By Will Keffler
Last Thursday as the sun set behind the B&O Station and the train traffic ceased, Adia Victoria quietly took the outdoor stage, but she wouldn’t stay quiet for long. She came armed with her band from Nashville and her southern roots to deliver a different style not often heard in Youngstown.
With a fusion of blues, rock, afro-rock and country, it’s a difficult task to describe her genre of music. Her band calls it “back-porch-blues-swamp-cat-lady-howlin’-at-the-moon,” but she describes it simply as, “just me.”
Equipped with their unique style, Victoria and her band has spent the last few weeks touring Ohio and the East Coast promoting her debut album, “Beyond the Bloodhounds,” which she wrote based on the trials and tribulations of her 20s.
For Victoria, music was always important to her, but her first love was the art of poetry. Long before she ever started making music, she began writing poems as a release for the stresses in her life. This artistic coping mechanism was her way of dealing with the various changes she dealt with daily and her way of making peace with the past. Eventually, her love for poetry branched off into songwriting, but her inspiration remained the same.
“Over the course of my 20s, I had gone through quite a lot. I moved around, met a lot of new people and got in a lot of trouble,” Victoria said. “For me, it felt like a natural thing to use those experiences and create art out of them. It was a way for me to make peace with that decade of my life.”
Soon after finishing their busy East Coast tour, Victoria and her band are set to tour Europe in late October, but that won’t stop them from heading back to their home base of Nashville for a few days of rest.
Although Victoria is from South Carolina, she fell in love with Nashville in 2010, because she could live anonymously and refine her newfound craft of music in the city that has music running through its veins.
“Nashville gave me the chance to confront a lot of my irrational fears around performing,” Victoria said. “Before that, I was playing for myself or family, but it’s completely different to go out into the world and perform for people who don’t give a damn about you and see how they react. It didn’t give me my confidence, but it gave me the experience that I was then able to have confidence in.”
After gaining the experience, performing became a release for Victoria just as she used poems and songwriting in the past.
“[Performing] allows me to tell my story in a way that I’m not able to do in my day to day life,” Victoria said. “It allows me to acknowledge parts of myself that I sometimes feel I need to shut away to be normal. When I’m performing, I can get in touch with all these different parts of myself, and it’s incredibly liberating.”