Biography

Photo by Kyra Kverno…at home, BK, NY

 

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 (USA) based sound artist/composer Fay Victor hones a unique vision for the vocalist’s role in jazz and improvised music. Victor encompasses a distinctive vocalizing, language and performing approach with the foundation of the jazz vocal idiom, now encompassing an “everything is everything” aesthetic bringing in references that span the globe. Victor sees the vocal instrument in itself as full of possibilities of sound exploration, the voice a direct and powerful conduit for language and messages in an improvising context. All of these ideas aim to push the vocal envelope to forge greater expressive possibilities. In Victor’s 9 critically acclaimed albums as a leader one can hear the through line of expansive expression leading up to Victor’s most recent release, Wet Robots (ESP Disk, July 2018) with her SoundNoiseFUNK project (See PRESS here) that landed in the #4 slot (in a tie with Kurt Elling) on NPR’s Annual Jazz Critics Poll for 2018.
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, TimeOut New York & The Huffington Post; has worked with luminaries such as William Parker, Roswell Rudd, Nicole Mitchell, Archie Shepp, Marc Ribot & Tyshawn Sorey to name but a few; highlights of her performances include The Museum of Modern Art (NYC), The Hammer Museum (LA), The Kolner Philharmonie (Germany), De Young Museum (SF), Symphony Space (NY), The Earshot Jazz Festival, The Winter Jazz Festival and the Bimhuis (Netherlands). Victor was the 2017 Herb Albert/Yaddo Fellow in Music Composition. Current releases include Nicole Mitchell’s Maroon Cloud (FPE Records, August 2018) and Marc Ribot’s Songs of Resistance (September 2018) featuring Victor as well as guests vocalists Tom Waits, Steve Earle and Meshell Ndegeocello amongst others. Victor is currently on the Faculty at the New School of Jazz & Contemporary Music and runs a private teaching practice that includes courses on Creative Improvisation, Songwriting for Improvisors and private lessons for the serious vocal student and improvisor. Learn more about Victor’s teaching practice and focus HERE.
*See more press regarding current projects here

“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”
TimeOut New York

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

“Post Captain Beefheart Jazz”-Kevin Whitehead