FOREWORD BY THE AUTHOR. As a child growing up in the Hospitality State, one of my earliest memories that I’ve been able to recall revolved absolutely around music. I remember being a very young child on the kitchen floor of my parent’s house being every bit of maybe three or four years of age. I remember my mother washing dishes and keeping me entertained while she performed one of the more mundane tasks that I do not enjoy in my adult life, the dishes. She’d arranged some pots and pans on the floor into a makeshift drum set and I could not resist. I remember being fascinated with the arrangement and trying des- perately to express myself through music. Music runs thick in my blood with my grandfather being a member of a Southern gospel group akin to the stylings of the Temptations. Multiple people in my family sing and play instruments so it should be no surprise to anyone that I would naturally be drawn to the magic of music.
Since then, I’ve been surrounded by music literally every second of my life, and in the times when the music stopped, it kept going in my head.
From singing along in church and learning different instruments in my studies to calling cadences and moving to the rhythm of my military career, music has always been a part of my life. Every second of the day, every step along the way. It became my motivator. My comforter. My initiator and my creative driving force. As I move through life, it’s been rare to come across people who share the same insight regarding music. The singer/songwriter and fellow music aficionado, VIRR (pronounced VER) is one of those people. In our conversations, our passion for music remains core to who we are, and I am lucky to become a witness to the rise of someone who can tap into their creativity to produce beautiful and impactful music from a unique and refreshing perspective. As an avid consumer of all things music, I am always preaching the gospel of artists not bound to the machinations of the commer- cial music consumer base and trying to seek artists that challenge my own worldview sonically and lyrical- ly. VIRR is one of those artists. Calm, cool, and collect- ed. Melanin magic and a force to be reckoned with. An artist that everyone should know about.
I proudly present to you all, our interview with the singer, songwriter, and visionary, VIRR!
HöN: So, what is your stage name and how do you pronounce it?
VIRR: “My stage name is VIRR and it’s pronounced VER.”
HöN: That is an interesting name. How did you come up with that name?
VIRR: “I was in a philosophy class in college and in this course, they reference a VIR in Latin as a “person of courage” and I was like, I really like that name. I looked it up on the internet, but someone already had that name. I thought about it, and just like my name is Tarrence, I decided to change the name. The name is in reference to my courage to get up in front of people and sing”.
HöN: That is such an interesting perspective that I was not aware of. So where are you from originally?
VIRR: "I am originally from Jacksonville, FL."
HöN: Where are you currently based out of?
VIRR: "I am currently based out of San Diego, CA."
HöN: ...and what is your Zodiac Sign for the people in the back?
HöN: How did you get to this point in your career where you are recording music and performing at shows?
VIRR: “Me finally telling myself that I was enough. Telling myself that I am enough and just doing it. Reading self-help books. I was tired of being scared. I began telling myself that if they can do it, so can I.”
HöN: What influences would you credit in creating your individual style of music?
VIRR: “I would personally describe my music as a mix between electronic and pop. I’ve been artistically inspired by artists such as Kelela, Solange (Knowles), and Frank Ocean. I’ve also been inspired by other artists such as John Legend and Creed."
HöN: Who are you listening to currently?
VIRR: "New Jeans, Jordan Rakei, Aaliyah, Tame Impala, and Victoria Monet."
HöN: How would you describe your artistic style of singing?
VIRR: "I would describe my music as a fusion of different genres of music to include influences of Kaytranada, SG Lewis, and Sould Electronic music with pop- tinged influences."
HöN: Who would you love to collaborate with artistically in the future and why?
VIRR: "Kaytranada! I feel like we would make something so melodic and smooth. We would create good music and vibes!"
HöN: What does the songwriting process look like for you?
VIRR: “It used to be more of a freestyle thing, but now it is more intentional. More about my personal experiences and how I am feeling.”
HöN: What themes or messages remain prevalent in your music?
VIRR: “My last EP was more about relationships, love, and you know, addressing issues in relationships. I also wrote a song called Savor, and it was basically about mental health and how I was just getting by. It was me talking to myself about the things I had been doing and not addressing. Putting it off and trying to be strong. It was me confronting myself and telling myself that we have a problem. About addressing the issue and to stop lying to yourself.”
HöN: How would you describe your visual aesthetic? Your imagery has always conveyed some type of emotion of thematical motif that seems very elevated and intentional.
VIRR: “Black Regality. Using my blackness as the top of the aesthetic. Using my skin as my logo. Shoutout to Solange for that. To paint myself as an ethereal being. Regal. Otherworldly. Dignified. (In reference to) how well put together black people used to look back in the day with a modern twist.”
HöN: How have you curated your visual aesthetic what is its significance to you?
VIRR: “I've curated it by involving high-quality cinematographers and photographers to ensure that the highest quality of how I present myself is on display”. It’s about the intent.”
HöN: Regarding that, what significance does color and patterns hold in crafting your visual aesthetic?
VIRR: “Color holds different meanings in different projects. Also, color is used to enhance moods and to provide visual pleasure. It helps me carry the mood that I want to convey in my music. Period.”
HöN: Having been in spaces with you in person and with some of the content that you’ve shared on social media, it is apparent that you take pretty good care of yourself and also prioritize your physical health as well as your mental. What role does fitness hold in your personal life and why?
VIRR: “Fitness plays a role in my artistry. It provides the ability to sustain my ability to continue perform- ing. My physical health feeds into my mental health. If I am feeling good, I am performing good.”
HöN: Shifting gears back to your music, please decode the meaning/significance of your latest single/project?
VIRR: “My latest single is a song called Better. Better is a song that is a plea to a lover about how I could make things better and, in the end, if there’s nothing that can make it better, then it could be whatever.”
HöN: Any upcoming projects?
VIRR: “I have a single coming out in 01 September 2023. That song is called Shelter. 30 days after that, my EP will drop. The EP will be a Late Summer vibe for California.”
HöN: What is your favorite song of yours and why is it your favorite?
VIRR: I have a song called Supernova and it is my favorite because it is a song to myself and to people that if you can stand the pressures of life, the light will last forever. (And just like a star) you can either turn into a black hole or become a supernova.
HöN: This has been such an interesting discussion. Shifting gears a little bit, I’d like to ask you a few questions regarding some more personal topics so the people can get to know you a little better. What is your favorite movie?”
VIRR: “Knock at the Cabin.”
HöN: Favorite place you’ve visited?
HöN: Favorite food?
VIRR: “I’m not even gonna hold you. Lima Beans, neckbones, and rice. I also love grits and fettuccine alfredo.”
HöN: Any hobbies?
VIRR: "Creating things and events. I can do an event DOWN! I love event planning and I also love watching some good premium programming. I love to watch TV."
HöN: Some good PREMIUM PROGRAMMING, eh?! I heard that! Do you mind sharing something about yourself that would surprise people about you?
VIRR: “I can’t sit crisscross applesauce style. I’m bowlegged and my legs don’t cross that well. I can also make a 3-leaf clover out of my tongue.”
HöN: That’s pretty unique. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who couldn’t sit like that. Ok. Where can music listeners go to hear your music?
VIRR: “All streaming services; Spotify, iTunes, Tidal.”
HöN: Gotcha. And last but not least, where can fans go to follow you on social media?
HöN: Well, there you have it! Thanks for taking the time to sit down and share your vision, art, and a bit of your personal journey with us. Looking forward to seeing more from you as you move throughout the rest of your career!
VIRR: "Thank you for this opportunity as well!"
In conclusion, VIRR is a dynamic singer and songwriter who continues to evolve artistry visually and sonically while also providing an introspective look into his inner world through his music. So notable songs to check out are Shelter, Supernova, Cold Out, Starlight, and Waves. Visit any of his social media accounts, sites, and streaming plat- forms for updates regarding new music! Images were taken by Ricky Bantog. For more regarding this photographer, please give him a like and follow him on Instagram at @rckyb.