Ahead of his debut album, Victony continues to rise to greater heights
A prodigious talent reaching across eras to make timeless music
A prodigious talent reaching across eras to make timeless music
In Nigeria’s burgeoning Afropop scene, Victony is one of the newer acts consolidating on the exploits of the veterans whilst laying the foundation for the sonic iterations of the genre for the future. He has curated a heady brew of Afrobeats, Hip-Hop and R&B, spiced with wit and candour about his experiences as a young Nigerian battling the vicissitudes of life. While 2021 proved to be a turbulent year for the rising star, he has maintained a zest that has added colour and ingenuity to his music, further raising his stock as one of Nigerian music’s leading lights.
Born Anthony Ebuka Victor, Victony got an early start in the music scene as a rapper, dropping freestyles and mixes. Inspired by Kendrick Lamar and Drake, Victony released a rap mixtape on SoundCloud; it featured covers of Nigerian and international hits including Burna Boy’s “On The Low,” Tems’ “Try Me,” Kendrick Lamar’s “DNA,” and Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow.” He followed that with the singles “Menace,” “2mins in Space” and “S.M.S (Sing My Song)” with Zichy. Admittedly, “S.M.S (Sing My Song)” bore Hip-Hop elements but it was an early sign of Victony’s experimentation with Afropop-inclined melodies. At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria and around the world, Victony put out the 2020 EP ‘Saturn,’ a display of his workings with Afrobeats.
Its title, ‘Saturn’ was an allusion to Victony’s ability to transport listeners with his music to different dimensions. While Victony found new Afropop delights with “More,” the Falz-assisted “Maria,” “Fasta” and “Jó Riddim,” he retained his love for rap with “Space & Time” and “87 Club.” Overall, the project was marinated in elements associated with Emo rap: moody, melancholic productions felt otherworldly. ‘Saturn’ was also our first encounter with Victony’s planetary alter ego Tredax. Throughout this period, Victony managed his music side by side with his academics as a student of the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO).
On April 26, 2021, days after he dropped the single “Broken” and appeared on Hoodini’s “Euphoria,” tragedy knocked at Victony’s door. He and his friends were involved in a car crash, which left them severely injured and claimed the life of one of them. Victony, hospitalized, needed surgery. Prayers poured in from both fans and fellow artists. After surviving the crash, Victony’s only aid for movement was a wheelchair. In an incredible show of faith, Victony continued to make music, refusing to let the unfortunate situation keep him away from his passion. A few months after the accident, the two-track EP ‘Dark Times’ was born.
‘Dark Times’ was equal parts Victony’s place for mourning and a yearning for brighter days. He purged his emotions on “Pray,” shifting from feelings of grief to gratitude for the abundant love from family, friends and fans. On “Unfamiliar Realms,” he paints a picture of anguish, singing, “Don’t know myself/Another realm inside my head/Can’t tell me hell is not my residence/The devil’s here and then he plays with my intelligence.” ‘Dark Times’ garnered overwhelming positive reception and steered Victony onto the path of glory. He would go on to appear in other songs such as Savage’s “Rosemary,” Krizbeatz’s “Time & Place” with Terri, Mayorkun’s “Holy Father” and the two-song pack ‘Nataraja’ with Rexxie. “Holy Father” was the game changer, though; powered by his striking falsetto, Victony’s chorus fired the song into the minds and hearts of music listeners around the globe.
On Christmas Day of 2021, at Davido’s “A Decade of Davido” concert, Victony rose to his feet with the aid of Davido and Mayorkun to perform “Holy Father” to the loud cheers of the audience. That act, aside from showing that Victony’s recovery was accelerating, was a sign that Victony was being welcomed into the class of elite Nigerian music stars, courtesy—and strictly—of his prowess. Victony’s 2022 began on an excellent note: he featured on DJ Boat’s “Old School Love” and released the P.Priime-produced thumper “Apollo” and the contemplative tune “Kolomental”—all culminating in the brilliant ‘Outlaw’ EP. He also made an appearance on A Colors Show to perform the track “Many Man.” ‘Outlaw’ is Victony’s finest moment yet; on the project, he has a firm grip on his stylistics, gliding across a colourful range of production choices to euphoric results. From the EP, “Soweto,” with music producer Tempoe, would transform Victony into a bonafide star.
Tempoe is one of Nigeria’s current hitmakers. With “Soweto,” he added to his catalogue of chart-topping records, dating from CKay’s “Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah Ah)” to Omah Lay’s “Understand” to Joeboy’s “Sip (Alcohol).” The rhythms of Victony’s “Soweto” are as addictive as the elements that make them up: mid-tempo drums, percussion and flute melody. The song soared through music charts around the world, soundtracking parties and becoming a staple on TikTok. “We just caught a vibe and it just happened. It was not an intense session,” Victony told The Fader. “…it’s kind of like a learning experience for me to just try our new stuff because you never know what people would like.” “Soweto” has birthed African and international remixes with the likes of Rema, Omah Lay and Don Toliver hopping on the track.
Visually, Victony has adopted a more polished look, preferring retro-styled clothing that breathes class. It’s an intentionality that has always been present in all his creative processes. Nowhere does he make clear his latest trajectory than through the snippets he’s been sharing on social media for his forthcoming music. Snippets have become an effective marketing tool in contemporary Afropop and Victony, in preparation for what he has termed “Ebele Music,” has used them to capture the attention of his fans.
— VICTONY (@vict0ny) June 19, 2023
He recently tweeted the names of Ebenezer Obey, Bright Chimezie, King Sunny Ade, Patty Obassey and Oliver De Coque, bookmarked by “LEGENDS NEVER DIE.” It is a perfect summation of the sound Victony has been teasing. The production is an intriguing collage of Highlife, Juju and Gospel music. The snippets also feature music acts Blaqbonez and ODUMODUBLVCK as well as online comedians Nasboi, Shank and Broda Shaggi. The forthcoming tracks “Angelus” and “My Darling” signal a new creative direction for Victony that is bound to yield dividends. The sound is instantly refreshing and harkens to the music of previous, time-tested generations. With these songs, Victony is serving as a conduit between the past and present to foretell the future.
Elsewhere, Victony’s global appeal received a further boost after he featured on Burna Boy’s Grammy-nominated album ‘Love, Damini.’ Since then, he has appeared on the remix of South African act Musa Keys’ “Selema (Po Po)” and UK-born act JayO’s “XO.” Coupled with the consistent rise of “Soweto” and the genre-merging attributes of his forthcoming music, Victony is staking his place to become one of the revered Afropop stars on the continent. Where once lived pain and grief, Victony has found beauty and strength, skyrocketing him to greater heights.