Biography

 

“She’s essentially invented her own hybrid of song and spoken word, a scat style for today’s avant-garde.”
-Giovanni Russonello, The New York Times

FAY VICTOR is an improvising vocalist, composer, lyricist and educator riding all the chasms and seams of musics that are improvisational and conversational in nature.

Brooklyn, NY based sound artist/composer Fay Victor hones a unique vision for the vocal role in jazz and improvised music regarding repertoire, improvisation and composition. Victor has an ‘everything is everything’ aesthetic, using the freedom in the moment to inform the appropriate musical response, viewing the vocal instrument as full of possibilities for sound exploration, a through-line  for direct messages in an improvising context. Victor embraces all of these ideas in real time and on Victor’s 11 critically acclaimed albums as a leader one can hear the evolution of this expansive expression. 

Victor’s work has  been featured in media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Rolling Stone Magazine & The Huffington Post; Victor’s performed with luminaries such as William Parker, Roswell Rudd, Dr. Randy Weston, Nicole Mitchell, Misha Mengelberg, Myra Melford, Archie Shepp, Marc Ribot & Tyshawn Sorey to name but a few; Performance highlights include The Museum of Modern Art & The Whitney Museum of American Art (NYC), The Hammer Museum (LA), The Kolner Philharmonie (Germany), De Young Museum (SF), Symphony Space (NY), The Earshot Jazz Festival (Seattle), The Winter Jazz Festival (NYC) and the Bimhuis (Netherlands).

As a composer, Victor has been awarded prizes such as the 2017 Herb Albert/Yaddo Fellow in Music Composition, a 2018 AIR in Composition for the Headlands Center for the Arts in California and a 2020 recipient of a Jazz Coalition Commission to create during the pandemic. Victor composed ‘Sirens & Silences’, which premiered in May 2022 in Brooklyn, NY. Victor has been commissioned to write a work for voice and violin entitled ‘Breathe Them In’, premiere at the New England Conservatory in 2023, performed by Eden MacAdam-Somer.

An innovative educator, Victor is on the faculty of the College of Performing Arts at the New School where she teaches interdisciplinary practices and Vocal Performance, at the ROC Nation School for Sports, Music and Entertainment at Long Island University and continues to give talks and clinics on Jazz, creative improvisation, Composition and more at institutions around the world. Victor is a member of the International Contemporary Ensemble, Chairs an Advisory Board for the Jazz Leaders Fellowship, a new initiative for the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, and is an ex-officio Board Member of the IASJ/The International Association of Schools of Jazz.

“Ms. Victor is a singer with her own brand: She’s theatrical and extreme without being campy. Expectations about a jazz vocalist’s demeanor — that it can’t be too aggressive, or that if it’s biting it can’t also be warm — don’t mean a thing to her. And forget about continuity. Sometimes melody leads to rhythm, or an explosion or a scream. Her affects are all scrambled. In that way, her playing sounds firmly planted in the age of digital media. When she does sing even or discernible pitches, her precision is remarkable. But even more striking is how conversational and direct it feels. She’s essentially invented her own hybrid of song and spoken word, a scat style for today’s avant-garde.”
-Giovanni Russonello, The New York Times

Read the entire article here:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/28/arts/music/best-live-jazz-marquis-hill-blacktet-fay-victor-starebaby.html
 

“If you have never seen her perform live, she is joy incarnate. She scats, she wails, coos, squalls, caresses, plays with words as if writing a play on stage, and does so with a twinkle in her eye. One can hear influences ranging from Nina Simone to Frank Zappa to Bill Dixon to Jimi Hendrix in her music.
-Richard Kamins, Step Tempest

“The whole legacy of Jazz is in her voice” 
-Nicole Mitchell (noted composer and flute player), The Wall Street Journal

“Accomplished vocal modernist Fay Victor manages to deconstruct the tradition of jazz song without pretension or tedium”
Time Out New York

“Victor is at the vanguard of jazz singers…
-Signal to Noise

“Post Captain Beefheart Jazz” -Kevin Whitehead