WORDS BY LESIBA MANKGA
PHOTOGRAPHY BY TSE
Many a time in life, you’ll hear the phrase “live life on your terms” or “there are many ways to skin a cat”, but very few times do people actually mean it… There will always be someone to tell you that you won’t make it, or that you can’t do things your way. Those people are usually the marginalised members of society, solely based on the fact that they want to travel the road less travelled.
But those who dare to evolve into the truest form of themselves are considered the outlaws or the ‘rule breakers’ who choose not to conform to the mundane routine of life. Who amongst the new generations of artists can lead the way as a trailblazer? Who will carry the torch? Who will stake their claim as the new leader of the sound?
Nigerian-born singer, songwriter, and rapper Victony (real name Anthony Ebuka Victor) has currently emerged as one of the most protrusive artists to keep your eyes on within the African diaspora. He is the head of the “Outlaw” family. A family where all are welcomed and their differences are celebrated. Through his music, those who dare to stand out have a voice to speak their truth and be the most unapologetic version of themselves so please help me welcome Victony..
So, you mentioned Drake and Kendrick Lamar as influences. What is your favourite album by each artist and why?
That’s a tough one! My favourite Kendrick Lamar album would have to be between good kid, m.A.A.d city and DAMN., and for Drake, it would have to be Views.
What is your fascination with space?
You feel like you’re being transported to a new world when you listen to my music… A world with no rules. These are the things I imagine when I create my music. Space is the best visual representation of the concept of living on your own terms. That is my ethos in life and that is why I have the space theme on my covers. When I made the decision to start singing, people thought it wouldn’t work out, but it did. I told myself that there aren’t any rules that I have to follow in my life. I can just do what feels right to me.
In the song ‘Outlaw’ you say, “Lonely ass boy so me, issa favourite pronoun”. What are some of the challenges that come with living as an outlaw?
As an outlaw, it isn’t easy for people to see your vision. It gets lonely sometimes because you’re the only person that sees the value of your dreams. It’s natural for a person to look to others for validation, but when you make the decision to stop caring, that is when you become an outlaw, and that’s where the line came from. I feel like I’m the only one that understands the true meaning of living like an outlaw. I don’t follow the ‘rules’ that artists have to follow. I create what feels right to me at the time and I stay true to that.
I want people to remember that there are no rules to life. You can live your life on your terms.
What is the first memory you have of being an “outlaw”?
My first memory of being an outlaw was during my first year at University. I express myself in many ways, not just through music. I have my own sense of style and it can be tough for people to accept that I’m different… When I walked around my building, I could feel people looking at me and making comments because I dressed differently from everyone else. It was tough for me. It was tough to wake up and see the same faces every day, but that is part of being an outlaw. Those experiences shaped my character.
You make very emotive and genre-fluid music. How did the Nigerian audience receive this sound?
My music has been well received by my fans at large. They have been really supportive of my transition from a rapper to a singer. I think the reason for that is the relatability of my music. The people who enjoy my music feel like I speak for them. My fans are everyday people who go through everyday emotions and my music speaks to that. As much as we love Afrobeat in Nigeria, we are normal people who go through things and sometimes you need music that will speak to what you are going through at the time.
When I made the decision to start singing, people thought it wouldn’t work out, but it did. I told myself that there aren’t any rules that I have to follow in my life.
On ‘Chop & Slide’ you are the one looking for love and on “All Power”, You are the one looking for something physical. How do you navigate love and relationships as an artist?
As an artist, I’m so in sync with myself that I don’t really think about love from that perspective. If I find love, then I’ve found love as a person, not as an artist. I think of myself as a storyteller. When I hear certain beats, I imagine storylines that fit the mood of the beat. The songs I write about are a combination of real relationships I see around me and stories that come to me as I’m writing.
How intentional were you with the tracklisting of the album?
I was very intentional with how I put the album together. I curated the tracklist to my liking. I started the album with “Outlaw” because I felt as though it was the best introduction to the album. It speaks to the message behind the album. Secondly, I wanted a song that would allow my songwriting to shine through and “Outlaw” was the perfect song to achieve that. As you listen to the album, I wanted it to become progressively more intense… The reason for that was to show my mastery of the Afrobeat genre.
I feel like I’m the only one that understands the true meaning of living like an outlaw.
‘Kolomental’ is one of my favourite songs. Let me into the making of ‘Kolomental’ and why you chose to have a video for it?
“Kolomental” is a beautiful song and it’s very personal. When I wrote the song, I was in a dark space. I remember around the time I wrote it, I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I wanted to be numb because feelings can become overwhelming. If you listen to the song you’ll find that it’s about not wanting to feel anything.
After listening to this album, what do you want people to take away?
I want people to remember that there are no rules to life. You can live your life on your terms. I started off as a rapper but now I am creating something completely different. I want people to look at my story and be inspired by it. Focus on sharpening your craft and follow your purpose. Live your life the way it makes you happy. Don’t worry about whether or not people will accept it.
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