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  • Montag, 2. Dezember 2024
  • Astra Kulturhaus
  • 19:00
  • 20:00

Veranstalter: Trinity Music

“I feel like I’m a creative in its most raw form.” Born in Uganda, raised in Newcastle and now... mehr


“I feel like I’m a creative in its most raw form.”
Born in Uganda, raised in Newcastle and now residing in London, 24-year-old Victor Ray got his start as a musician the hard way: busking. An often thankless task that can be the making (or breaking) of an artist’s resilience and character—in Victor’s case, it was the former. A baptism of fire, so to speak, singing his heart out on the cold streets of the North East forced him to learn patience and showmanship, how to win even the frostiest crowd over and make them care.
It also gave Victor the opportunity to strengthen his vocal chords—essential for making yourself heard above the constant noise of a city street. “I feel like I have something to say and something to prove, so I just do anything that I can to show people that I tell real stories with my writing. I’m very passionate about that.”
All of these tools, combined with a knack for making a big impression quickly (also honed performing on the streets) have also turned out to be incredibly effective at growing an audience on socials, where he’s amassed a staggering 4 million followers and over a billion combined views but even with all of that hard data, he’s far from complacent. Coming from a working-class background, raised by an immigrant single mother, for a long time Victor felt as if he had something to prove to the world. Nowadays, he feels as if he’s over that, having earned his stripes (and fans) the hard way. But, he says, he still has something to prove to himself: “Once I started performing, it’s like I put on this face of, ‘No, I am now an artist and anyone that talks to me will
know this.’ I kind of led every conversation with it, trying to convince myself, but then people would start supporting me, and everyone’s now starting to champion me and it’s like: okay, I’ve convinced everybody of this thing, and now it’s like I have to prove it to myself.”
Musically, Victor has absorbed the singer-songwriter tradition that has always been ingrained in Newcastle’s live music scene, alongside the two leading and most apparent influences of R&B and pop (with an edge of hip-hop in his delivery). Beyond that, his tastes are eclectic to say the least (Abba’s “Dancing Queen” is a “big riddim” he says). He also cites a lot of music from Kenya and Uganda as influential, but also Donnie Hathaway, J. Cole, and Usher. In fact, it was Usher, whose last name is Raymond, that partly inspired Victor’s stage name. All of those strands ultimately come together perfectly and rather than describe it as a take on R&B or something hip-hop-influenced, he would rather see it as simply ‘pop music’.
He’s also keen to add Ed Sheeran to that list because, he says, “I always saw him playing the guitar and performing, and it always shook me that he could play these massive rooms with just the guitar. I was like, ‘Rah! Okay.’ That’s probably why I even started loving the guitar even more, because I didn’t think it could take you that far.” Having cut his teeth performing on the streets, this year has seen Victor focus more on recording music. He released his first EP, i was, in February 2023 followed by a second, i felt, which arrived in September. However, he promises, he’s sitting on much, much more music. “It’s funny, because I’ve written hundreds and hundreds of songs, but obviously there’s only, like, eight that are currently out in the world.”
That small handful of songs isn’t anything to sniff at either. Victor Ray is on the cusp of something massive and it’s palpable. His next single, “Comfortable”, quickly went viral after he previewed a clip on Instagram, within a week boosting his list of followers by a cool 250,000. Determined to make the most out of this momentum, Victor Ray is heading on a rapidly selling-out European tour in the first half of 2024 (that’ll make two sold-out European tours, it’s worth adding). Although he’s touching down in Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Paris and LA he hasn’t forgotten the UK. There are a few London dates on the docket, although tickets are expected to sell out sooner rather than later.

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