I discovered I The Victor by chance sometime in 2018. My band and I were asked to play an artist spotlight alongside Rebecca Ramos, the heart, brain, and creative force behind the act, that, unfortunately, coincided with a tour we were going on, but I started following her then and loved her bright, open, offbeat aesthetic. Almost a year later, I got the chance to talk with the “posi-rap” artist about all things music, Atlanta, and “Hypotheticals,” her latest release.
AF: Thanks so much for talking with me! Do you mind telling me a bit about your story? How did you get into music?
RR: Of course, thank you! I super appreciate getting to chat. I got into music shortly after discovering Avril Lavigne as a living, breathing, amazing entity on earth. She just really struck me, and from there, I was interested in making music of my own. Not too long after, my parents got me one of those $40 first act guitars, and I was off to the races. I ended up writing really bad songs for a long while and, as I got older, began writing stuff that I was excited about and wanted to put out into the world.
AF: What’s your creative process like? Has it changed over the years, as you’ve toured and recorded and released more music?
RR: Usually it starts at the guitar, but sometimes a line or melody will hit me at a random time, and I try to just drop everything and give it the attention it needs to become something bigger. I try to steer clear from sitting down to write and usually wait for something to come to me, and then I’ll sit with it and flesh it out into something more full. Otherwise, if I try to sit down and be creative, I get pretty in my head about if I’m being organic and real, and usually end up scrapping whatever I write if it feels forced.
As music has become more of the main focus of my life, I have a lot of new toys that have made their way into my process, whether it’s the instrument library on Logic, weird samples, or just messing around with different plugins or vocoders. I think it’s cool, when possible, to start with something kinda eclectic or weird and to pull out some pop sensibility from it. So all that’s in the mix as far as my process, but I definitely try to keep it fluid and let lyrics or melodies come to me naturally.
AF: Who do you consider your greatest influences? How do you draw from those influences while also staying true to what makes you unique as an artist? What inspires you as a songwriter?
RR: I’ve been listening a ton to Billie Eilish recently, along with Glass Animals, Still Woozy, Hippo Campus, Jaden Smith, and so many more. I try not to pull too many direct musical influences; I like to just listen to a ton of diverse stuff, and if I hear a sound or topic that inspires me, I’ll go from there. I do, however, get super inspired just watching artists as they blossom and create worlds around their songs. That’s something I feel like that takes songs to another realm.
I also get inspired by seeing other artists’ merch or marketing rollouts for albums. I love the whole packaging and how far a song can extend into other dimensions like visuals or live shows or clothing. I’ve been really inspired by artists like Halsey or The 1975, who are very meticulous about their aesthetic and the way their visuals and songs transcend into their shows. Anytime I see something unique, I’ll screenshot it and go back to it as I brainstorm for ITV content. I never want to copy what’s been done, but there are always ways of taking cool concepts and molding them into something unique to your own song or vision, so that’s what I try to do!
AF: Everything about you — your music, your visuals, all of the messages you send out to your fans — is so positive. How do you stay so optimistic, in both your music career and your personal life?
RR: Thank you so much! I aim for that. I definitely started writing songs out of a darker and more insecure place, but the purpose was to kind of seek out hope through writing about hopelessness. So, that whole theme of staying positive has just kind of stuck throughout and become this mantra for ITV as a whole, which I am really proud of. The music industry can definitely feel dark at times; there have been times I get so discouraged that I don’t know where else to go than to go back to that place of seeking out hope. I think life is that way too in general: a constant flux and flow of failure versus success, light versus dark, or progress versus setbacks.
I just don’t know what I’d take refuge in if I didn’t have music or wasn’t creating for the purpose of finding hope and staying positive, so I feel really lucky and comforted that it’s naturally become kind of the banner of ITV songs. It’s begun making its way into my mindset day to day, too, which is also lucky. I think there’s just a ton of darkness out there and we all kinda get to feeling alone or hopeless. As ITV grows, I just want it to be a light for people where we can discuss growing pains and dark times but still do that within the lens of hope because we all need that.
TL;DR – life can get heavy. What would I have if I didn’t have hope? I literally don’t know and don’t want to know. ITV has been a vessel for finding positivity for me and I hope it can be that for others too.
AF: What’s your favorite part of the Atlanta music scene, and how has the city — and the creative community here — influenced you as an artist?
RR: I meet and find more and more amazing people in Atlanta daily, it seems. I adore it. Everything I do with ITV is super DIY or friends-only in a way. We just don’t have a label, don’t have big budgets or resources to do huge productions or outsource a lot of things. The result is myself and my closest friends getting to work on ITV things altogether, and it’s been life-changing. The output is so much more raw and organic, which makes it all the better. I’ve gone to Switchyards quite a bit with my brother and met some amazing designers and creatives there. ITV lets me meet awesome people, too, which is fortunate. It’s just so cool getting to meet people doing creative things that inspire them. It creates such a limitless space for organic collaboration and just freedom to keep doing you; it’s so exciting and definitely a huge part of how anything for I The Victor gets accomplished.
AF: What’s next for I The Victor?
RR: So. Much! So much. I keep feeling like we’re in the most exciting phase yet, and I get sad thinking about releasing it all because then this phase of anticipation and excitement will have to come to a close! But yes. A lot! Definitely some new music preceding an EP and then we have quite a bit planned to complement the songs coming out, from merch to videos to shows. Excited is an understatement and I feel really lucky for the small community growing around ITV because it’s a super exciting time right now!
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