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  • Giavanna Gradaille

Review: "borderline" - Alexa Valentino

I don’t like to talk about my own mental health illness for several reasons. But the biggest is the fact that my identity becomes my diagnosis. Every accomplishment is no longer accredited to my grit and dedication, but in spite of my diagnosis. People walk on eggshells around me when I have a minor setback because they’re worried that my diagnosis will make me do something devastatingly drastic. So, I and others struggling with mental health usually keep it to ourselves. While B.P.D. is not my diagnosis, Alexa Valentino’s “borderline” sheds light on the concerns and worries that those of us struggling with mental health across the board have.

The gorgeous piano ballad that is “borderline” provides a significant amount of comfort and visibility to listeners with mental health struggles. Especially to those living with B.P.D. as their diagnosis. But it also provides much-needed insight for listeners unaware of these struggles and the day-to-day navigation that they require. The song opens with soft piano notes while Valentino expresses the guilt they’ve accumulated in the first verse. This guilt revolves around the impact she believes her struggle has had on those in her life, even lamenting: “I’m sorry that I’ve needed extra love”. That line alone makes my heart swell with sorrow because the sentiment is easily recognizable amongst those of us actively struggling. As the song progresses, the inclusion of additional instruments sees to the inclusion of more intimate details from Valentino. The chorus brings in violin strings while she expresses her want to live and be seen beyond a diagnosis. The end of the bridge features drums after voicing her desires for the thoughts that overwhelm her to not manifest into endeavors. With all of these concerns, it's easy to feel like one's "drowning". Yet, Valentino manages to leave listeners feeling optimistic; just simply lending her phenomenal voice to both illuminate and validate these emotions means the world to people like me.

Alexa Valentino is the rare quadruple threat: actress, musician (a pianist), singer, and songwriter. Based in New York, the artist has been performing non-stop in the public eye since the age of four. At nine, Valentino made her off-Broadway debut in Davenport Theatre’s production of Number the Stars. At eleven, she released an anti-bullying song in conjunction with the Free2Luv organization. At thirteen, she had her first love – the city of Nashville - which led to continuous travel between home and there while working with her team of writers to create more music. Now, Valentino is a seasoned performer that’s already achieved major milestones such as her first album release, 2021’s a guide to moving on. Currently, Valentino is a semi-finalist with co-writer, Dave Quirk, for their song “Dear Love”, in The John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Listeners not only get to hear the unreleased dreamy song, but vote for it in its category as well! In the meantime, show Valentino some virtual love through streams, likes, and follows.

Written by Giavanna Gradaille



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