To kick off Her Campus Point Park’s feminism week, we’re *thrilled* to share our interview with urban-alternative artist, Victory Jones! She’s 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. 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, Ne-Yo, and Salaam Remi. Here’s what she had to say in regards to her musical career, the road to finding herself, and female empowerment:
HC: Tell us about your upcoming performance at NYCs talent competition on 11/16, The Gifted Showcase:
VJ: “The Gifted Showcase is a monthly event that I was invited to guest perform in by one of the hosts after she came to one of my shows this past summer. The showcase is almost like a ‘battle of the bands’ so to speak, however it’s individual artists instead of bands competing for a cash prize at the end. Guest performers are not entered into the contest and are there merely to perform and network, adding to the array of performances throughout the evening.”
HC: Your urban alternative style of music is so unique; what is the process you go through when creating your songs?
VJ: “Usually I sit with a piece of music or with a producer and create the song on the spot. It usually starts with melodic play and then turns into a concept, which I then flesh out into lyrical content and structure from there. It’s almost like putting a puzzle together, and not knowing all the pieces and how they fit… until you’ve begun building it.”
HC: You’ve worked with some major names in the music business; who did you have the best experience(s) with?
VJ: “I would have to say Missy Elliot. It was an adventure to say the least! She taught me so much about respect, being a woman and fiercely working in this industry with a focus that’s unparalleled… all while still having fun throughout it all.”
HC: With our magazine’s theme this week being feminism, we’re very curious to hear your thoughts on the subject! Would you consider yourself a feminist?
VJ: “Absolutely! Any woman who is for herself and other women is absolutely a feminist.”
HC: How would you describe what it’s like to be a woman in the music industry?
VJ: “It’s interesting… Every artist faces adversities and steep learning curves in this business, and being a woman in a male dominated industry definitely has its challenges. But I think it’s important for any woman to know what she will and will not stand for and stand firm in that and also not be afraid to be vocal about it when necessary. Although it can be challenging, I find being a woman just in general is empowering, and that being in this industry can amplify that by giving us a platform to express ourselves and represent ourselves in a way that inspires others!”
HC: At Her Campus, we can’t help but admire strong, empowering women! What are your best tips or words of wisdom for how you’ve become one yourself?
VJ: “Just by staying true to myself. Always listening to the voice inside that guides me and always being honest with myself even when it’s uncomfortable, because being uncomfortable breeds growth and help us gain wisdom and really just live better lives and embrace who we are as women.”
HC: We can’t get enough of your new single, “Warrior.” What has shaped you into the warrior you are today?
VJ: “My experiences in this industry and dealing with the ups and downs of being an artist, finding my vice, and creating a path for myself have heavily shaped me embracing my inner strength.”
HC: What is the general reaction to such an empowering message?
VJ: “Overwhelmingly positive…You know I sat in a room and heard this music that was specifically made for me, and I closed my eyes, hit record and let the vibes and melody flow. NO words at first, just a feeling, then the words started to come and then Warriors started to take form, and I realized that I had something to say. Not just another pop song, but a message of empowerment through my journey of self-discovery. I was telling my story and telling other people not to be afraid to embrace themselves, and find the strength to live the life that they design by being their best selves. This lets me know that I’m doing something right because all I’m really doing is being true to myself, which is touching and inspiring others to do the same, and I think that’s amazing and powerful!”
HC: Looking back, what advice would you have given yourself at say, age 20?
VJ: “Don’t waste time because you can never get it back. Don’t be afraid because the fear is unreal, unwarranted and toxic. Always act from love, not fear. Know that you are worthy, and above all else, love yourself no matter what. Trust and be a friend to yourself.”