Hunter Valentine's Kiyomi talks Real L Word, new album, and life on the road

True road warriors, Hunter Valentine played more than 200 gigs this past year. "Dirty rock clubs, lesbian and female-based events, mainstream festivals," McCloskey rattled off the different types of shows the band has played over the years. "We play a wide range of venues and that's what keeps it interesting for us. We don't say no to anything."

Slew of gigs aside, the band has certainly had a busy year on other fronts as well. Hunter Valentine brought a new element to The Real L Word, which for the first time went bi-coastal, with cast members in both L.A. and New York City. "They wanted people on the show with really interesting careers and passions, something they haven't had on it before," McCloskey said.

The band's storyline documented its drive to make it in the music industry, life on the road, the dynamics of a new lineup (which changed yet again after filming for the season wrapped up), and the making of a new album. The group really showed itself to be incredibly hardworking, committed to its success. "It's been one of the busiest times for us as a band," McCloskey said.

Don't worry, though. In true Real L Word fashion, even as they pursued their dreams, the band certainly had its share of dramatic moments: There was plenty of friction among band members, and McCloskey's up-and-down non-monogamous relationship took center stage.

"I have to be non-monogamous on the road, regardless of how it looks on the show," said McCloskey, whose dalliances with other women while touring drew criticism from some viewers. "It's extremely difficult to go on tour and be in a relationship. The other person always feels left behind and it's hard to get them to remember that this is a job you're doing."

Despite the drama, McCloskey is quick to point out that the music is the band's true focus and passion. She's especially proud of the group's upcoming album, Collide and Conquer, which will be released Oct. 23. "I'm really happy with the evolution of our sound," she said. "The band has learned so much over the years. We've honed our craft and it shows. Musically, I couldn't be happier."

Hunter Valentine peforms at 6 p.m. at the Girls Out Loud music festival this Saturday at Progress Energy Park. For more information and to purchase tickets, go here.

One look at Kiyomi McCloskey and you know she eats, breathes and swaggers rock and roll. Whether she's taking the stage with her band Hunter Valentine or lighting up the small screen on this season of The Real L Word, this ultra-cool singer epitomizes rock and roll attitude.

This weekend, the charismatic frontwoman and divisive reality show star will bring her band's bold, brazen and inimitable brand of rock to the Tampa Bay area. The Toronto, all-female band — now Brooklyn-based — are headliners for the Girls Out Loud lesbian music festival on Saturday, Sept. 15. "We're really excited about the festival," McCloskey said. "We had been talking about how we wanted to get down to Florida again."


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