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Friday, September 14, 2018

Musician Steve O Valdez uses his faith, talent to promote arts, culture in Houston | Lifestyle - Houston Chronicle

"Steve O Valdez’s life has always revolved around music and church" notes
“Some of the best artists and singers came out of the church,” says music producer Steve O Valdez.
Photo: Elizabeth Conley, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer

When he was a young boy he played piano, but he also loved the drums. Before he had his own set to play, his father, who was a pastor at a local church, would unlock the doors to his house of worship and let Steve bang away on the church band’s drums.

Valdez honed his musical craft during services at Church of God Seventh Day La Roca in the Aldine area. That experience would years later lead him to tour with pop musicians and develop platinum-selling music.

Now, in a nondescript commercial building in EaDo, with downtown Houston’s skyscrapers looming in the horizon, the 34-year-old Valdez works on making hit songs with longtime collaborator and singer Frankie J. The partnership has proven fruitful over the years, with Valdez helping make the song “Obsession” for the California singer.

Despite the star power, the studio itself looks modest if not for the industrial-sized sound board and the audio engineer working it. It’s a room that’s been the creative space for other accomplished musicians, many based in Houston, most notably Valdez’ business partner, the music producer and rapper Mannie Fresh...

Though Steve has made it as a music producer outside of religion, faith continues to play a role in his life. He says his faith informs his interest in creating opportunities for young people through his Houston Sound Academy school, where he teaches music to church groups and provides individual lessons. The space is housed in the same building as his studio and offers lessons on drums, guitar, deejaying and production.

This summer his school offered a YouTuber Summer Camp for adolescents, focused on how to build a musical brand from production to promotion. Pushing arts and culture in Houston has become his new passion. It’s something that’s shared by Mannie Fresh as well.