Updated December 1, 2021 - 11:41 am
If the Vegas entertainment scene is a sauce, Giada Valenti is the seasoning.
Spicy in her performances and her lively disposition, the Italian songstress has stirred things up in Las Vegas with her multilingual recordings, appearances at The Smith Center, and her Facebook Live cooking-and-singing series. She just dropped a new holiday song, “Silent Night/Noche de Paz,” sung in English and Italian. The song is the anchor of an album set for release in fall 2022. At 7 p.m. Sunday, Valenti performs her annual holiday show, “Love Under the Christmas Tree,” at Myron’s at The Smith Center.
A native of Venice, Valenti moved to Las Vegas in 2018, a couple of years after releasing her PBS special “From Venice With Love.” Her first full show at Cabaret Jazz (now Myron’s) was in November 2017. Eleven months later, she played the first of her two shows at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall.
Valenti also performed what would be the final pre-shutdown show at Myron’s on March 12, 2020.
Highlights of our chat with Valenti, who speaks several languages but is just learning how to pronounce “righteous,” even though she is that:
Johnny Kats: What are we going to see out of this show Sunday?
Giada Valenti: It is a Christmas concert, which I’ve done for many years on the East Coast and am doing for the first time here.
That means Christmas is coming up!
Yes! And I’m doing this on the 5th, 20 days in advance, so I will not be late. Italians are always late.
They are? Why is that?
When you tell an Italian an appointment is at 7, we think, “OK, at 7, we start to get ready.” And then we get there. But I’m married to a Dutch, and if you say the appointment is at 7, at 6 he is already on his way.
The Dutch make great watches.
You’re mentioning your husband, J.J., who is also your manager, wonderful guy.
Yes. You know, we are like Celine and Rene (Angelil) used to be. He is on time.
I’m half Italian, and food is big in my family. Same for you?
My Italian family and I realized, when I married J.J., we seem to talk about food all the time. I mean, at breakfast we are talking about lunch. At lunch we are talking about dinner. It has always been in my life. But when I married a person from Amsterdam, suddenly it was like, “Why is your family eating and talking about, ‘What are we gonna eat tonight?’ It’s an Italian thing.
Why did you move to Las Vegas?
I was born and raised in Venice. Long story short, I lived five years in Amsterdam, one year in London, 11 years in New York City, one year in Los Angeles, and now three years in Las Vegas. I had this PBS special, I filmed it in 2016, and it was broadcast nationally. And every time it was on somewhere in the country, I was going there for a concert. We sold tickets to the Las Vegas show during the special, and in the first block nobody was calling. Finally, they started calling, and in the third block, I actually answered one of the phones myself.
You took a ticket order for your own show?
Yes. And it was this wonderful lady named Irene, who invited me to the Italian American Club when I was in Las Vegas.
That’s a good entry point for a person of your heritage.
I went there and met some people in the community. I fell in love with Las Vegas. I love the people in the community.
We were reminded during COVID that you are a very talented chef. You were singing and cooking. You really blend your music and cooking passions, right?
Cooking is like music: Everyone can enjoy it. My grandmother used to say, “Anybody and everybody can cook, as long as you put passion in it.” I always say the secret is to buy the best ingredients possible. So, if you see a pasta that is 99 cents, and one that costs $2.99 — that’s a good pasta. Always buy fresh tomatoes, fresh basil. You might only need four ingredients, but if they are good and you put them together, you can cook.
When was the last time you were in Venice?
About two months ago, and I’m going back after my concert for two months.
To perform? To see family?
To see my family, and my Christmas album is out in the Netherlands and Italy, so we’re doing some television and radio.
You sing in multiple languages, and you’re kind of a showoff. How many languages can you speak?
I can speak four well. In order it’s Italian, Dutch, French and then English. Spanish is a work in progress. And during COVID I learned American Sign Language.
Are you going to do this at the show? While you’re singing?
It’s going to be easy for me! I am already talking with my hands!
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.