graduates) living out their dreams and chasing their dream in music,” Nuechterlein said. “We’re very thankful for everything that we’ve learned from GVSU, and it’s actually where we all met and it’s what brought us together. Without GVSU, we wouldn’t be here.”

This group is made up of five men, four of whom graduated from GVSU in April of 2015. They named their band after the 1983 Nicolas Cage movie, “Valley Girl.” Valley Girl’s singer and guitarist, Ryley Grayson, said he originally wanted the name to be Valley Girls, but the name was already taken by another band so they took inspiration from the Nicolas Cage film.

Valley Girl started up in February 2015 and recorded their self-titled EP (extended play) in Nashville during March of 2015. The EP holds four songs, but Valley Girl plans to release a full length album next year and record more music in the spring. The group identifies as a Michigan band rather than a Grand Rapids band because most of its members are from the east side of the state. Valley Girl falls under the pop genre, but are inspired by 80s rock and roll.

Valley Girl will be performing at the Pyramid Scheme just in time to kick off spring break at 7 p.m. on March 3. The Pyramid Scheme will be holding a “college night” that evening to accommodate college students who want to save some money. A bar for those 21 and up will also be available during the show. Valley Girl will be performing a selection of its new songs during its first official show in Grand Rapids. Valley Girl will be going on tour this spring and won’t be returning to perform in Grand Rapids until after the tour.

Nuechterlein said Valley Girl is grateful for GVSU not only for the useful information they learned, but for the music shows the campus put on by hosting bands such as The Maine, Hellogoodbye and Jason Derulo. Nuechterlein said he can’t believe how much GVSU has changed and grown in a short period of time and hopes it continues to thrive.

Taylor Robida, Valley Girl’s bass guitarist, said that chasing their dreams hasn’t been easy and as a group they constantly have to work together to succeed.

“It’s not easy, you have to work really hard,” Robida said. “It’s not like what people think it’s going to be. It’s not just writing music. It’s promotion, production, business and finances. You own your own small business.”

James Reinhardt, Valley Girl’s drummer, said they aren’t making much money yet. He said that most of what they make must be used to fund their band and is placed toward producing music. His advice for anyone pursuing music is to remain passionate even when things get tough.

“Stay humble and focused and always be inspired and hardworking because as soon as you want to give up or not work as hard then you’re kind of already losing it,” Reinhardt said.

With degrees from the school of communications, none of the GVSU graduates in Valley Girl have degrees in music, even though music is their passion. Robida said that without the knowledge the band members gained from the business and communication classes they took at GVSU, they wouldn’t be in the position they are now.

“Take all of the knowledge you get at GVSU and don’t take it for granted because if you’re interested in music there’s still a lot that this campus have to offer that is going to be useful for your career in music,” Nuechterlein said.

Valley Girl, Red Legs, Jesse Ray, The Carolina Catfish and Lights & Caves will all be performing at the Pyramid Scheme on March 4. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Visit www.pyramidschemebar.com for more information.

To download Valley Girl’s music and for more information about upcoming shows, visit www.valleygirlmusic.com.