Cypher Sessions interviews Heather Victoria

By Daniel Paiz

When you think about Jamla Records, you might think about legendary producer 9th Wonder, or Rapsody, or one of the many producers. If you’re paying attention to the label, though, then you know Heather Victoria is a staple of this label and a singer that hits you different. Cypher Sessions has the pleasure of having an email interview with Heather Victoria; it was definitely good to speak with someone consistently working and honing in on her craft.

Before jumping into the interview, let’s give a bit of perspective first. Just in case, for some reason, you are new to this artist. Heather Victoria’s catalog is impressive. In addition to four studio albums, she’s worked with some noteable artists. From Skyzoo, Big K.R.I.T and Rapsody to Raheem Devaughn and Smif N Wessun, she’s put in work.

Without further delay, let’s learn a bit about the “songbird of Jamla” Heather Victoria in her own words.

Heather Victoria’s creative origins

Cypher Sessions (CS): Can you recall that moment when you first started writing lyrics and music?

Heather Victoria (HV): I first started writing poems in 6th grade, age 11. By age 14, I started writing songs. 

CS: That’s awesome, so you started fairly young. So what inspires you to create and to write?

HV: Life experiences, the ups and downs. Traveling. Meeting people and learning about their stories, and stories from elders. 

CS: Totally makes sense. So, to dig deeper into that writing process, how do you put together songs, where do you start?

HV: It depends! (Smiles) Usually I will come up with a melody first, humming whatever comes to me. Whatever I feel naturally.

Then I’ll make a voice note of that. Following that I’ll put lyrics to it depending on whatever context I decide fits my vibe at the moment. 

Sometimes the lyrics come first! 

CS: Ok, cool. The mood at the moment sounds like it’s pretty important to creating and writing. To dig even deeper from another perspective, who have been your biggest writing and musical influences?

HV: My mother, Gigi Ritchey was my first and biggest influence. She is a powerhouse vocalist and entertainer. She walked away from entertainment to become a full time single mom. I honor her so much!!! 

Aside from my mother, I would say greats like the queens Anita Baker, Beyoncé, Miss Jill Scott, Erykah BADU, Tamia, and Monica come to my mind.  

CS: That’s one of the toughest jobs in the world, BIG salute to your mom. Those are all some giants in the music world as well. Transitioning a bit to your career, your music over the past ten years has grown; how do you feel like you’ve grown since your NCCU days?

HV: I’ve grown as an artist and as a woman. 

Experience and time have blessed me with the opportunity to learn and understand the music industry better. To have grown with it is humbling and I’m just really looking forward to continued growth in the future. 

Finding out what’s to come

CS: Kind of being relentless here with the career path (laughs). So what is your planned career trajectory, and what kinds of projects are you working on in order to speak that into existence?

HV: Right now I’m working on the next record/album (grins).

My planned career trajectory is to continue to grow as an artist, to continue in releasing music projects with my team, to grow in perfecting my craft and in producing complete and classic material. Within the next decade, I would like to also pursue acting.

CS: Well that sounds good to us, we’ll be sure to check for all of it. So the elephant in the live music world: COVID. With COVID-19 changing the entire concert and live music landscape, what do you think you’ll have to do differently to reach your career goals?

HV: I still think that it may be too early to say. 

I am hoping that by next year things can start to get back to how they were. I am not doing things too much differently than before. 

I have just been writing, recording and staying focused on producing the next project. Strategizing diligently to make the next even greater than the last. What I have done differently immediately is to have started saving more money, and to potentially prepare an extended amount of time without the ability to do shows. 

CS: Strategizing is the key for sure, this is all wild. With the time we have now due to COVID, outside of music what recharges you and helps you to center yourself?

HV: I have been enjoying the little things! spending time with small groups of family and friends occasionally, outdoor running, and lots of cooking at home! 

CS: If you ever need a taste tester (raises hands). For all of the people just getting going creatively, what advice do you have for aspiring musicians and writers?

HV: My advice is to stay true to who you are, and to allow yourself time and space to grow. 

Staying focused and working on your craft regularly is key. 

CS:  Growth and work. So important! Thank you for that. Before wrapping this up, any promo you’d like to mention, along with your social channel stuff you can drop here?

HV: My latest project “Boutique Hotel” is available now for purchase and is streaming on all platforms. Please be sure to follow me on socials! 

IG – @heather__victoria

Twitter – @jamlaheatherv

Facebook – Heather Victoria 

Thanks again for the interview!

Peace and love, HV.

As quickly as it starts, the interview with Heather Victoria has come to a close. Jamla’s songbird has been working hard and doing the creative work necessary to be a consistent and successful artist. There are a lot of gems in this interview that everyone across all mediums can learn from.

HV stated it just above this section, but make sure you go follow her social channels and check out her music! It’ll honestly brighten your day. With that being said, thank you for checking out our interview with Heather Victoria! If you enjoyed it, share it with your people, and make sure to check out the wide range of topics that we’re covering on Cypher Sessions. Until next time, thanks for reading.

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