ARTIST FEATURE: Fay Victor from ‘Overcome’

We are a little over a week into our Bandcamp campaign to put Overcome on vinyl, and we’re starting a series to highlight all the great artists involved in the project.

First up is Fay Victor, a sound artist/composer who has a unique vision for the vocalist’s role in jazz and improvised music. With a distinctive approach to vocalizing, language, and performance, she pushes the envelope of expressive possibilities.  She has more than ten critically acclaimed albums as a leader and she continues to collaborate with a variety of creative artists. In making the Overcome album remotely, Dave Douglas had this to say: “Fay is deep. She dove so far into this music it was completely transformed by her spirit and her sound. She brought her whole soul and took this music into the realm of the invisible.”

We reached out to Fay via email with some questions about the project and her other musical activities:

What are the projects most dear to you during this time of separation? Any special musical experiences you’ve encountered?

The project that has been dearest is a solo project I started called Black is Beautiful as a counter narrative to the constant news items of black bodies being killed. This project started after the murder of George Floyd and was my main artistic response to the crime and the unrest that followed. I also composed an all instrumental piece entitled Sirens and Silences, commissioned from the Jazz Coalition. This piece encapsulates the moments when NYC was the epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic and the sonic experience of living through that. I also released an album called We’ve Had Enough with my improving quartet SoundNoiseFUNK in October 2020 on the ESP-Disk Label – again a response to these times even though the album was recorded in October 2019. The other special musical moment was recording Overcome remotely. Certainly a first and a welcome project to connect with other musicians in a tine when we were all working solo.  This was truly special.

What adaptations did you have to make to record yourself?

Not too much since I already had a recording set up at home. I did need to buy a DAW (digital audio workstation) and get accustomed to using it and Overcome was the first project!

What contributions do music and the arts make to your life and to the life of our culture and society?

It’s foundational to my life as a human. I couldn’t imagine a life without a connection to creativity. To my own and to others.

Does the unity of purpose we felt in making Overcome during a time of widespread social justice movements and a crucial election carry on in this new period of transition?

Sure it does. Working on Overcome was this great thread of connection, a way to show that no matter what, we’ll find a way to create together. How wonderful of Dave to have that trust – certainly in me since we hadn’t worked together – to allow us to make this magic happen!

What is your latest project either in development or recently emerged?

I just began a duo collaboration with bassoonist Rebekah Heller, which is deeply inspiring and I’m writing music for a fresh project and performance on the Vision Festival with legends Nicole Mitchell and Jamaaladeen Tacuma.

Support the campaign for the Overcome LP here. And check out Fay’s 2019 podcast interview with Dave Douglas here.