“I’m very much into this wide expression of creativity”
Sandra St.Victor’s Mack Diva Saves The World is a womanist missile of pure soul that helped her transition from being The Family Stand’s front woman into a critically acclaimed solo voice in R&B. The Netherlands by way of Dallas, Texas based singer had spent years with the funk rock band making edgy jams that climaxed with the commercial notice of “Ghetto Heaven.” Mack Diva’s sultry sensuality was devoid of broken-hearted self-pity and Victor never apologized for being a complex but comprehensible woman. And just as soon as Mack Diva was released into the public it almost instantly became an underground classic because the record company infrastructure decamped. Victor returned in 2002 with the independently released Gemini and most recently with Mark de Clive Lowe for their 2010 collaboration At My Spheres. Some soul devotees call her the best back-up singer ever for Chaka Khan and Prince and Tina Turner have utilized her songwriting. This year she has re-connected with Mark de Clive Lowe for Oya’s Daughter, which is a collection of songs, inspired by life’s changes and sonically guided by Lowe’s avant-garde soul. Vibrant and aware, Victor has concerns about the state of the world as always but she is excited to offer her new collection aided by the transforming turbulence of the Yoruban orisha Oya.
Why Oya’s Daughter?
I was going to call it Spirit Talk. I’ve been listening to myself for several years now to see who I am at this time in this whole thing, music business, and who I really am as an artist and a woman. Right when I was about to complete the album I just decided to start googling spirit talk for some quotations and stuff came up and it was so vague. You know like there are gym classes called spirit talk. I needed to more clearly define what spirit it is that is speaking mostly through this music, and I defined that as Oya. Then it really came full circle for me. Just where I’m from and the way I live my life, that orisha is very representative of my beliefs and my belief system. Even as a child how I felt. I don’t claim to call myself Oya, so Oya’s Daughter, as I think so many of us are, one of the children of that energy. I thought that was a perfect title to give the full description of what I’m really trying to say here. Oya is the owner of the winds, she’s the change-bringer, and what I’m talking about on this record is change and freedom and movement, forward motion, children, protection of our kids. When that hit me I knew that was it, I just knew that was it, that’s what I needed to title the album.
I know that “Stuff Momma Used To Say” is about your mother’s passing which is a major change in life but it also has a jazzy feel and that’s a change from your past sound.
Mark de Clive Lowe is so super super talented and it has these African elements and it’s even more jazzy now because he added this incredible introduction. I asked him to put an introduction that would bring me into the track. It’s this incredible piano introduction to the song. He mixes this African tribal foundation and jazz chords and I just thought, yeah.
I know you and Mark de Clive Lowe worked previously on At My Spheres, did you feel like he had the language to exclusively produce Oya’s Daughter?
Absolutely. I’m very much into this wide expression of creativity. He’s not locked into “This is what something should sound like” he’s just not locked into that. We don’t have chorus bridge chorus bridge chorus out. Most of the songs are just not in that form. They’re very natural, very organic flow and feel and I’m totally drawn to that.
Did your mom really serve black-eyed peas in china bowls?
Yes she did. My momma was a trip she wanted to be pretentious and the whole thing. Where’s she’s from you can’t do that!