Vory: June R&B/Hip-Hop Rookie of the Month
When Vory walks into a room, it’s nearly impossible to miss him. The Houston-born, Louisville-raised talent stands at a towering 6 feet 5 inches, sports a sleek and fashionable all-black ensemble 90% of the time, and has a mysterious aura that is more enticing than it is cryptic. However, if it were up to him, he’d rather blend in and not draw too much attention.
As Vory’s fame only continues to broaden, curious fans are itching to know more and more about the multi-faceted artist who has some of the biggest placements of the year yet hardly ever posts on his social media accounts. Vory has been releasing music since 2016, but his resume has gotten exponentially more prolific within the last few years.
By age 21, he earned a Grammy thanks to his writing credits on Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s 2018 song “Friends.” Along the way, Meek Mill took Vory under his wing and welcomed him into the Dreamchasers family. In 2021, Vory appeared throughout Kanye West’s Grammy-Winning album Donda, locking in features on “Jonah,” “God Breathed,” and “No Child Left Behind.” Vory and Kanye then doubled down on their musical chemistry on Donda 2’s “Lord Lift Me Up.”
Still, the only answers you’ll get from Vory about who he truly is are through his music — just how he wants it — where he speaks on everything people may have ever wanted to know. Relationship woes, stories from his upbringing that left scars, and even direct name-drops of people he has unsettled conflicts with.
Vory’s freshly released Lost Souls album will take you deep into the hurt he still holds onto. “Feels like January 12, 2018, last time that my momma cried/ Just touched down on an island with Meek when I found out my granny died,” he sings on “Project Baby.” The quivering, pain-filled delivery will make any listener understand how he’s feeling, but a deeper dive into his catalog will drive home how deep the wounds truly are.
On Vory’s 2016 project Overdose, he opened up about having to step up for the women in his family at a very young age. “Lost my brother to the streets when I was thirteen, for the pain a n—a started sippin codeine/ Made man of the house when I was fourteen,” he rapped on “Pain.”
“I just had to grow up faster,” he tells Billboard about how what he went through affects the way he moves today. “I be feeling like I’m 40, 50 years old sometimes.”
Though only 24 years old, Vory carries himself like a man who has lived a hundred lives. Equipped with his unique sound, wisdom beyond his years, and plenty more work he wants to get done, the young artist is only scratching the surface of his potential.
Vory stopped by Billboard to discuss his new Lost Souls album, his connection with Kanye West, and why he feels like he hasn’t made it yet. Check out the full conversation below.
What would you say is the biggest change between your 2020 project, VORY, and your new project, Lost Souls?
The production. Life stories. Everything, honestly. The space I was in at the top 2020 was a completely different space than I was in to create this one. I’ve just seen more by now, and was able to pull from more experiences.
Do you have a favorite studio session or most memorable moment while crafting this project?
Yes, when I was coming up with the title. I didn’t come up with it actually, Kanye did. I was calling the project Lost Angels at first, because I had a song [that referenced the name]. That was the plan. I was in San Francisco and it was in a room with me, him, Kim [Kardashian], Tyler, The Creator, and Don Toliver. Originally, Kanye was supposed to executive produce the project but his schedule was everywhere. He really wanted to do it, but I just really wanted to get the project out soon.
I was calling it Lost Angels, because I had a song on it where I say, “Take the ‘e’ out of Los Angeles, now she’s a lost angel.” And I feel like Lost Angels is something that stuck with me. But Kanye said, “Why don’t you call it ‘Lost Souls?’” I thought about it, and with “angels” you’re kind of [directing] it towards a certain thing. Souls is more universal, because we are all lost.
I remember you and Kanye had a similar moment for “No Child Left Behind” on his album, and it was you who wound up naming the song. You guys just seem to fill in those creative gaps for each other.
Yeah, Kanye initially wanted to make the song theme, ”‘Never abandon your child.” He was speaking about percentages of abortions and a lot of other things. I suggested making the title another phrase, more of a quote. We just understand each other really well. I probably did that song in like five minutes.
Speaking of Lost Souls, in your title track, you say, “She move to a city where everybody is somebody, she’s a nobody, wanna be a somebody.” Were you referring to anybody in particular?
I used to stay in L.A. for like four or five years. I’ve just seen it so many times: You come out here, you got your head on straight. Then, the next thing you know, you see the person two months later, they’re just lost. They get so caught up in other people’s lifestyles and they don’t even know who they are anymore. So, it wasn’t anybody in particular but it was because I’ve seen it so many times.
Fans can’t really find much about you online. Is that intentional?
Kind of, and I was actually just talking to a friend about that this week. There’s not much out there about me — but if you listen to my music, you’ll hear what you need to hear.
You’ve worked with the best of the best: Jay-Z, Drake, Kanye, and the list goes on. Do you have any moment so far that you feel was your “Wow, I made it” moment?
I honestly don’t have any moments that made me feel like that. If anything, I helped them with their moments. I’ll feel it when I have it for myself. This Lost Souls album isn’t the moment either. I do think it’s a great album, for sure. But as an artist and creator, you know when you have that one. You feel it. I’m fully satisfied with it, yes, but I still don’t have that feeling that it’s the one.
I don’t really think anybody should assume their project is going to be that one. You’re setting the expectation yourself, so when you don’t meet that, you think you’ve failed. I just go in knowing every project is going to do what God wants it to do. Who knows? Only God knows.
At this time last year, what headspace were you in?
I think I was in Miami. I don’t really get excited much. Every time I accomplish something, I’m like, “What’s next?”
Do you think there’s a reason for that?
I’m not ready to celebrate. In my eyes, I haven’t really accomplished anything just yet. I just want more. A lot of people will have one accomplishment and celebrate for a month. I’m not really like that, to be honest. I think a lot of people talk just to be talking. I just kind of want the talent to speak more for itself.
Vory: June R&B/Hip-Hop Rookie of the Month When Vory walks into a room, it’s nearly impossible to miss him. The Houston-born, Louisville-raised talent stands at a towering 6 feet 5 inches, sports a sleek and fashionable all-black ensemble 90% of the time, and has a mysterious aura that is more enticing than it is cryptic. However,…