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September 2015 - Vox Vidorra

Indie soul band lives life out loud

Story by LCC Radio Reporter Sarah Spohn

Vox VidorraThe good life is just what upcoming Grand Rapids band Vox Vidorra is living. The indie rock/soul group is new to the Michigan music scene, having formed just a year ago in 2014. Their definitive funky sound is anything but amateur though.

The foursome is made up of Molly Bouwsma-Schultz, Scott Schultz, Ryan K. Wilson and Theo Ndawillie II.

Shultz spoke about the band’s name, which means “the good life” or “the life you’re meant to live” in Latin. “It’s kind of like a mission statement built right into our band name,” he said.

Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Vox Vidorra has been steadily gaining momentum and fans all around Beer City USA.

Describing their home as a creative collaboration rather than competitive, the Grand Rapids music scene is where the band met.

“The band came together at Lamplight Music Festival in Grand Rapids in the fall of 2013,” Schultz said. “Molly and I were playing a show there and we met Theo for the first time, whose former band was playing there. Molly and I had been playing music with Ryan for some time and the addition of Theo felt completely natural and it blossomed into a great four-part band and friendship when we started rehearsing early in 2014.”

Regularly performing at The Pyramid Scheme, the band celebrated one of its career highlights when they got the chance to play the Frederik Meijer Gardens in July.

“We brought the string quartet that we recorded with to perform live with us,” Schultz said. “That extra layer of musicality makes the songs shine that much more and is an absolute job to play with on stage. We hope for more of that in the future,” he added.

The music is the heart of the band after all. It’s not about the fortune or the fame for this group; it’s just about the feelings.

Self-described as a combination of soul, jazz, blues and the feeling of Motown, Vox Vidorra is a complex soundscape.

“We like that our sound isn’t neatly categorize-able because it really does move from song to song,” Schultz said. “We use the word ‘soul’ not only because it’s highly influential music to us from the ‘60s and ‘70s, but as a guiding light on how to write music with one another.”

In fact, soul and the feeling of the song take stage front and center in Vox Vidorra’s writing process.

“If we don’t ‘feel it,’ it doesn’t matter – it’s gotta come from a deeply emotional and spiritual (place) otherwise it’s not coming from the soul,” Schultz said.

Vox VidorraWhile Motown Hitsville USA is nearly two and a half hours away from Grand Rapids, it’s the camaraderie of that musical community the band can get on board with. That’s not to say creativity is lacking in any way from their hometown though.

“One thing we love about Grand Rapids is the amount of creative talent we get to work with – and they’re all our neighbors,” Schultz said. “We’ve got a big city talent in a pretty small, tight-knit community.”

Utilizing the surrounding talent pool, the band’s music video for “We’re So Lonely,” was shot by John Hanson and DJ Viernes of Symmetry Films and is fairing well on YouTube. The rest of their debut album, Promise Land, has also gotten a positive response.

“We’re seeing more and more new faces at shows and people singing along, which is absolutely great,” Schultz said. “We would love to bring that response out of Grand Rapids, but for a new band to have this much hometown support has been nothing but positive.”

It’s the live-show energetic atmosphere that Vox Vidorra is becoming known for, but it’s something that often go un-noticed thanks to technology. It’s no secret that with the advances of technology, the music industry has totally changed. What was once the goal of ‘making it’ as selling albums, or songs becoming platinum, has now translated to how many times a song has been streamed online.

Vox Viddora, while thankful for technology, still appreciates enjoy life ‘in the now,’ sans live-tweeting about it in the current.

Schultz spoke about a recent concert-going trip in which the reality of cell-phone dependent generations hit hard.

“Molly and I were at Stevie Wonder’s ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ performance at the Palace of Auburn Hills last winter. Our seats were pretty far back, but it was an absolutely flawless, brilliant performance by Stevie and his 30-plus person band. But looking down into the crowd, we just saw a sea of glowing screens and saw several people directly in front of us scrolling through their Facebooks throughout the performance. “

“And you can’t help but question: why aren’t you just here? Why let yourself be distracted? Why can’t you just get lost in the performance and take it all in? What does it take to engage with art in 2015?”

Vox VidorraEngagement is just another part of what makes Vox Vidorra one of the brightest to recently arise from the Michigan music scene.

“It’s all about engagement. Art isn’t going anywhere – its part of being human and as old as humanity itself. When people are engaged, they do more than just listen to the music- they’re feeding off one another’s energy and giving it back to the performers themselves.”

Regardless if money comes in or goes out, the band is sure on one thing: music is what they love. Lives will be surely spent living the way they were meant to, Vox Vidorra style.

“We’d all love to make a living off of what we love doing- because that is and should be possible, but really we concert ourselves with just creating,” Schultz said.” Success comes with being proud of the music we make together. No pipe dreams necessary.”


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