Val Haller Interview: Bringing Music to the People!
Diana Landau | February 16, 2021
This week's episode is an interview with Val Haller, Music Fan-Genius. After raising a family, Val launched her music business at age 50 in Chicago. Now 63, Val has authored a weekly music post for NYT called "Music Match" where she pairs classic artists with new artists. She is also a music festival producer (Winnetka Music Festival, year 4, 15,000 attendance), has her own podcast “Band in the Basement”, plus she’s created programs at Wrigley Field and the Botanical Gardens, and has been featured in Oprah magazine.
If you are reading this, you must check out her site, Valslist.com. Val realized all the way back in 2003 when the music world began to go digital, that people of the Boomer generation were still focused on careers and raising their families and had little time to learn about the exploding music universe. Val recognized there was a need and capitalized on it. She wants to help older people to be exposed to and appreciate new music.
On her website, you will find curated playlists that combine the groups we know and recognize from our generation, but paired with brand new bands, plus a little bio about them. I don’t know about you, but this blogger wanted to learn more about new music and did not know where to start. With Val’s playlists, you are way ahead of the game. You expand your music horizon, keep up with the times and (possibly) impress your kids with your incredibly cool playlists.
Val was entrepreneurial at a young age. Growing up, her family’s conversation around the dinner table was not typical. Her father was an entrepreneurial engineer so the questions were not, “How was your day?” but instead, “What would you invent? What would you change to make the world a better place?”
In college, she started a side business offering hair cuts to students. It grew it into a successful little side business, earning thousands. Ironically, Val gave a bad haircut to one particular student—who is now her husband and business partner.
Now, running a successful business takes up most of her time. On becoming an entrepreneur and working with your spouse, she offers these tips:
1) Define which rooms of the house you can talk business in.
2) Let each person be heard.
3) Stay in your own lane. It’s hard to do when you are both “Type A” people working hard together on something--but it works.
Bonus tip: Val goes full throttle in the high-energy music business, and is a fan of power napping. (This blogger is too.) Commit to 20-30 minutes each afternoon and you will feel refreshed and ready to keep going.
"I tell music agents, bands, producers that we're not your sexy audience, but we're your lucrative audience. We are important!" Val’s mission has been to make the world a better place, one creative playlist at a time. We think she’s killing it!
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.