Victor W. A. Johnson is a Maverick. The man behind MAVS is driven, focused, wild and exuberant.
You may know him from his fire-laden performances with his band at places like The Blue Note in Bahamar or from his annual non-profit artist showcase. What you may not know, however, is that the degree he recently finished in college, is not in music but in digital media.
How does one of the country’s most prolific young musicians end up shooting videos? It’s simple really. He could; so he did.
Music came first. As he tells it…his mother grew weary of collecting his pot and pan “drum sets” from every nook and cranny in the house and so, at the age of four, he was taken to drum lessons.
Mr. Music, his first teacher, remains one of the most important influences in his life to date.
Victor has spent his life on the stage, having grown up playing in the church. It speaks to his comfort under lights that it was on that very stage that his musical genius grew. He would watch the church pianist while they practiced and whenever the instrument was available he would “tickle the ivories”. His mother, ever supportive, signed him up for piano lessons but they didn’t last. He hated the lessons but loved the keys. So he kept banging away at them, still banging to this day, and taught himself.
The same followed with almost every instrument he came in contact with, although, regrettably, he has never found the time in his schedule to “master the triangle”.
His schedule has, in fact, relegated our interview to the ride back and forth from one of his gigs. Being the carless reprobate I am, I was forced to sit through every beautiful rendition of every beautiful song. Woe is me.
It is not uncommon to watch Victor play a jazz standard and then hear him seamlessly and shamelessly weave in, “What If God Was One Of Us”. That habit, coupled with the suit and tie juxtaposed with “Bodak Yellow” and “Man’s Not Hot” may leave you feeling a bit disoriented. Disoriented but entertained. Always entertained.
I first met Victor through his non-profit, MAVS. At a time when Bahamian musicians didn’t have many (edit: any) outlets for their dreams, MAVS was a beacon of hope on the horizon. Built from the ground up on sheer optimism, MAVS now provides not only a platform for artists but consistent educational tools and occasional workshops. The most recent workshop connected many young locals with a Latin Grammy-nominated fountain of information they may never have had the opportunity to meet, much least learn from. All for the low low price of FREE.
The vision of MAVS began in 2015 with a single artist showcase. The showcase spawned workshops which then grew into the organization as it is today. Find them on Facebook @MusiciansArtistsVocalistsShowcase and Instagram @MavsBahamas.