When I arrived at Venomous Valdez’s house on Wednesday, I was excited to get an inside look at the career of one of the most powerful women in the music industry. As a well-respected booker, bands in Cincinnati know, “If I call you, you have a gig, you’re getting paid.”
Born and raised in Cincinnati, Venomous got her start in the music industry 13 years ago. She began as a DJ for WAIF FM Radio, co-hosting a program that broadcasted live from local concerts and after six months the show became hers. She also worked at WEBN for a year doing a local/regional music show, metal show and board engineer for Bengals games. She also wrote a music column for 4 years and has worked on every sized tour from small to arenas. Recently, she’s Operations Manager of MidPoint Music Festival and if that isn’t all, she’s also a talent buyer for assorted clients!
Currently, Venomous is working with The Sundresses and Wussy and spends a lot of time touring with them. She’s unique in what she does because she does it all: book shows, Tour Manages, writes press releases, arranges interviews and radio performances, makes travel arrangements, and hires additional crew (merch/sound guy). As she said, “Nobody gets to the next level without a team. I’m a one woman team.” This makes her invaluable in the industry especially because when something at a show gets screwed up, “I handle it so bands can focus on their art.”
When I asked Venomous her advice on entering the music industry she said, “It takes a certain kind of person to recognize music as your soul mate. You have to do it for the right reasons. Whatever passion rules you- you have to own it and fight for it.” Venomous applies this advice to her own life because she’s passionate about the bands she works with and is extremely passionate about Cincinnati. “Most places don’t compare to Cincinnati. We are definitely ahead of the curve.” she said. Her favorite thing about our local scene is, “The endless amount of talent and passion not only from bands but from venues and booking agents to work towards national recognition.”
In the Cincinnati music industry, being a woman has not been a detriment to Venomous. That wasn’t always true. “In the beginning, it was difficult to be taken seriously. I learned really quick and stuck to my work ethics. Now I have many years of work to speak for itself.” However, every once in a while, when she tours she finds that people assume she’s a band members’ wife along for the ride. “No, no, I direct this ship!” She said, “I’ve never dated a musician. I learned early on, if I wanted to be respected, I couldn’t do it.” And this makes her one of the strongest and most driven women in the music industry that I know.
Next time you’re out and you see Venomous Valdez, give her a big hug. She does more for the local music scene than you could even imagine.