“Beyond the Blues,” a conversation with Adia Victoria

“Beyond the Blues,” a conversation with Adia Victoria

Adia Victoria

2.15.2017

Adia Victoria

Adia Victoria is a Nashville-based blues artist, who is establishing a fresh reference point on the musical landscape by incorporating elements of rock, afro punk and country into her music. Rolling Stone Magazine featured Adia Victoria as one of “10 New Artists You Need to Know.” The Village Voice called her an “eerie, intriguing songwriter,” with “bone chilling guitar riffs and lyrics topped with candid scorn. Vogue highlighted the recording artist as one of “5 Beauties Who Answer to Afropunk’s Rebellious Call.” She spent the last few years writing, recording, touring and performing, while entrenched in the infamous artist R&R world – restaurants and retail work. Day jobs at a laundry list of Nashville “it” and not so “it” spots gave the musician lots of people watching time as well as the mental and emotional space to marinate in her art. Adia Victoria's latest album is called Beyond the Bloodhouse.

Publications like American Songwriter, Rookie, and NPR are taking notice. Now on the brink of her 30s, fluent in the language of her own self, Adia Victoria stands poised to take her place in a line of true artists. Her mother warned that she feels too much and would be torn up by the world. Adia will tell you that proved to be true. “I’ve felt shredded, but I’m now blessed to embrace the intense feelings as part of my job. That’s what I do. It’s my bread and butter. My art depends on me feeling and experiencing. I show up, live, and come back and say, oooooh Honey, it was like this...”

In December, the Oxford American magazine devoted its acclaimed annual Southern Music Issue & CD entirely to the genre of the blues. For the face of its “Visions of the Blues” issue, the magazine released multiple covers, celebrating three generations of blues masters: John Lee Hooker, Bonnie Raitt, and Adia Victoria. Victoria might not be a household name (yet), but give one listen to her 2016 debut album, Beyond the Bloodhounds, and you’ll understand why the Oxford American hails her as the future of the blues. A collection of scorching blues-inflected rock songs steeped in her personal experience as a Southern black woman, the album hinges on the vengeful single “Stuck in the South,” on which she sings: “I don’t know nothin’ ’bout Southern belles / But I can tell you something ’bout Southern hell.” Victoria was raised in Spartanburg, South Carolina, in a strict Seventh Day Adventist atmosphere. She later moved through New York, Atlanta, and Paris, before landing in Nashville. “I wrote this album as a memorial to my 20s,” she says of Bloodhounds. “Those are tender years for a lot of women. It hurts. You get busted up in love and life. You make a lot of mistakes. You meet a lot of people who do you dirty because you don’t understand your value yet.”

*In Partnership with Oxford American