In observance of Bisexual Visibility Day on September 23, we spoke to Ross Victory from Los Angeles, California. Ross is a talented author, songwriter, and musician writing and singing in R&B and Hip Hop formats, with two radio-friendly singles out. Money Drip a club-ready song about confidence, and Cali Cruisin’ a track about exactly what the title suggests, cruising California.
Ross is also an accomplished author and speaker, having published two award-winning books in two years: Views from the Cockpit and Panorama: The Missing Chapter. Writer’s Digest describes Ross’ debut book as “gorgeous,” giving the book 5/5 in all elements from production, cover, editing, and narrative. Panorama: The Missing Chapter was described as an “exquisite autobiographical account,” by Manhattan Book Reviews.
Ross describes himself as a creator, a black man in America, a brother, a friend, a nerd, an introvert, a survivor, and bi-sexual. Droid Journal was curious to know how Ross finds his unique voice as a creator and his plans with his creations.
What has been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned throughout your life/career?
Career has taught me the importance of a team. No team, no dream. An idea is just an idea. One person is only one person; no part of my vision moves without passionate experts. It’s essential to build a team around a core value or idea and give people a chance to express themselves wholly in their areas.
Life has taught me the importance of moments and legacy. I’ve lost a lot of people through death. I’ve noticed people don’t remember what we fear or what we wanted to accomplish in the future. They remember what we did and how we made them feel. I need to create, create, create, and do my very best to be kind and non-judgmental with people and ideas outside of my vision.
What do you hope your books will do for others?
Views from the Cockpit illuminates a father-son relationship and the tension between fathers and sons that most men can speak to. Many men feel stress from their father’s “type” of masculinity (sexuality, expression, interests, etc.) Pressure derives from finding our voice as men in our father’s shadow. Views uses airplane metaphors to explore a father-son relationship. How bonds are created, how they are broken, and how they are repaired. It also covers the hidden crime of elder abuse and the importance of protecting the aging population.
Panorama speaks to bisexuality and identity politics in America through the lens of two bi guys living in Seoul. Panorama is a half narrative and half social criticism. Your readers need to note that bisexual visibility day is entirely separate from Pride month in June. Why? Bisexuality on a fundamental level is its own thing –people who have multi-gendered attractions.
For both books, I hope to empower people to realize that they are the captains of their journeys and the answer to our pain tends to be in our story. Pain, labels– all experiences, exist to help us along our path. Everyone should enjoy their brand of freedom over a lifetime and feel comfortable to do so publicly. Freedom in career, freedom in love, freedom in geographical location, or political belief are all minimum requirements for a great life!
Your music ranges in style and subject matter. You write, sing, and rap. How did you get started in music?
I’ve been singing since two years old, but I began writing music and producing beats in high school. Around sixteen, I wrote and recorded a song about a nine-year-old girl who died from gang violence in Richmond called “Cecilia Brown.” I submitted the song to the Song of the Year’s songwriting competition.
Competing against a sea of experienced adult songwriters, I was awarded the distinction of Runner Up. After this small validation, I began to produce and write songs and submit them to online competitions for feedback, which helped me find my direction, style, and voice. In 2007, I entered a Myspace singing competition for a chance to be featured on the Step Up 2 The Streets Music Soundtrack produced by Atlantic Records; I reached the Top 5 male finalists. I’m a writer first and a singer second. While pursuing a Marketing degree from Cal State LA, I interned in the Sales & Marketing team at Power 106 radio station in Los Angeles. This internship led to an opportunity at ASCAP (Performing Rights Organization), where I worked with the process of music publishing and obtained hands-on experience with songwriting and licensing. So my interest in writing and music applies to the creative process, the therapeutic benefits of music, and the administration process.
What does bisexuality mean to you, and how do you feel about the portrayals of bisexuality, specifically bisexual men?
Bisexuality is misunderstood, and in some cases, erased in popular culture. I experience bisexuality as heightened awareness. Just because someone has sculpted abs or a fantastic butt does not mean they can be kind. After initial sexual attraction, I can zoom in on character and the TYPE of person someone is and decide if they are worth pursuing. There’s an innate openness to life and new experiences about bisexuality. I’m a curious person, and if sexuality is a life force, then it makes sense why I tend not to be afraid of experiences. Bisexuality also gives me a vast pool and a wide range of experiences to pull from creatively. Social interactions, love interests, and even job situations can look very different for me than the status quo, so bisexuality permits me access to unique vantage points creatively. Ironically, music and writing can be solo sports, so they have been my ways to cope with isolation for a very long time.
When I was younger, the assumptions got to me. I didn’t have the language or experience to articulate what I was feeling for many years, so I learned to avoid straight and gay spaces (bars, clubs) in fear of embarrassment and being put on the defense. Now, I understand what people think and do has nothing to do with me. Sometimes I wonder if one of my tests in life is to see how compassionate I can be toward other humans because bisexuality hits an involuntary reflex in people. But all of this underscores the importance of bi visibility. Relationships are a huge part of identity, and bisexuals must find each other and create safe spaces together without fear of discrimination from louder groups.
What do you hope to accomplish through your music and writings?
I want to continue to create more stories that explore emotional and complex topics. I like to provoke, but also soothe readers. It would be awesome to not only screen write a film from a book I’ve written, but also produce the film and participate in all the musical decisions for the film. My books and music will enable me to invest in safe spaces for bisexuals to find each other. If one person can avoid the mental anguish I suffered as a child, I will feel accomplished. I want to become a key (black male) producer, investor, and business person. I want to invest in cafés, bars, support groups, and tangible ways to build community. It’s also essential to teach creatives in disadvantaged communities how to be entrepreneurs so that they don’t need to depend on others financially. Ultimately, I want to be “the Black” Anthony Bourdain that travels the world, documenting culture, trying new foods, and learning new languages.
Do you have any advice to creators looking to get started in building their own brand?
I try to be as authentic as possible and not stray away from things that I have experienced. Discipline and rest play a vital role in the successful completion of projects. When you’re tired, exhausted, or overwhelmed with trying to make an idea, character, or melody work, take a rest. The final project always looks, sounds, and reads differently than the initial idea. Doubt and exhaustion are a part of the process. Also, do not be surprised when friends and family do not support you, like your Instagram post or comment. We’ve heard successful people say it all the time – believe in your craft and be willing to fail publicly. No-one else is responsible for your success or demise.
Contact Info? How can we find you? (social media)?
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