An Interview With VICTORY JONES On Her Urban Alternative Sound, Working With Missy Elliot And More!
Posted On 01 Dec 2015
Tag: A Prelude to Victory, All Access, All Access Music Group, American Idol, Artist Interview, Basements & Rooftops, Britney Spears, Chris Reeder, ColdPlay, Compound, Grammy, J. Lo, Jamaica, Kanye West, Katharine McPhee, Lorde, MIA, Michael Jackson, Missy Elliot, Ne-Yo, Pharrell, Salaam Remi, Santigold, Solange, Syience, SZA, The Beatles, Timbaland, Usher, Victory Jones, Warriors, Young Wolf Hatchlings
Meet Victory Jones! She is an American born, Jamaican bred recording artist and songwriter from New York. With a natural flair for fusing genres, specifically: urban and pop (with heavy dub influences), Victory is versatile, poetic and raw.
There’s a certain swagger in her delivery, mixed with a playful transparency, revealing her undeniable vulnerability, all while playing over percussive eclectic beats. Three-time Grammy award winning producer, Syience, likens her to a chemist, “Sonically, this girl can mix water and oil and make it seem effortless. Her (creative) process is amazing. I don’t use the word genius often, but there’s something about her…The world is missing what she’s about to give them.”
The moniker Victory Jones came about in 2009 while Victory was living in Atlanta, GA. She was in the second of two girl groups at the time and working with Ne-Yo’s Compound production camp, when things somehow fell apart and she found herself “SOL” as she calls it. No money, no job, an expired production contract and insane amounts of debt coupled with the disbanding of her group almost plunged her into a deep depression. Until, after a few months of trying to put the pieces back together, she decided that she didn’t want to be on the “losing” end of a bad situation anymore. She wouldn’t’ be another victim of circumstance. She just wanted to win… She had a Jones for Victory. And so, Victory Jones was born.
Victory’s unique voice, “can do” attitude, and tenacious work ethic have led to many collaborations with sought after, well-known industry heavyweights, Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Usher, Britney Spears, Katherine McPhee (American Idol), Ne-Yo, and Salaam Remi.
Her album, “Basements & Rooftops”, is the first step towards a movement which she hopes will garner as much success for her as it has for those she respects and admires in the industry. Victory calls this debut collection “urban alternative” because of its culture bending and blending of sounds, with an urban edge. Her ongoing collaborations with producer/artists Chris Reeder, Syience, and the Young Wolf Hatchlings have influenced the tone of this album. Inspired by her wild relationship with the music industry, “Basements & Rooftops” is a metaphor for the highs and lows of life, representing Victory’s take on the social scene in the concrete jungle of NYC, where some of “the City’s” best parties are often held in basements and on rooftops.
To get fans ready she’ll be releasing a prequel EP entitled “A Prelude to Victory” in the coming weeks. Keep up with Victory online to hear the exclusive new content she’ll be unveiling soon!
Until then, learn more about Jones in the following All Access interview:
So, what’s a typical day look like for you lately?
Well, It depends on the day really! Usually I wake up, have a little quiet, reflective gratitude time, have a glass of water, walk the dog, then come back have some tea or coffee and check emails, and head to yoga. When I come back I have lunch, and I usually check a couple music blogs, my social media and connect with a few people who I regularly work with, and do some promo, to put out “feelers” based on what I have going on project wise (singles, videos etc).
After I get dressed… vocal exercises and sing or listen to music from other artists. Then listen through music in my folders and write if I’m not out shooting and creating new content for my website or social media. At some point, I break for dinner and spend some time with the huz, who is also my musical director. Then I make a to do list for the next day and record at night if I can or listen to more music until I wind down. However I also go to auditions, shows, meetings or network events too, depending on the day. And rehearsal is also part of the day when I have an upcoming show. So again, it really varies.
Growing up, did you always want to be a performer? Was your family always supportive of you?
I always had an artistic flair. I was in choir, school plays, I painted, sketched, made pottery, attended dance class, wrote poetry… so yeah. I think I was born with the bug! My parents were supportive of me expressing myself creatively, BUT being an artist as a viable career option was not something that was endorsed in my household. You went to school, you learned, and you figured out what you want to do with your life and you got a job. Art was something that was a hobby or extracurricular. Not something that I was ever pushed towards as a professional career until later when I made a conscious decision to do so… However, once I did that, my parents were and still are VERY supportive. They did the best they could, begin brought up in a very old school world, with a different mentality.
How do you think your Jamaican heritage has influenced your sound and overall style?
You can definitely hear my cultural roots in my sound. Both of my parents and whole family on both sides are Jamaican, I am part of the first generation on both sides to be born in the U.S…. so its was always like I had one foot in and one foot out. Yes I am American, But the Jamaican culture was dominant in my household and so obviously we listened to a lot of Jamaican music, which resonated very deeply with me, as I would learn later. I mean, we listened to ALL types of music, literally, but growing up in a house with parents who spoke patois and imparted their culture and values onto me, definitely had an impact. The same way J.Lo’s Puerto Rican heritage has influenced who she is, her music, and her brand.
Can you describe your style of music? What exactly is your “urban alternative” sound?
There are many different types of Urban Alternative music, however, my style specifically is more urban electro pop with a dub and hip-hop influence.
You’ve collaborated with a ton of incredible artists. What collaborations really stick out to you the most and why?
Working with Missy Elliott was the most impactful. She taught me a lot about respect, and being a woman in this business. Holding your ground, doing the work, and not taking any shortcuts… while never letting anything deter you from bringing your vision to life. Like when we recorded, there was no “auto tune” allowed, you keep singing and practicing until you hit those notes and then you delivered like you meant it, THEN and only then, moved onto the next thing! Her work ethic is relentless as is mine, and she really helped me to see that anything is possible.
When do you hope to release your debut solo album, “Basements & Rooftops”?
I’m still in production, so next year, God willing.
Where do you get the inspiration for your music? Has that continued to change through the years?
The inspiration for my music comes from life experiences, other art and just my imagination. The only thing I would say that’s changed is how much other art and artist have had an impact on me. Over the years I’ve grown even more and more inspired by the work and passion of other artists of all likes… and I think it’s beautiful, electric and awesome!
What artists have consistently inspired you? Who would you love to work with in the future?
Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Kanye, MIA, Santigold, Lorde, Pharrell, Sza, Solange, Coldplay… I’d love to work with all of them actually (except MJ and the Beatles of course, for obvious reasons).
Can you talk about the inspiration for your newest single “Warriors”? How creatively involved were you for the video for the song?
The inspiration for that record was the story of how I became the woman and artist I am today. About not being a victim of circumstance and telling my story, which is actually a more universal story that everyone can relate to about embracing your inner strength and resolving to create the life that you desire, while inspiring others to do the same… whatever that may mean to them. It’s taking the personal, and making it universal and anthemic so people will remember that they CAN do anything they put their minds to! Creatively I am VERY hands-on with everything involving my projects. From the way the drums sound, to attending all my mix sessions to how the dancers hair and makeup should be in my video! I spearhead the creative direction with just about everything. I’m a super detail oriented person too, which can be an annoyance sometimes, because I’m very specific in my vision and I am pretty much relentless until I can bring my vision to life. But I make sure to surround myself with the right people who can work side by side with me until we do so. Every single time. And it’s really fulfilling.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
I hope people are inspired and moved. My goal is to create an experience for the listener in which he/she can feel better than he/she did before they listened to one of my songs or watched one of my videos. I am here to enhance the vibrational energies and make things better… To affect positive change in a creative way… to change the molecules in the room, one song at a time!