A new artist makes their mark on the music scene every year, and V.I.C is considered to be one of the best to come into the spotlight recently.
The 24 year-old from Southampton burst onto the British rap scene in 2021 with his unique and relatable style of rap songs, and has already accumulated more than 20 million streams for just one song, and had his music featured on the game Fifa ’22.
V.I.C always had a passion for music with inspiration from J Cole and Kendrick Lamar: “I have been doing music since I was 16, it started as a getaway from life but I am fortunate enough to call it my career now,” V.I.C told us.
Some artists claim that starting music was the hardest part of their careers, and when V.I.C was asked how he started his career he explained: “I started out as just doing freestyles. When you’re at school you don’t want to do something different because people will see you as weird. I didn’t want to be that guy at school, but at university, you can recreate yourself and that’s when I came out the gates and tried to be the music guy.
“I was at Reading University studying economics and finance and I was putting out a freestyle on Instagram, I would make sure that I had a video prepped and never missed an upload,” he said. “The inspiration for this was Chika Oranika (@chikalogy), she posted a freestyle about Kanye West and it motivated me. I had been following her for a while on Instagram and overnight her video had millions of views, it made me really believe I could do it.”
V.I.C was asked if he pinpointed the stage of his career where he really blew up: “I graduated at the peak of lockdown and I feel quite fortunate with that because that’s when my TikTok started to go crazy with views” he said.
“I wasn’t originally planning on uploading to TikTok but my brother convinced me to just upload what I already put on instagram onto TikTok because after years of posting my freestyles I hadn’t got any recognition so it was worth giving it a go,” he explained.
“I was hiding the videos I was making, it was targeting a completely new audience and after a little while one of my videos blew up a bit, and thats when people started listening to the songs I would use in my TikTok videos.”
It is evident that social media has a huge role in V.I.C’s path to success so far, but what does social media mean to him? “Social media had a massive impact on my career but I have no idea what made my videos stand out. But if I had to guess, I would say consistency, not many people were there at the start of TikTok yet here I am after being on there for two years and Instagram for three years prior to TikTok.”
“Before TikTok I was prepared to work a 9-to-5 and without TikTok I would still be making music. I owe a lot of my career to that platform but nowadays there are interactions coming from loads of different avenues not just TikTok and Instagram.”
One of the biggest landmarks V.I.C has achieved in his career is the success of his song A Teen, a track that has accumulated more than 20 million streams on Spotify becoming a big hit in the UK. The song got so much recognition it started on one of the biggest games of the year, Fifa ’22: “It’s the dream for every artist growing up in the UK. I have barely listened to the song on Fifa because I couldn’t believe I was in this game, I asked myself why is my voice coming out of the screen every time I heard it?”
So how did he manage to get his song onto the game? “We ran a campaign on social media asking people if the song should make it on the game and then my audience took the hype away with them and made something from it. I really didn’t think it was going to happen and the all of a sudden it became a reality, my song is in Fifa ’22, I’m still figuring out how it happened.”
The song went viral on TikTok with 55,000 videos made to go with it, and with the track hitting so many milestones V.I.C was asked if it was the the most special song he has made? “I don’t feel like my song anymore, people have made their own memories to it so I can’t claim it as my own song it all of the FIFA communities song. It’s a song that I wrote but Fifa took it over.”
Although V.I.C doesn’t feel like A Teen is his song anymore, other tracks of his such as What I Do and Maybe have more sentiment to him: “A Teen is the most sentimental song I’ve made, the song is my story. I wrote this song talking about me in my last year of university trying to make music my career, which I have done now. The song getting on to Fifa gives the young people who listen to it the ability to dream as well.”
“If you look at the music video it goes from very high budget to my sitting in my room uploading a TikTok in my bedroom which is where it all started hence the lyrics ‘I’m just a teen, a boy with a dream’. The song is perfect, it’s the marking point in my life and where I was in my life which makes it almost poetic that A Teen is my biggest song.”
V.I.C has developed a great connection with his fanbase over the past few years, with more than 748,000 TikTok followers and more than 56,000 Instagram followers, the audience find V.I.C a very relatable artist. This relatability gives a bond between the artist and his audience
So how does he get to be so relatable “Because all you can be is you, I’m not trying to be nobody else. I wish rappers documented their whole lives because once they make it they claim they are different and are not relatable because they have more money along side other things, but really and truly we are all human and I love to tap into our human aspect and promote that because that’s just me and that is everyone; you just have to be real.”
Every musician has to look forward to the next step consistently, such as a change in genre or producing a higher quantity of music, V.I.C’s is already thinking about the next steps for his career: “With the new music I’m trying to stay relatable. As I said before I started as a kid with a dream in my bedroom, but I’m 24 now and it’s not just a dream so this is the young adult phase in my life and my music is evolving with me,” he said.
“I’m doing live shows now and after every festival and every show I have to say ‘Thank you’ to the people who stuck around me during my come up and that I want the same people with me in the next phase of my life, that’s when you start to see who the real people are around you.
“I feel like the next part of my life alongside my new music such as you is much more mature. This is going to be about me trying to get myself into the categories with Dave and Stormzy and the bigger UK rappers. I’m navigating, I want to take everyone from A Teen with me, I want them on the journey.”
V.I.C has appeared in music events such as the Reading Festival and Tokyo World this year, but how long will fans have to wait for a solo tour? “One day, of course, we just want to make sure it comes at the right time. We would like to do it off of the back of a project but 100% soon and when it does happen we will make sure it’s great.”
When trying to differentiate yourself from other artists in an ever-growing industry you have to do something to make you stand out, V.I.C has done so with his solo Spotify podcast A Diary of an Aspiring Musician‘: “When I started music I wanted someone like J Cole to show us the come up, the flip side of music. It was evident the music progressed but I wanted to see the person develop and that’s what Diary of an Aspiring Musician is,” he explained.
“The whole idea of it is to show people the evolution of me from a kid to hopefully one day when I make it. Huge amounts of people want to be rappers so it’s great to show them how much work goes into it. Not just how to rap but; how to evolve with the music. Not only this but it also gives me a platform to share things that I don’t always talk to people about.”
Being young and successful is not always the greatest mix, V.I.C has showed through his music and other achievements that he has ridden the wave of fame and success very well. With many of his fans being young with dreams of success, not just in the music industry but in life, what advice would he give to them? “Be consistent. In this world, the only thing you can do is be consistent because everything else will change. If you put in the time every day then your music will reach the right people. That does not apply just to music, any trade you have to just keep going the success will come”
But for the moment, V.I.C is still looking to the future: “I don’t feel like I’ve achieved anything yet. The right things come at the right time, I wish I was like Santan Dave. He’s 24 and is a superstar. I always want to be the best, I wish I was successful when I was even younger. But sometimes that’s not a good thing because if success comes too young it could be put to waste,” he said.
“At the moment I’m trying to be better than everybody else, but the respect that I have for the people in the industry like Stormzy and Dave is huge. I would love the opportunity to work with someone of that calibre but as I said prior, it will all come at the right time.”
The question most people want to know about any person with a significant social status is what keeps them going; what gets them out of bed in a morning? “My drive is my ambition but the thing with ambition is you don’t see success because you always look for what’s next,” V.I.C said.
“When we went touring, looking at my teams, my friends and my family and you see the smiles on their faces, their happiness, thats what keeps me going. I can do things for my parents that I never thought I would be able to and I want to do even more for them.”
So what is the end goal his career? “My aim is to make it as big as possible so people can see that I did what I said I was going to do, even my Instagram bio is ‘take a front row seat to the come up’. The come up has already started but it has only just started and is nowhere near finished.”
It is safe to say there is much more to come from someone with an abundance of talent and it’s clear to see that V.I.C is more than just a rapper, but also a man with a drive like no other. Inspiring a whole generation we are all on the edge of our seats to see what V.I.C produces next.
Featured image courtesy of Canvas of Life.
Edited by Sophie Patrick and Hamida Ali.