Megan Mortensen — better known by her stage name, Valeree — independently released her second single, a sultry track by the name of “Any Other Way.”
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Debuting in 2019, Mortensen is a fairly new face to the worlds of R&B and retro-soul. Hailing from Pittsburgh, she cites Ottis Redding, Etta James and Amy Winehouse as some of her favorite artists, and the influence certainly shows in the ethos of “Any Other Way.”
The track features a tasteful quartet arrangement of drums, guitar, bass and piano which, when supplemented by horns, creates an atmosphere that feels like a blend between the early 1960s and the 2020s. When the final layer of Mortensen’s rich, powerful voice comes in with a moving melody and smooth harmonies, it makes you agree that “any other way” just wouldn’t be as satisfying.
“I wrote this song because I was in a relationship that was very toxic for me, but we were both so attracted to each other that it often felt worth it. It had really high highs and low lows, so I wanted the song to reflect that kind of chaotic nature,” Mortensen says. “I have also struggled with substance abuse, and felt that my behavior in this relationship — staying in something I knew was bad for me just for the moments that felt so good — really mirrored my behavior with drugs and alcohol, which I feel is a theme that comes up in this song and many of my others.”
The refreshing candidness with which Mortensen describes her turbulent past and nuanced philosophy is a recurring theme in her work.
“I try to write as honestly as possible about my love life, even when it’s ugly or messy, like in this song,” Mortensen says. “I feel that there’s been a very one-sided picture painted of women in relationships by the media. This idea that women are searching for the one, always in need of a partner, heart-on-sleeve types is a trope I don’t relate to at all. I try to always write about my truest experience, like feeling suffocated by commitment, or in this case — being drawn to something that is clearly not going to work, enjoying the sex but not the person, getting wasted and fighting, etc.”
“Writing stuff like this is weird because it’s an honest reflection of where I was at in the moment, but I don’t want to come off like I’m condoning it. As far as vibe goes, I wanted it to be a sexy song, so I definitely hope it makes people feel sexy. But if we’re talking lyrical takeaways, I hope they take away the big moment of self-awareness in this song, the first line of the bridge — ‘I know it’s unstable, and if it stays like this we won’t survive.’ If you relate — please leave them!”
Listen to Valeree’s new single, “Any Other Way” below: