there is one flaw with the music of Victor Davies it is that record stores
are never quite sure how to catalogue it! Go into your local record store
and ask for a Victor Davies album and you are just as likely to be led
to the jazz, Latin, or folk sections as the soul, funk, dance, or pop
Equally, the diversity of Victor’s sound has proved to be one of
his main strengths. “I don’t think it matters that my music
doesn’t fit into a single category,” he says, “People’s
taste in music doesn’t either!”
As a mixed-race child born in London’s East End to an English mother
and a West African father, Victor – who has been likened to George
Benson, Al Jarreau, and Curtis Mayfield
- never felt the need to pigeonhole himself racially, musically, or otherwise.
This appears to have been a family trait. While one older brother listened
to Emerson Lake and Palmer, the other was involved in the Brit Funk revival.
And like any kid Victor’s elder siblings were very influential to
him. It was while watching his brother’s friend Camelle
Hinds (Central Line/Hindsight) playing guitar in the family living
room one afternoon that a young Victor Davies felt inspired to take up
the instrument himself.
But things didn’t go as smoothly as he might have hoped. After just
a year of classical guitar lessons Victor was dropped by his teacher.
“He wasn’t very pleased when he realised that for the whole
year I hadn’t been sight-reading at all,” he recalls, “I’d
fooled him by listening to what he played and copying it by ear!”
From then on Victor taught himself to play the guitar. And the bass. And
the drums. And the keyboard.
In the early ‘90s Victor signed major publishing deals with Chrysalis
and Virgin as a songwriter. It didn’t take long for him to realise
that writing songs for the likes of Ace of Bass, as he
was being told to do, was not a direction he wanted to follow. So Victor
took a break from music and retreated to Thailand where he devoted time
to his second love of Muay Thai boxing.
“I stayed in a boxing camp where there were boys as young as six
fighting to support their families. Being there strengthened my belief
that there is more to say in music than ‘I love you, do you love
On his return to London Victor settled back into writing music with conviction.
One of the these tracks, Runaway Train, was picked up by Mike
Slocombe (People Records) and, still in its demo form as an acoustic
ballad, was placed on a People sampler record. The overwhelmingly positive
response was exactly what Victor needed to kickstart his solo career.
A critically acclaimed self-titled debut album soon followed - released
in Japan on Wood Records and in the rest of the world by Jazzanova Compost
Records. DJ magazine described the Victor Davies album
as “…proper songs written by a proper talent that will remain
a treasured possession amongst anyone lucky enough to possess a copy”
while Q magazine said that “Davies' caressing tones
could sell sunshine to an Australian"!
The quality of Victor’s songwriting attracted premiere remixers
Masters at Work, London Elektricity, Bugz in the Attic, Da Lata,
Mark Rae (Rae & Christian) and others to get involved in
his Remixes album, and has led to successful collaborations with
Kyoto Jazz Massive, Dimitri from Paris, Landslide, and
Victor’s second album Hoxton Popstars has since been released in
Japan by Columbia Music. In true Victor Davies style it is comprised of
stripped-down acoustic ballads (I Love You So), full-blown funk productions
(Fire) and everything in-between. Inter FM made Hoxton
Popstars their Disc of the Week, and the first single
Fire held the No. 1 position in the Tokyo Radio
Charts for two consecutive weeks!
As the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding. And with achievements
of this level Victor Davies is proving that success has about as much
regard for categorisation as music fans do.
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