Dom Vallie, formally known as Dominic Turton, is a 20-year-old rapper, singer, and songwriter born in Toronto and raised in Kitchener. Growing up, Dom was surrounded by creativity and positivity within his family, specifically his Uncle Damian being his biggest influence. As an art director for film productions, Uncle Damian was able to provide a glimpse of the music world for young Dom. At age 12, Dom started writing rhymes and only 2 years later, he recorded his first song on a Blue Snowball USB mic given to him for his birthday. In the summer going into grade 9, he started to take his music seriously after his mother grounded him for having weed and as a punishment, was stuck inside for the whole summer. This gave him the time to start and hone his skills in music.
Since then, he worked tirelessly to improve his craft and as a result, his debut mixtape, Nights, was released in 2017. In the following year, Dom created his first major single, “Scared of Death” after being inspired by the beats from his long-time friend and producer, Thomas Buchanan (aka Tomb). In 2019, “Scared of Death” was officially dropped in May and garnered over 400, 000 streams on Spotify alone. In 2020, he shared his talent on Tik Tok and instantly gained over 90, 000 followers, expanding his loyal fanbase.
This February, Dom will be releasing his next single, “Bleeding Luv”, a song about heartbreak and finding trust. Later in the year, he plans to release more singles before he drops his EP, Nights 2. On top of this, he is also working on his first album called, Turn the Quiet Off, which explores his struggle with anxiety and using music as an escape. Throughout the past few years, we have witnessed great progress from Dom. He has grown into a multi-talented artist who writes his own songs, directs his own music videos, and brings life to every performance. I was able to speak with Dom about his inspirations, music, and upcoming projects.
1. Tell me about yourself. What is something fans should know about you?
My name is Dom Vallie. I’m from Kitchener, Ontario and I was born in Toronto in 2000. I’ve been making music, making songs for about 7 years now, but I’ve been writing poetry verses for as long as I can remember. I started making music when I got grounded in grade 9, the summer going into this grade, my mom found some weed on me and she grounded me. I wasn’t allowed to go out all summer and she took my iPod. I stayed in and started messing around Garage Band, I started making some beats and loops on there. I realized these are kind of dope. I thought I’ve written raps before, so I’m going to try writing to these. I wrote to one of the beats and I recorded it on my phone. I showed my friends and family, and got positive feedback, so I took the ball and ran with it. I immediately started working on my first project called Nights, it’s on Spotify, and we released that in 2017.
You used an unlucky situation and turned it into a creative outlet. I also know you’ve been writing since you were 12 years old, who were you listening to at the time?
I grew up listening to Lil Wayne, A Tribe Called Quest, as well as Red Hot Chilli Peppers. I’ve always wanted to be a rapper. I remember one Halloween I was Lil Wayne and I’d write little bars. Now, looking back, it feels corny as fuck, but it was something that I always wanted to do but I don’t think I had the confidence to do it or I didn’t know I had that confidence, so I didn’t really try.
2. Would you say these are artists that you’re inspired by? Are these artists that you’d like to collaborate with too? Other than the ones you mentioned, who else are you currently inspired by?
Yeah, a hundred percent. Drake is a huge inspiration on the business side of things. He knows what people want and when to give it to them. He knows how to adapt in the music industry which I think is extremely important because it’s such a fast pace, moving, business. The sound changes every day, every month, and every year. That’s why learning how to adapt and how to build your own brand is important. Once you have your own brand, you’re able to do anything. So, Drake on the business side, and Lil Wayne based on the amount of content he pushes out, his lyrics and bars are just crazy. Those are probably my two main inspirations. Also, the Weeknd too. I wanted to be a rapper and when I heard “Earned It” by the Weeknd, I thought “nah I got to be a singer”.
3. Speaking of lyrics and bars, can you tell us what your creative process is like?
My creative process usually starts with however I’m feeling. That’s what I try to put into my lyrics. I got two producers who are real close to me and they’ll be sending me hard beats like bangers right, and sometimes I’m not in that. I’m not in the bragging mood. Sometimes I have an off day because I try to write with those bangers, and nothing flows out. So, I learned very early on that it’s easiest to create when you create what you feel. I’ll start with realizing how I’m feeling and what my feelings are saying, then I’ll try to look for a beat that matches that vibe and speaks to me. From that point on, it flows out of me and words come to me.
4. How would you describe the music you’re making, especially to new fans?
It depends on the song. I try to diversify my music as much as I can and try not to stick to one genre. I create because that’s the way I get my feelings out and if people can relate to that, then I did my job. I’m happy. I want to make something that speaks to people whether that’s one person who understands what the song means or a whole country, just having a world of people that relate to me. That’s why I make music.
5. Is it difficult sometimes to express these feelings into your music?
Definitely. As people, we don’t always know exactly what we’re feeling until we say it out loud. Sometimes I feel anxious and I don’t know what it’s about. I try to write and subconsciously, I write about whatever is on my mind or causing me that stress. It’s therapy in a sense where you talk until you realize what the problem is and how you can fix it.
6. What would you say helps you bring these feelings out?
Being open with myself and not keeping anything inside. Letting everything flow out of me. For example, I have a song called “The Longest Day”, it’s on Spotify, and I released it on my birthday. Basically, it’s about anxiety and how it can get to you. Every day may not be a good day, but you have to tough out the hard days because there’s still tomorrow.
7. That’s an inspiring message, in relation to that, what is the best advice you’ve ever been given as an artist?
My dad told me when I was very young to do something you love, to make sure that whatever you do, it’s something you love to do. As a child, I took that to heart and when I decided I wanted to make music or that I had a passion for music, I put my all into it and I made sure to make this my living. I want to be able to do this and be successful off it and be able to live off my music.
8. That’s great advice, to follow your dreams and really chase it. Let’s talk about your upcoming projects now and your goals for this year. We can begin with, “Bleeding Luv” since it comes out this February, what is it about?
“Bleeding Luv” is a heartbreak song that’s about giving people your trust and your love and them taking it for granted, but also at the same time, not realizing that they’re taking it for granted. It’s about pushing aside your doubts and trying to believe that the person actually loves you. The start of the song is, “You say you love me, but do you really” but at the end of the song, it’s more like “does it matter, you’re still here” and that means something.
This song was also a new sound that I’ve experimented with where the percussion is like Pop Smoke, drill music, and then, sampled with Leona Lewis’ song, “Bleeding Love”, from 2008. We tried to mix the two genres, R&B, and drill together. I think that’s symbolic in a way because we’re balancing the good and the bad together. That’s what I tried to do in the lyrics as well.
9. I understand, the song’s about being a closed person who needs to be more open and accepting of trusting someone else with your heart. That’s also an interesting mix and I’m excited to hear it. Any more upcoming projects and goals for the year?
I spoke earlier about my first project, Nights, which is 12 songs. it was about love, family, and finding yourself. I have a very hard time sleeping at night, so it was about me creating late at night after my family went to bed and being alone with my thoughts and putting those into my music.
I’m trying to get back to my roots on that side. I’m working on Nights 2, it’ll be produced by my friend and producer, Tomb, who also produced and mix-mastered the first one. We’ve been working on that since the first one released in 2017, so we had a collection of songs that we started working on right after the first EP dropped and then, we moved on to different projects. Now, we’re trying to go back to that and get that sound again and make another one for the people, the Day 1 fans. So, that’s the mixtape I’m working on.
I’m also working on my first album, it’s called, Turn the Quiet Off, and that one’s about speaking up for what you believe in. That’s one of the meanings of the album. Speaking up for what you believe in whether it is about love or your own needs and wants. It can be about police brutality, or anything really. The other meaning behind it is about the anxiety I struggle with. To me, Turn the Quiet Off means when it’s quiet, it’s loud inside in my head, so it means to listen to music and escape from that.
10. That is a very relatable message, and we can also expect a lot of new music to come out this year.
Yes. Last year was the most I’ve released ever, and I think I only dropped maybe 10-12 songs, but I want to get away from the need to drop every month and only work on the music. I want to make sure that what I’m releasing is something that can be felt and something that I feel. I want to drop more collective pieces of work, rather than just singles.
11. So, would you say that’s your overall goal for this year?
Yeah definitely, building my brand and my fanbase, dropping as much music as I can for my people, and seeing where that takes me.
12. What is a message you’d like to say to your fans?
To be yourself and be one hundred percent. Be happy to be yourself and be confident. Everyone has their ups and downs. Everyone has their struggles, but you have to focus on the good. Everyone has their good and that’s what you have to be grateful for and appreciate because that’s what life is about.
Dom plans on releasing a lot more music this year, so fans can stay tuned and watch Dom claim his throne in the music industry.
Stream “Bleeding Luv” below.