Vicktor Taiwò is an East London-based R&B/Soul singer from Nigeria. Not too long ago, he talked about his introspective debut album, entitled, “Joy Comes in Spirit”.
Why did you start creating music?
Vicktor Taiwò: I’m pretty sure I started making music out of self-hatred. Believing that music or making art had the ability to give me intrinsic human value.
I thought if I could be better at this than everyone else then maybe I would finally be worth something. It’s good to be wrong.
What’s your life like?
VT: I’ve lived most of my life behind my skin, behind my mind, behind what I feel. Because I didn’t think the way I thought or the things I felt were acceptable. Subconsciously feeling that to be entirely myself, was a reality I could not exist inside of.
I hated how I spoke, how differently I thought. Hated being physically different. Hated being darker than everyone else.
Embarrassed about growing up poor. Embarrassed about being a foreigner. Embarrassed about the neighborhood I lived in. Embarrassed about having a terrible relationship with my father. Embarrassed about my sexual abuse.
How did that make you feel?
VT: To me, these felt like a weakness or a fault in me. And I couldn’t share the parts of me connected to those feelings with other people because I feared judgment. Or feared it being used against me.
But the inability to exist as yourself is an insidious poison, that rots you completely from the inside while also creating a hardened shell around you that becomes its own prison.
Describe how music helped you heal.
VT: Without really knowing it, what I had stumbled on when I started to make music, was an avenue to begin to soften and to heal. A sacred environment where I could begin to shed skin and pour out.
It’s a journey that brought me here, renting a studio for four months. In near isolation, in a vacuum where the only things strong enough not to be crushed were ideas too powerful, too visceral, too true to be corrupted or destroyed.
“No managers around, no A&R’s. No worrying about what will playlist, what will chart, what will publish well.”
Ex-communicating anybody that would give advice contrary to this prime directive of being myself. Of walking towards my spirit’s core, and being doused in the nature of my own existence.
Let’s talk about space.
VT: To finally have a space where I could expose myself to myself. Where I didn’t have to second guess myself, where my instincts were okay. Where what I believed was worth believing in because I believed in it.
A space where whatever world I created was beautiful just for the mere fact that it didn’t exist before I created it.
Not worrying about being understood, but only expressing. Only throwing up and releasing a current lifetime worth of fear and depression and anxiety – making a record of whatever the result.
What happened when you exposed you to you?
VT: It’s in that space where for the first time I could begin to lay down heavy armor. That is where these songs, these auditory paintings, come from.
It’s in that space where I began to understand what intrinsic human value was. To be valuable just for the sake of existing. To be seen as valid because nothing like you existed before you came to be. That is worth something. Something tangible.
Who are you?
VT: I’m an artist. And artists are people that are compelled to share truth. To offer perspective from a lens of self-determined discovery.
Truth isn’t always a call to action, it doesn’t necessarily ask you to do or be anything. It’s a mode of operation or perceivable element that exists entirely on its own periodic chart.
So being exposed to it, sometimes is enough. You change just by the mere fact that you come in contact with it.
This album is very dear to you.
VT: Like water being exposed to air over time, changing states from liquid into vapor. The songs, the words, the melodies in this album, they all matter to me because they represent the real-time outworking of my own trauma, pain, and discovery of joy and peace.
Vicktor Taiwò – “Joy Comes in Spirit”
But there is a life inside this record equally important to all of the above, which is also trying to be communicated. It’s almost like how listening to a song in a foreign language doesn’t hinder you from absorbing what the song is communicating.
In listening closely as I expose myself to myself, that is where the art is. Maybe every time we have the courage to unabashedly be true in ourselves, the courage to do the same is received by someone else.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
VT: I ask that you pray for me, so that I can continue to live on the surface, not only in private while making art, but also in public while living life visibly.
Also that as I continue on this journey with myself, that I can communicate who this old yet new person I have found is. A little better each time, with more clarity each time.