“I felt like a star, like a real star,” says Hana Valente, The She’s lead singer and third year USF student, as she reminisces about her Aug. 13 Outside Lands debut. Valente’s favorite moment of their set started when, “One of my bandmates asked, ‘who’s from the Bay Area,’ and it was everyone, so it was great to feel the love because they’ve seen us grow up through the years,” she says.
The She’s, made up of childhood friends Samantha Perez (bass), Sinclair Riley (drums), Eva Treadway (guitar), and Valente (guitar and vocals), is celebrating their ten year anniversary—they started playing together in the seventh grade. In those ten years, they’ve played with beloved San Francisco band Girls, headed a Converse ad campaign, recorded an album, signed with Empty Cellar and played at iconic San Francisco venues like The Independent—all before they’ve graduated college.
The band is currently at work on their latest album due in November, “We haven’t put out a release in three years so it’ll be really nice for people to have a hard copy of how we sound like now, because we don’t even play the songs on our old albums anymore,” says Valente as she beams with excitement.
Their sound is tied to San Francisco, where they grew up practicing in Valente’s parents’ garage in the Sunset. “We were a literal garage band,” she says with a giggle. Valente describes their sound as being, “really influenced by California, especially that old California sound, like the Beach Boys, just SoCal fun.”
Valente, a sociology major and economics minor, and the rest of the band originally planned to go to school in New York City. They ultimately decided against it during their gap year, due to the stress of moving to a new city, starting school and maintaining the band at the same time. “We started thinking, ‘What are we doing? Let’s stay here,’ and I applied to USF,” says Valente with a smile. The decision turned out to be the right one, “I’ve had amazing teachers. I like how small it is,” she said.
Even though her time at USF and with the band has been ideal, she’s still worried about The She’s future in San Francisco. As a San Francisco native and musician, the city’s rising prices are an issue. She says, “most of my friends are musicians, and we all go to school, work or have families to support, and we’re all trying to make it work. But it almost feels like a ticking time bomb, like ‘When are we going to be unable to afford this?’ but I love the city, and I can’t seem to leave.”
Even if the band’s living situation isn’t set in stone, their future seems pretty hopeful, “the band is really a facet of our friendship—we’ve been friends, since kindergarten—so as long as we’re friends we’ll keep playing music, so fingers crossed!”
Featured image – The She’s: USF Student and The She’s lead singer Hanna Valente performs at Outside Lands. Claudia Sanchez/FOGHORN.