In May 2022, Nigerian rising star Victony released Outlaw, a 7-track opus demonstrating the raw talent and versatility of the now 22-year-old singer, with focus singles like the Amapiano-infused “Apollo” and the slow afro hit “Kolomental”. But the sweet guitar loop of track number 6 took the world and the platforms by storm on another level. Produced by Tempoe, “Soweto” is this addictive mix of signature Nigerian melodies, Victony’s witty lyricism, and a catchy whistle answering the singer. Punctuating the song at just the right moments, the windy accent made its way to TikTok, where “Soweto” spread like wildfire, boosted by a footwork-loaded choreography, challenges, and even a sped-up version. “The sped-up version is obviously doing really well, and that means more Shazams, so you want the song to be available on digital platforms and people to be able to search for it. So that’s why we released it,” explains the singer. And on the occasion of a fresh remix out now – featuring none other than Nigerian star Rema and American rapper Don Toliver – PAM checked in with Victony during his recovery break.
Amid the dancers, vibing and bouncing in bright-colored summer fits on the beachy set of the “Soweto” visuals, stands Victony. He’s sporting a fashionably vintage look – because he “love[s] to look good” – with the walking cane to match. However, it isn’t for styling purposes, and Victony standing tall and full of confidence, even giving us a few dance moves, is highly symbolic. The cane is a relic of a tragic 2021 accident, taking the life of one of the artist’s friends and leaving Anthony Ebuka Victor, alias Victony, severely injured while on the brink of global success. With admirable strength and dignity, Victony went through grief, surgeries, and recovery in the public eye, sharing his ordeals and emotions with his audience. “After my accident, I released a capsule, a 2-track EP. It was called Dark Times, and I believe that’s where I put every emotion I felt at the time. I just expressed everything I felt. It had ‘Pray’ and ‘Unfamiliar Realms’”.
In an unexpected turn of events, sharing his darkest times shed light on his artistry, his music resonating with fans and becoming a saving grace from the loneliness of his trauma, and the isolation of fame. “Personally, when I sing about how I feel or anything I go through, and I get to put it out, and I see people able to release to it, I get that feeling of not being alone. So that kind of helps me”, he confesses, “before you become famous, you have more friends. And then you begin to become famous and you lose friends because you can’t keep tabs on them or check up on them. You don’t reply early, and people take offense. It just goes down that line and it becomes very lonely”. But through it all, nothing ever really stopped Victony. As he slowly recovered, his music career quickly took off. Soon enough, the Lagos native’s name got in every conversation, playlist, and album tracklist, including Burna Boy’s Grammy-nominated Love, Damini. “Burna said he wanted to work with me. He saw an Instagram freestyle that I did at the time, so he wanted to jump on it”. The freestyle became track-8, the Squid Game-themed “Different Size”. “And we did more songs”, adds Victony. I tried to know more about these unreleased tracks: “They sound like what a Burna and Victony feature would sound like.”
The “Outlaw” singer is now delivering a star-studded rendition of his own song “Soweto”. It already featured Tempoe, the producer intentionally acknowledged as a full-on collaborator. As he underlines, “every record is a collaboration between the artist and the producer, right? I don’t think that you can have a song without a producer. They’re the key element in song-making. Before you think about writing anything, there is a chord playing. So you have to acknowledge that the song somebody came up with is what you hopped on.” This new “Soweto” also features Rema, and the three Nigerians are joined by American act Don Toliver. “I felt like Rema would do very well on such an Afrobeat record, obviously. But with Don Toliver, I think I just kind of heard him on the song, and I wanted to give it a try. And he did amazing”. With this release, Victony is leaving his fans something fresh to enjoy while he is away.
He is currently on a needed hiatus, to go through one last surgery, as he announced on Instagram. In the meantime, he’s back to enjoying real life. “I’m spending time with my family right now. That’s keeping me going. And they’re showing me so much love. And my fans always reach out to me, every day. And I’m also using this time to do stuff I wouldn’t normally do, like playing video games, different stuff… […] Prior to now, I never did. It’s a lot of shows to be at, it’s a lot of studio sessions to show for. But right now, I’m actually seeing how fun it could be”. But Outlaws [Victony’s fanbase], don’t fret. The Outlaw King will be back soon, exploring the “different sides of Victony” on new music, and “possibly a new project as well.”
Listen to “Soweto” (Remix) in our One Dance playlist.
Listen to Victony’s Outlaw here.