Victor! Creating Ballads in the Bedroom

 Photos by Michael Salisbury

Photos by Michael Salisbury

Victor Cervantes is a 17 year old artist making a new generation of hits from his bedroom. With nothing but an old computer and a borrowed microphone, his sheer talent mocks the necessity of extensive resources in order to create successful music. After releasing his first song over the summer of 2017, he’s quickly built a niche following of loyal fans through a catalogue of self-produced tracks. From melancholy love ballads to trap-influenced sing alongs, Victor finds success in all areas as he continues to experiment with new sounds.

Victor moved frequently growing up, and one of his few constants was involvement in the church his family attended, a haven for music. He started off drumming for the church’s youth group and later transitioned to singing. Parallel to Victor’s development as a musician was his love for language arts and English class, leading him to begin writing poetry when he was 13 years old. Within a year, he was writing songs for his youth group,  and by his Sophomore year he was in studying in the voice program at Chicago High School for the Arts. Now a Junior, Victor hopes to focus on his musical career after he graduates, and plans to launch a clothing brand/collective, ‘amistades’ with some of his friends.

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ChiArts has enabled Victor to meet other artists of similar musical mindsets, and he’s also established relationships with musicians online. These newfound connections have fostered strong collaborations, however Victor still finds struggle at times when he is working with other musicians. As a reserved teenager accustomed to recording solo in his bedroom, Victor is pushing himself to get out of his comfort zone and work with other artists. It’s better when he’s able to share his success with his friends. Constantly finding inspiration through a community of young Chicago artists, he draws lyrical influence from the stories and life experiences of his friends.

Victor also finds influence from his family, as his Uncle plays the guitar and his Dad is a Mariachi. With Mariachi ingrained in his early memories, Victor retains the ability to effortlessly create songs in spanish. Crafting tracks like ‘sabes’, ‘ojos negros’ and ‘amor’ that are thoroughly enjoyable without knowledge of the language is a testament to the strengths of his songwriting. In just a few months Victor’s been able to establish a dedicated fan base all over the world and become friends and collaborators with artists that originally inspired him, such as Omar Apollo.

“It’s just crazy how you can meet the people you looked up to just a year ago and even work with them. So a lot of that stuff puts pressure on me. It makes me want to make good quality music and sometimes it feels like there is some competition. But at the end of the day we’re just creating and I want to make the best that I can make.”

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“...if I can be the best Victor I can be, then that’s amazing.”

-Victor!

Victor’s fast growth has put pressure on the young musician to maintain a standard of quality music for his listeners. At times second guessing himself and removing music from SoundCloud, his high expectations means much of his music may be even stronger than he imagines. These moments of self consciousness shed light on the type of artist and person Victor is. The self-described ‘awkward’ teenager is very smart about what he does and he understands that despite a strong start,  he’s still got a long way to go. From the consistency of his artwork to his cross-platform wits, Victor is laying the foundation for his success and it’s obviously paying off. Staying true to his individualism, Victor recently released his new EP, glitter98 exclusively through physical CD’s and sold out his first stock almost immediately. Things seem to move very fast for Victor, but he’s learning the importance of being patient. Above all, he has to remain true to his unique self and not worry about sounding like anyone else. “At the end of the day, I’m just Victor. So if I can be the best Victor I can be, then that’s amazing.”

Victor’s story is increasingly commonplace with the growth of technology. He hopes his ability to create with limited resources will inspire other young kids to create regardless of their financial situation. While one could over-analyze exactly why Victor has had such a successful start, his natural talent seems to provide the best explanation. What’s most exciting about Victor is that he’s only just begun. He's still exploring new sounds, meeting new collaborators, and developing new ideas. Victor’s currently working on his debut album, which he hopes to perfect in time for a summer release, and he’s also planning more shows, of which he now performs with a band. Checkout some of our favorite tracks by Victor in our essential listens playlist and be sure to follow him online for more updates on new music and performances!