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Kiah Victoria Looks To Go Worldwide With Her Soulful Pop Blend... But First, New Music Seminar in NYC

By Carolyn Menyes c.menyes@musictimes.com | Jun 06, 2014 12:58 PM EDT

You know the phrase "It's in your blood?" For some, that may seem like a hyperbolic excuse for a drive to do something great in the world, but for others, it's just the way it is... there's a constant need to perform, to spread your music and to try and be the biggest singer in the world. New Music Seminar Artist on the Verge Kiah Victoria is one such artist, and she's bound to be something huge.

Victoria has been performing her entire life, constantly singing around her house as a child. In an interview with Music Times, Victoria noted that her penchant for singing as well as her talent caught the attention of her parents, who then figured she could really go somewhere with this whole music thing, leading to the first in a series of major breaks for the young star...a stint on one of Broadway's biggest shows.

As a nine-year-old, Victoria auditioned, and was selected, to perform as Young Nala for a six-month engagement in the Broadway production of The Lion King. "I still talk to and work with those people today," she said, showcasing the loyalty that marks her career.

After her time on Broadway ended, Victoria went back home to Maryland, but her love of performance and her love of New York City never wavered. Though she performed in school productions and community theatre throughout her developing years, Victoria was always destined to come back to the big city, which she did just four years ago when she enrolled in the prestigious Clive Davis Institute at New York University, from which she just graduated last month.

The connections, resources and equipment at NYU were vital to helping Victoria develop into the artist she is today. But more importantly were her peers, who she noted have been her collaborators, managers and inspirations over the last four years.

The training at The Clive Davis Institute, in addition to her own grind, led to Victoria gaining massive amounts of acclaim and a little viral video success.

Along with her classmates in 2012, Victoria and co. released a stunning cover of Rihanna's "Diamonds," which eventually garnered the attention of the pop superstar herself.

Thanks to her schooling, it's clear that Victoria has a keen sense for the business side of the music industry, and she recognizes the importance of viral video marketing, putting out your own music and developing your artistry and following online, a new tool in the business that has helped countless artists to break into the mainstream...and Victoria hopes to be just one of them.

She's gotten a taste for that life, appearing in the now famous music video for Jay Z's "Picasso Baby."

"That was surreal. I got this mysterious phone call, saying go to this gallery and Jay Z will be there. Then, I show up and it's all these creative types and Jay walks in and just starts rapping 'Picasso Baby.' It was crazy," she said. "Soon, they were asking if people wanted to perform for Jay, and one of my friends went up and I thought I had missed my opportunity. But, they asked if anyone else wants to go up and I said 'Me! Me!' and then I did."

Smartly, Victoria chose to sing the Jackson 5's "Who's Loving You," which she said started in the most solid part of her range. The choice worked, and Victoria got massive applause from Jay and the others at the showing.

But, she's not settling for being a supporting artist or a blip in someone else's music videos...Victoria has major plans.

"In the next few years, I'd love to open up for some of my musical idols... Janelle Monae, Frank Ocean. But, eventually I want to have my own worldwide headlining tour. It might sound crazy, but I want to take this thing international," she said.

Her music clearly pulls from the world of what some call "PBR&B." Old world, soulful vocals mixed with trippy, glitzy production put Victoria right in the world of Monae, Erykah Badu and Miguel.

Her single, "Aurora," which will soon be getting its own music video, features minimalistic music through its verses, allowing Victoria's smooth, deep vocals shine through. Eventually, in the chorus, she breaks through in a bombastic way, giving the world a much-needed sense of spacey neo-soul.

Independently nominated by five committee members for this year's New Music Seminar, Victoria was chosen as one of three Artists on the Verge (alongside June Divided and VanLadyLove), but for her it was as simple as "I just applied."

Victoria was said to be the most popular singer at this year's NMS, and it's clear why, with her unique artistry that clearly pulls from an array of influences but is still so modern for 2014. But she still has a way to go, and that's to the charts.

Kiah Victoria will showcase her music at this year's New Music Seminar at Drom in New York City on June 9 as a part of the conference's Artists on the Verge series.

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