Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

Thanks so much for having us!  We’re sunset + mine, a husband and wife music duo consisting of Valerie and Rocco Repetski.  Our goal is to share the joy and hope with the world through our music!

What made you decide that music is a thing for you?

Valerie: I knew music was my calling when I realized how my voice could be used to share a message and positively impact people, and when I saw this was happening to the people around me.

Rocco: I’ve always loved music, but when I met Valerie it transformed from a side interest to a key part of our relationship.

Valerie: For a long time Rocco and I have dreamed of doing a pop duo project together – we’ve thought about it pretty much ever since we got married.  Thanks to a crazy series of events, here we are, 10 years later, doing just that.

Introduce us to all of the members and your musical history.

People ask us “who’s sunset and who’s mine?” and there really isn’t an answer to that question.  We recorded the project in Hollywood near the corner of Sunset Blvd and Vine Street, so we chose “sunset + mine” as an homage to the area since LA is where our dream became a reality.

Valerie is the voice of the sunset + mine, the lyricist, and plays acoustic and electric guitar.  She starting songwriting and playing guitar in college, then after college she honed her craft as a worship leader.  Rocco has been playing keys for most of his life.

We grew up less than a mile apart in Virginia.  We met through church youth group in high school but really started spending more time together after college.  Wanting to hang out more, Rocco invited Valerie over for jam sessions with a group of friends.  One evening, no one else could make it so it was just the two of us.  That was perfect!  We stopped inviting anyone else after that!

While we’ve performed music together as part of larger groups, our dream was always to create a pop project together as husband and wife to share joy and hope with the world.  We always figured that this dream would involve recording in Nashville, but the pandemic gave us another twist – like so many others, our events were completely canceled in 2020 and we found ourselves asking “what happens now?”  We looked at all this extra time as an opportunity and made a promise to each other that however, we spent our time during the pandemic, we’d be able to look back 5, 10 years later and know that we had used that time well.  Looking back on this time, we’re extremely grateful for getting to spend so much quality time together and stepping into this new, exciting season.

How have your songwriting skills developed over time?

Before “sunset + mine”, even though we had performed for years, the songs were always about someone else’s story.  This is a new chapter for us, writing and performing music about our own story.  We’re definitely still learning and growing along the way.  We want our music to be accessible and relatable, while at the same time making it personal.  It’s a difficult balance.  Our marriage has been the joy of our lives and to be able to write such personal songs for the world to hear is intimidating but so exciting!

What was the worst experience on stage?

Valerie: Rocco and I were volunteering at a service event for 500 high schoolers and they needed a female singer on stage to help lead an impromptu song.  I grabbed a mic, ran to the front, jumped on stage, and promptly face-planted right there in front of everyone.  How embarrassing!  I got up and tried to pretend like nothing had happened while I led the song. Afterward, I hobbled my way off stage.  LOL!

Tell us something about each member that you think people would be surprised about. 

We straddle two musical worlds.  On one hand, we’ve journeyed into the pop/EDM world with sunset + mine. On the other hand, we’re worship leaders and most evenings you can find us leading music for worship services, conferences, and retreats.

These two worlds might seem very different, but for us, they’re completely aligned.  Sharing the hope and joy we’ve discovered through love, relationship, and marriage and bringing this joy into the pop world has been a fun and rewarding challenge.  That hope and joy flow directly from our faith and we fully experience it leading worship together as husband and wife.

What makes you stand out as a band/artist?

We want our music to be uplifting and life-giving.  We want to provide a breath of fresh air to give our listeners something to brighten their day and maybe even laugh about.  Our hope is that everyone who hears our music leaves with a smile on their face and that it makes their day a little bit sunnier!

We love sharing about our relationship – we’ve been married since 2012 and it’s such a crazy fun adventure!  Marriage can be a beautiful, amazing gift. Ours feels like a journey – we don’t know what’s around the next bend in the road, but that’s part of the joy in it, knowing that whatever we discover along the way that we’re on this roadtrip together!  

We love discovering new places together and traveling the world.  Our favorite adventures have been in the Arctic of Svalbard and the tropical paradise of the Maldives.  During the beginning of the pandemic we did a LOT of drives together exploring new areas around DC, from the mountains in Virginia to the Atlantic coast.  No matter where we go, it’s awesome to just get to spend quality time together!

I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.

We just released our fifth single, “Time & Space”!  This tropical house track comes on the heels of our debut singles “Honey Let’s Go”, and “All My Hope”, and covers of “Fix You” and “No Longer Slaves”.  Produced by the award-winning Ian Charlie (of Walla) and mastered by Jett Galindo at The Bakery at Sony Pictures (Colbie Caillat, La La Land original soundtrack), “Time & Space” shares the beauty of young love.  Get ready to escape to a perfect sun-drenched island with transcendent vocal melodies enveloped in pulsing synths and tropical beats!  

Talk me through the thought process of the new tune/s.

“Time & Space” is a story of two lovers who never want to be apart, yearning to spend every moment together, wrapped up in each other’s arms.  The song gives a glimpse into how our love has grown stronger and deeper through our relationship, featuring Valerie’s transcendent vocals slipping deeper and deeper into the instrumentation as the song progresses.  We love listening to tropical house music and set this track in that style as a nod to our recent anniversary escape to the Maldives.

What was the recording process like?

It was incredible!  We were privileged to work with Hollywood-based producer Ian Charlie (of the band Walla) last year and he helped us craft our music.  He’s a musical genius and also a super genuine, positive guy.  We would get into the studio most evenings and just let the creativity flow.  There was no such thing as a bad idea and Ian gave us the license to let the creativity flow.  Oh, and we all had a BLAST doing it together!

We didn’t go into this project with the intent to fit neatly into a specific genre.  Our goal is simply to make music we love and we’re thrilled others enjoy it as well.  Being able to go out on a drive and blast a song with fun, catchy lyrics with a good beat is our jam!

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?

The biggest learning curve would be being willing to be vulnerable and personal with the song lyrics while at the same time writing a song that would be accessible to a lot of different people.  Sharing a lot of personal details with “the world” took some getting used to but we’re so proud of the song that we created!

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

We wouldn’t change a thing!  It was an amazing process creating this single and we’re super excited for the world to hear it.  All the decisions musically and sonically were made for a specific reason and we’re thrilled with how it came out!

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

We are so grateful for the support of everyone who helped make this dream a reality.  This whole journey of starting this project was both a total shock and at the same time a dream come true!  We’re enjoying the process along the way and we can’t wait to see what 2023 holds!  We just hope that anyone who hears our songs has a brighter, happier, more joyful day as a result!