Like so many other artists Victor began singing in church with his family at the age of 6. By the time he was born, both sides of his family had gained a prominence within their national church community as musical pioneers. This passion for good gospel music was embedded in him at this young age through his mother’s side and the appreciation for the classics and spirituals was made available through his father’s side. At a young age he was given the opportunity to hear the sounds of Mahalia Jackson, James Cleveland, The Five Blind Boys, Sam Cook and the Blend Wrights as well as be taught to perform the Hallelujah Chorus and appreciate the works of his uncle Charles Lee Brooks, Mendelssohn, Bach, and Mozart. Having the un-orthodox ministerial parents that he and his brother and sister were blessed to have, both parents were avid lovers of JAZZ and his maternal grandfather was the Jazz legand Norris Turney who replaced Johnny Hodges in Duke Ellington's orchestra. This basically put the icing on the cake for Victor’s musical foundation when Victor came to love the beauty and originality of the art of JAZZ. At the age of 13 he and his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee. Here Victor was exposed to the trueness and rawness of SOUL, BLUES, R&B, and FUNK. Having the Mecca of SOUL and BLUES right downtown was something that Victor was soon drawn to. Victor met and befriended Bernard Staton who at the time was the lead guitarist for Al Green and had formally been with the Vibrations. Bernard took Victor under his wing and taught him the basics of playing the guitar. This proved to lay the foundation for Victor to take his songwriting basics to another level. Two other people who helped him with his songwriting basics earlier were Little Richard and Clifton Davis. Once the lessons from Bernard kicked in Victor was on his way to writing and performing cover tunes he taught himself to play as well as songs of his own. With this new education now in his blood he was just a little older and that much more curious to know the “goings on” in the clubs of Beal Street and elsewhere. Once he was able to drive he would make weekly detours from the church choir rehearsals to the local music joints. Though he was too young to be allowed in some of the clubs, he was able to convince some of the local musicians he had befriended to let him in the back as long as he was out of the way. One of his favorite places to "get his feet wet" was MARMALADE'S in Memphis on 3rd and Vance. This place was run by the Smith family and to them Victor will always be grateful for allowing him to learn and practice his craft on their stage. Victor would watch and learn from the likes of Al Green, Isaac Hayes, The Emotions, The Barkays, and others. Watching the moves, the vocal styles, the audience communication… everything. Some of the members of the church as well as his family began to hear a different and more soulful, funkier feel coming from his church renderings. Although his parents both knew of his detours, they allowed him to learn and for that he will always be grateful. By 1985 Victor was assisted by one of his lifelong mentors and family friends Little Richard , to co-write a song with Richard on his upcoming comeback album for Warner Brothers entitled “Lifetime Friend”. The song they wrote was “I found My Way…My Father’s House”…It was Victor’s first published song. While in LA he was assisted by two other family friends Clifton Davis and Andre Crouch to be apart of the performance choir on the NBC television show “AMEN”. Over the years, these people had watched and given various tips and words of encouragement, now they were helping him to the next level. In 1987 Victor was invited by Phillip Michael Thomas to come to Miami to be apart of the PMT Production family. This experience was one of pure education and lifelong respect. While there he was able to work with a true classic Soul man...Mr. Leroy Hutson...Victor calls him "THE GROOVE SPECIALIST". The lessons learned will forever be with him. Much thanks to PMT. Upon returning to L.A. Victor began writing with Brian McKnight for Brian's first album in 1990... the project went Gold in 1992 (release year) and soon enjoyed platinum status. By the end of 1992 Victor ceased any type of performing and writing due to a thing called…”LIFE”! While working for Clifton Davis International Victor and Clifton made a trip to Brasil to search for bands to book in the U.S. There Clifton introduced Victor to a young Brasilian Soul artist by the name of Ze Ricardo. Victor and Ze became instant brothers and gained a total respect for the others love of Soul, Jazz, Funk, and Bossa Nova. Victor invited Ze to come to LA and meet other musicians and performers. Victor took him to the house of two of his closest friends; Frankie and Irene Gaye. There Frankie asked Ze had he ever heard Victor Sing, Ze of course had no idea that Victor had at one time. Because of the love and respect that Victor had for Frankie, he obliged and sang “Mr. Miracle”. Since that time Ze and Victor have been performing throughout Brasil and Portugal since 1997 to audiences from 800 seats to 20,000. The awesome arraignments by Ze Ricardo of both classic covers and originals seem to be the perfect satin sheets for the soulful, sensual and Funky vocals and songwriting given from Victor. The press began to call the vibe of the show “a soulful type of Samba”…This being the reason for the name of Victor’s first solo album production…Victor Brooks…Samba Soul. Victor is very committed to the education and cultivation of young talent. Because of his personal history of having older and seasoned artists in his life to educate him along the way, Victor makes it a constant inclusion in his life to give the same attention to any young artists that may need his help. He has created an arts program designed specifically for this need and looks to be of service for as long as he is needed. Victor will forever have the utmost respect and thankfulness to all of the people who had a part of teaching, scolding, and helping him throughout his lifetime, both famous as well as not. Victor will also be very thankful to the following people who have been a special part of his life and musical journey...Larry and Tina Graham, Maurice White, Billy Paul, The Emotions, Wayne Vaughn, Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner, John Wray, Jean Lucas, Screamin Jay Hawkins, Gayle and Bill Murphey, Ron Dickerson, Omera Dawson, Aunt Eleanore, Uncle Harold, his grandfather Snaggs Rice and the whole Rice crew from Dayton Ohio and so many others..You know who you are. Your lessons will always be apart of his life and who he is today.
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Hey Victor. Just stopped by to check out your smooth sound. Hope all is going well . I just performed with R&B legend Eddie Floyd Saturday night in Memphis. I'm working on new music for my next project. Have a great week and continued success.
Jaijai, what a wonderful mission you've undertaken to create such a place for artistic minds to meet and share their hearts. A place to renew faded determinations, and revive lessened momentums. A place to display our wares and reconfirm to one another that we actually are on the right track.
I commend you, Jaijai, for caring so much that you created this castle of the heart for all of us. I want to share my praise for all of the new friends as well as old friends that I've met and will meet here in our castle. Here we can garnish the where-with-all, the strength, the conviction, and the selflessness through our symbiosis, to share our gift to the world with an unbiased agenda.
My mentor, Daisaku Ikeda says of art: "A beautiful flower delights and refreshes the hearts of all people equally, no matter what soil it grows in. That is the power of beauty. The same is true of great art. It is this spirit that the German poet Heinrich Heine sang of when he wrote that once the peapod bursts open, the sugar peas inside are for everyone to enjoy."
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