Victoria Vox (Victoria Maher, née Davitt) is an award-winning songwriter and performer. Originally from Green Bay, WI, Vox has lived in France, England, Nashville, Baltimore, and now resides in Costa Mesa, CA.
Vox is an 'ukulele-toting award-winning songwriter and performer. With a passion for songwriting since she was 10, (first on keyboard, then on guitar), she studied at the Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA) and in 2003, she took up the ukulele as her main accompaniment. Since the release of her first ukulele album in 2006 (... and her Jumping Flea), Vox has been one of the leading songwriters on the ukulele scene (Ukulele Magazine, front cover + feature article). However, she straddles into the folk scene as well, where she has opened for Jackson Browne, Tom Chapin, Leo Kottke, and Cheryl Wheeler. She performs mostly as a one-woman-band, incorporating a loop pedal and bass effect on her ukulele, while taking her own solos (on mouth-trumpet), and cutting through it all with her genuine lyrics and pure voice.
A stage name can be a becoming thing. "Vox" (in latin) means voice, and along with her care for the environment (1% for the Planet Member), she has written and donated songs to the American Aspergers Association and the Duchenne Foundation.
On a lighter note, she also has perfected the Mouth-Trumpet which, to some, is considered a form of "beat-boxing". Vox takes improvisational solos echoing the tones of trumpet genius, Chet Baker, solely with her voice. This odd and quirky talent, nonetheless, landed her on the Jay Leno Show (2009) and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal (2015).
2018 welcomes the release of her new album, "Colorful Heart". It's whimsical and eclectic and full of heart.
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Why do you play the ukulele and how long have you been playing?
I was given a ukulele in 2003 and decided it might be a good idea to really learn it. I bought a beginner ukulele book and immediately was inspired by it's sweet tone and rhythmic potential. I practiced at home, but never played it publicly. One day my mom suggested that I play it at my shows (which I played the guitar). After giving every excuse in the book of why I shouldn't, she then bought me a uke (with a pick-up for amplification) and there was nothing else I could say. I began performing 2 - 3 ukulele songs during my set. From the first strum, the room would lighten up and everyone was smiling. Eventually, people started asking about a ukulele album. I recorded my first uke album in 2005: Victoria Vox and her Jumping Flea.
What is the Mouth-Trumpet?
The Mouth Trumpet is a vocal "instrument" in which the singer emulates the sound of a trumpet.
I started "playing" the mouth trumpet in 2005, while I was driving my car and writing the song, "My Darlin' Beau". It's a jazzy tune with room for a solo. Since I often perform SOLO, I began to think of sounds that I could possibly make that were interesting or believable. I talked myself into trying something, anything, as I was alone in the car. I happened to gently close my mouth, sing, and "blow" the note out of the corner of my mouth. I surprised myself and figured I was on to something. I played the real trumpet in high school, so I figured it might work!
I began practicing my mouth trumpet to Chet Baker, memorizing his solos and licks. When I listened to the radio, I focused on what the horns were doing. At a Mexican restaurant, I'd get lost in the trumpets and their staccato notes. My tone got better and my phrasing improved over time. In 2009, other performers started asking me to play my "mouth-trumpet" during their song (on stage) and take a "solo". That's when I knew I reached a new level of mouth-trumpeting.
I was then discovered by the producers at the Jay Leno Show. That was pretty awesome to mouth trumpet to the masses... and I got to meet John Travolta backstage :) It was quirky little talent that started getting some attention and I stuck with it.
I continued to perfom mouth trumpet during shows at the solo breaks, and also record them in studios for the album. In the recording studio, I also rediscoverd the real trumpet too. On my record KEY (2013), I played all REAL trumpet.. However, when I play those tunes live, I replace the real trumpet with my mouth trumpet.
Fast forward to 2015 when I was discovered by the Wall Street Journal! They did a GREAT article on the history of the mouth trumpet and featured me and music, as a current performer excelling at it! To this day, I love taking solos during the solo break. It's my way of improvising, using my voice, but not getting wrapped up in words. It's kind of like scatting, but cooler.
Mouth Trumpet Example - live w/ Kipyn Martin and Heather Aubrey Lloyd
All of Victoria's ukes are outfitted with Mi-Si Pickups (Needham, MA) - battery free technology for acoustic amplification
Victoria's Peddle Board includes these pedals:
LR Baggs Venue D.I.
Boss RC-30 Loop Station
Shure Beta 58 Microphone (for performance)