Shane Henderson is driving through Los Angeles when he takes a call … and a trip down memory lane. His words help Henderson swerve 11 years into the past, back to 2005 when the sophomore Marketing major at Temple University’s Fox School of Business signed his first record deal.
Henderson, 30, is the former frontman and vocalist of Philadelphia-based pop punk band Valencia. Signed to indie label I Surrender Records by Rob Hitt, former drummer of punk outfit Midtown, Henderson and four other members of Valencia began a journey that would include three albums, a major record-label debut, five stints on the world-famous Vans Warped Tour, thousands of fans from as far away as Australia and Japan, and their own headlining U.S. tour.
“There are just so many memories,” said Henderson, a native of Newtown, Pa. “I’m proud that my band allowed me the opportunity to do these things.”
Henderson has nearly 15 years in the music industry as a performer, producer, and promoter. He picked up an instrument for the first time as a toddler, cycling through the viola, saxophone, drums, and guitar. Valencia formed in 2004 with Henderson on vocals, fellow Temple student Maxim Soria on drums, George Ciukurescu on bass, and Brendan Walter and JD Perry on guitar. The band gained a following in the Philadelphia punk scene while shopping around its demo.
“During my entire freshman year, we had three shows every weekend,” Henderson said. “I’d perform all weekend, and then be back at Temple for Monday’s classes. I had to learn to compartmentalize everything.”
The band signed to I Surrender Records in 2005, and Henderson, three semesters into his tenure at the Fox School of Business, made the decision to pursue a career in music. Valencia immediately played the 2005 Warped Tour alongside platinum-selling rock artists such as Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance before releasing its first album, This Could be a Possibility, less than a year after signing.
As the band gained momentum, Henderson assumed primary marketing responsibilities. Leveraging what he’d learned in his Marketing courses at the Fox School, Henderson formed a gameplan for the band that included a cohesive visual aesthetic — from selfies on social media to direction on the filming of music videos — and interacting with fans online and offline.
“Some bands hide behind social media, but we would always come out and talk to the kids,” Henderson said. “To this day I have amazing friends who I made while standing beside the merchandise table.”
Valencia released its sophomore album through Sony-owned Columbia Records, and saw the band tour with Blink 182, Boys Like Girls, All Time Low, and others while traveling to the Australia Soundwave Festival and the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan. The band ultimately went on hiatus in 2011.
Henderson has since refocused his attention to Promise of Redemption, an acoustic solo project he began as a 16-year-old. Last summer, he released a 10-inch vinyl record with seven new songs.
“I started writing and realized I had something here,” Henderson said. “It’s going to break the barrier for creating an all-acoustic side project.
“It’s a crazy industry, and you won’t always have a job, but the most important thing is to stay consistent and know what you’ll sacrifice to not push paper all day.”