2018 may be a slow year for musical expression in Nigeria but there have been moments of astonishing brilliance and original discoveries.
One of such moments was when Victor AD’s breakthrough single, Wetin We Gain, was released.
Produced by Krissybeat, this song has unmistakable gospel influences while giving a nod to poignant aspirations of financial breakthrough. Playing with ideas of rhetoric, repetition and call and response, Wetin We Gain, has become an ear candy and a street anthem because it speaks to the “everyman hustle.”
Type Victor AD into Google Search and scant information comes through: a few links of little-known songs, in fact this musician is yet to gain a Wikipedia page.
Victor AD (birth name: Victor Adere) hails from Delta State, studied for a Diploma at Federal Polytechnic Auchi and has played as the lead vocalist in an actual band. This much is obvious when one listens to his soulful singing, voice control and mellifluous adlibs.
He recently cut a multi-million record deal with ETINS Records and his career has somewhat been on the incline since then. His 2017 song, No Idea, a love song with a quick tempo has also become popular since his breakthrough hit charted. It would have been reminiscent of Kiss Daniel’s For Days, if it did not predate it.
With a clutch of good songs in his discography, Victor AD has already dispelled the One Hit Wonder theory. His first hit will definitely not be his last. Listen to his assists on Erigga’s Motivation and DJ Epic’s Broke Boi and you will be convinced that there is plenty talent here. He definitely knows how to sing his realities into meaningful and emotive songs.
His registers and references are familiar. Ditto for his depiction of The Ghetto realities of the urban poor who mobilise daily strength because breakthrough may be imminent. This optimism relies on eschewing grim statistics and vignettes, and embracing positive vibration whilst giving ecumenical faith its fair due.
On Loving You, his duet with Flexsy Don, Victor AD comes across as playful, using algebraic metaphors to persuade and reaffirm current affections. This song, having given 2Face’s Amaka a nod, handles with nostalgia the mathematical enquiry, Find X, and sets it first as rhetoric and then as an insouciant response to Acalculia and then as an outright dismissal of the Ex. It is cheeky and it works magic, especially as the song is realised within highlife idioms. Although Flexsy Don and Victor AD are little known, a musicophile with a preference for the African sound can only imagine the weight this song would pull if done by Sarkodie and Flavour.
And this brings us to similarities. Victor AD wears his highlife, Igbo gospel, and urban ghetto influences proudly like garlands. With a vocal range that is impressive, you won’t be wrong at this stage, if you compared him to Flavour, Timaya, Duncan Mighty, Oritsefemi, Solidstar and Mr 2Kay.
We are watching his musical trajectory. We are aware of his influences. Of course, there are niggling concerns. Will Victor AD become trapped within the confines of his urban-poor ghetto-breakout ditty? Will his record label lead him to sustained stardom without short-circuiting his dreams? Will he deliver a formidable album that may redefine contemporary popular music?
These are questions that only time has the answer to but for now, let us bask in the soulful and prayerful renderings of Victor AD and wetin e don gain.