Dallas, Texas native and percussionist Victor Orlando says he “backdoored his way into music.”
He started playing drums in the high school marching band and was inspired by seeing the congas upfront at Woodstock. The power of the drum, in Orlando’s own words, “hooked him.”
Being of part Puerto Rican descent, he didn’t originally understand the cultural influence of the drums and how they connected across the African diaspora.
However, he would find meaning in what he was doing later in life. That revelation included the idea that “God put the Tree of Life on the planet,” said Orlando, “and a drum is nothing, but a tree hollowed out with a piece of skin on top of it.”
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In his own understanding, Orlando believes, “God blessed him to play the very first instrument.”
Initially, Idris Muhammad, Art Blakely, and Billy Cobham were some of his early inspirations.
Then, when he saw Santana in the 1969 Woodstock film and the conga drummer upfront next to him, he had an eye-opening moment: “Okay, that’s me, and this is what I should be doing.”
His attention would then go to Armando Perazza, Raul Rekow, Tito Puente, and Pete Escovedo.
He watched all those performers and created his own “Victor Orlando” style.
Orlando would later receive a call from Escovedo and his famous daughter, Sheila E., to play for them. In the early days of actualizing his dream, Orlando says, he was dissuaded from fully pursuing a career in music by his own parents and his in-laws.
With a new wife and baby, they felt a regular nine-to-five would be the safest route. However, Orlando followed his passion. Then in 1982, when he began performing with the Gap Band, that’s when the naysayers knew Orlando was making a mark for himself as a musician.
Orlando says that they were even asking him for concert tickets.
Now after playing percussions for some of the greatest stars in music like Yarbrough & Peoples, Tupac, Buddy Miles, Billy Preston, Teena Marie, Shanice, Bobby Womack, LL Cool J, Chaka Khan, and so many more, Orlando walks to the beat of his own drum.
He created the multi-Grammy nominated CD “N Da House” — seven Grammy nominations to be exact — which brought Orlando acclaim as a producer and composer.
After being diagnosed and making a full recovery from cancer, Orlando was moved to write the gospel-inspired song, “Be Ready” with long-time friend Tony Grant on vocals.
Grant provided the vocals on two additional tracks, “The Passage” and “Time 2 Party.” These tracks will appear on his to-be-released sophomore album along with four or more other songs.
Orlando professes that he never knew this was in him. But, now he tells young artists charting his course to understand that “whatever God has put in you will come out sooner or later.”
For information on Victor Orlando, visit www.victororlando.com for more music and Facebook.com/victororlando. “Be Ready” is available on https://victororlando.com or iTunes, eMusic, Spotify, CD Baby, and most of your favorite online music stores.