LOVE LETTER to LANGUAGE Victor overcame language barriers following his immigration to the United States. Now he plans to combine language, music, and policy into a career.
nglish wasn’t my first love, but I never gave up on it. At just three years old, I immigrated to the United States from Kenya with my parents, who received Fulbright Scholarships to get their doctorate degrees. English was difficult. It didn’t make sense. The “gh” in the word “tough” sounded like an “f”. The “ch” in “Charlotte” sounded like the “sh” in “should,” and don’t forget that the “l” is silent. And so on. Slowly, I began to pick up bits of English through music. Songs and melodies stuck with me. The “Alphabet Song” helped me learn my letters. From then on, when I needed to remember something, I tried to make it into a song. As I grew up, I’d put my headphones on and let Tupac, Rakim, Big Pun, Lil’ Wayne, and Souljaboy translate for me, teaching me about history and culture in the same beat. The only problem with discovering English through rap music is learning which words you can repeat in front of your mother! But pretty soon, my English became stronger than my Swahili.
Music has been my passion since it helped me learn a second language. Writing lyrics is therapeutic for me. Regardless of the emotion I'm feeling, there is never a time when I don't write. It's not only a form of self-expression, but also a way that I work through my feelings and situations. When I got to college, I spent my weekends singing and my weekdays studying. Then I realized that I could combine my passions. I’m studying political science and hope to become a lawyer. I’m passionate about justice. Being a lawyer is all about studying words, and interpreting them to help execute justice. The way I use words— which ones I choose, and how I say them—can make all the difference in a case. It’s the same thing with music. It’s about understanding which words to say, how to say them, and the meaning behind them. That knowledge makes all the difference between mediocre lyrics and songs that impact people. By the time I’m thirty, I’d like to create a company designed to help Pittsburgh artists with legal representation in order to elevate the city’s greatest talents. My vision is to connect artists with everything they need in order to be successful; providing services like management and legal representation. My dream allows for my love of music, words, and policy to intertwine.
VICTOR'S FAVORITE ARTISTS •Kendrick Lamar •Andre 3000 •Erykah Badu •Stevie Wonder •Zach Brown Band •Anderson .Paak
8 ideapod // FALL 2016
"By the time I’m thirty, I’d like to create a company designed to help Pittsburgh artists with legal representation in order to elevate the city’s greatest talents." Victor Read more Voices at: www.pittsburghpromise.org/voices.
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