Vo Williams is conquering a sphere of artistry where he is able to create dope soundtracks to the movies and TV shows we all love. His sonic presence is picking up traction as his powerful songs pack a lethal punch, hit hard, and leave a mark on the masses.
Vo has come a long way from the small beach town of Sarasota, Florida. He now boasts his musical talents from LA, creating epic music for shows like Empire, Black Lightning, Ballers, and Queen of the South.
Still, it was that small town that made Vo who he is today. In Sarasota, he was motivated to create and it was there where he first started to explore his vast musical range. Vo is a direct product of the music video era and is an “epic hip-hop hybrid.”
We were able to catch up with the young artist, songwriter, and composer over the phone. The conversation was an in-depth look at Vo’s career, his motivations, his 10K80, and where he plans to go next. It was a dialogue that was truly inspirational.
Simply put, Vo’s attitude towards his craft will motivate you to find your own lane and maneuver your way to the top of the creative ladder.
The wild and diverse artist picked up a guitar at a young age and at 13 you could catch Vo head-banging to the tune of Guns n Roses, Metallica, and Nirvana. Then after seeing epic live performances like Jimi Hendrix burning his guitar on stage Vo heard a life calling. He knew he was to become a rock star; a rock star with a hip-hop core.
His obsession with hip-hop manifested when he saw a VHS tape featuring street skater Kareem Cambell gliding through urban obstacles synced to the tune of Method Man’s “Bring the Pain.” He spoke on the video’s influence and seeing the worlds of hip-hop and skating collide. He said,
“I used to skateboard and I remember one of the first VHS tapes I ever bought had this skater Kareem on it. It was crazy for me because I thought I was the only black skater on earth, legit. This cat was just like murdering it! While he was skating to Method Man’s ‘Bring the Pain’ it was so wild to me to see those two worlds collide because most of the skaters I knew listened to alternative music, punk rock, or heavy metal. Now I’m here watching this other Black skateboarder who is just shredding it to Method Man and then my worlds just collided. Like damn, it’s crazy to see how hip-hop fit into that culture. It really made me attracted to that and want to pick that up… It’s how I have so many different influences.”
Bring the Pain!
Vo’s particular sound goes unmatched with hip-hop serving as the main influence. He broke through the mainstream and was able to take his epic style to the big screen when his music was featured in the movie Big Game.
The Sarasota artist definitely took a different path when it comes to getting your music out there. His musical methods are organic and his sounds are a cinematic experience. This is why he feels his sonic vibrations are the perfect fit for film, TV, and even video games.
We’re talking about a dude who grew up on Metallica, the White Stripes, Jay-Z, and Kanye. One’s sound can’t get any more iconic than that. Over the phone, he explained what it’s like applying his craft to different mediums. Vo also dropped gems for musical artists looking to infiltrate the TV and movie industry. He said,
“My natural sound is iconic and bold. The things that I’m drawn to are very big, cinematic, hip-hop, rock, and hybrid type messages. I think that’s why it works so well with film.”
“What I would tell people in terms of how they create music is to honestly just be your self. The world has everything and because Hollywood is a reflection of the world there will always be a scene for every single story. You don’t have to mold your story to fit Hollywood. Hollywood is telling your story and nine times out of ten if you offer your unique voice then you are going to have an offering that’s special. When it’s time for someone to tell that story they’re going to come to you because you are the expert on that subject…”
Vo stressed identifying yourself in your music, staying in your lane, and banging on your craft. Being open and humble played an important factor in his career too. You have to be down to work without having a price tag attached.
“Sometime’s you need credit more than you need the dollar,” said Vo. He is willing to do whatever it takes to get that bag and his 10K80 is worth emulating as his modus operandi is to “just GO!”
Vo has worked his way into a cultural shift that has made way for a new type of Hollywood flick. Flicks shot through the black perspective, like Black Panther. He is eager to be an integral part of the movement. As Vo said, if there are more films and shows that peer thru the Black lens the bigger the platform is for Black artists.
How else would he have managed to fall second to TDE for the international Black Panther campaign? To Vo, “It’s a blessing to be in that conversation at all…”
No opposition can stop the vision Cause I was risen Out of a village of villains Without a pot to piss in The whole world is a rival For my position Tell me what you would die for That’s what’s worth defending . . . . . #vowilliams #lyrics #lightemup #Film #Tv #trailermusic #musicsupervisor #empire #Hiphop #artist #spotify #workoutmusic #motivationalquotes #music #musician #songwriter #photography
The “Rampage” rapper knows that integration of Black music in Black film is a new wave and that we need the music during this historical time for Black stories. Vo wants his music “to be in the bedrock of all of these great things that are happening.”
In regards to Black culture going “too Hollywood” and our culture being exploited, Vo knows that “there is no growth without growing pains.” During our conversation, I brought up an interview Michael B. Jordan recently did where he refused to throw up the Wakanda symbol.
Vo’s rebuttal was awakening. He said,
“I think that we deserve the privilege to be a standard to be so everything that its nothing… We haven’t yet earned the right to just be plain, to just be normal. It’s almost a privilege to be normal. We want to get to the point that our culture is so embedded in culture, in general, it leaves that exotic lane and it becomes normalized… Hopefully, we gain enough power, enough exposure, enough art and enough influence in the world to where we are just drowning channels and people are picking up our stuff like they are picking up Spiderman…”
“You can’t skip the process of what we are going through right now. You can’t skip the growing pains. At the end of the day, no, I’m not afraid of Blackness becoming so normalized that people don’t acknowledge that we own it and that it’s ours. I want it to get to that place in 2080, but first, we have to do the homework.”
Nowadays, if he’s not flexing in the gym, on his daily 6 to 10-mile jog, or boasting his Capoeira skills, you can catch Vo in the studio working on some fire for himself or a soundtrack to a new film. He just dropped a track with DJ Ricky Luna called “I Am The One.”
We’re all watching you now Vo. Keep the hustle up, keep inspiring, and always stay true to yourself as you have been. To the youths looking to get into Vo’s industry follow in the footsteps of a leader and apply this newfound wisdom to your craft. Who knows? Your song could be playing in the next big film.