We had the good fortune of connecting with Deb Victa and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Deb, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I heard someone once say that you can’t call yourself a true artist if you don’t always have something on your plate. Artists have to always be on the grind, always working on a project – and I was like this for a time. I was constantly pushing myself to fill my calendar with gigs, recordings, writing sessions that I barely had any time to rest and spend time with family or friends. Back then I had a day job too, so I was constantly on the go. This resulted in insomnia and frequent anxiety attacks for me. Late 2019, I was forced to slow down because my health really suffered toward the close of the year. I lost a lot of potential income because I refused to listen to my body and the advice of my loved ones to take it easy. On top of that, I got engaged and had to plan a wedding so I really needed rearrange my priorities. This allowed me to slow down and value times of rest and recreation – even mindfully adding it into my schedule if I need to. It was a great exercise in faith and learning to balance my life. It also really helped in strengthening the relationships around me, which came in handy by the time everything shut down last year due to the pandemic. While it was a tough lesson to learn, it’s definitely made me more grateful for all the little victories that come my way, and I’ve become a huge advocate for intentional rest.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve been singing almost all my life. When I was younger I often sang solos at church and my parents encouraged me to join a lot of singing contests. It was always just a hobby for me though, so I didn’t really think about making a career out of it. That was until the year 2013 when I joined the first season of my home country’s franchise of The Voice (The Voice of the Philippines). It was then I realized my passion for music and decided to give it a go full time. I quit my day job and pursued music for a year. I moved to the States not long after that and realized how cut throat the competition was, especially in LA. It was extra challenging because not only did I have to start from scratch being in a new country and all, but it felt like I was also starting a little later than everyone else. I felt so lonely then. Eventually I made friends with fellow musicians and even other Filipino artists who understood the hustle. I learned to stop viewing other artists as the competition but as colleagues who I admired and respected. They kept me inspired and they taught me that the best way to get support for your art is when you learn to support others and celebrate their successes. I’ve come a long way but it only feels like I’m just getting started. I started dabbling in songwriting a couple of years ago and released my first single (All This Time) last year, even in the middle of a pandemic. My second single, Hold On To Me is also out now and was released just earlier this year!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My husband and I have a fun walking tour in LA that we always take our friends through: The day starts out in Grand Central Market for brunch (if the line isn’t too long at Eggslut, we usually hit that one up), then we hit up the Bradbury building for some cute photos and coffee at Blue Bottle. After, we make our way up Angel’s Flight to get a good view of the city and cut through California Plaza to end up on Grand Ave. From there we could hit up MOCA or The Broad and finish the walking tour at The Walt Disney Concert hall. If our friends are looking for a little taste of Manila flavor in LA County, I’d drive them to the Artesia & Cerritos area for some authentic Filipino fare. Gerry’s Grill and The Noypitz are my usual go-to spots. You have to try the famous Gerry’s Iced Tea and Crispy Tadyang (Beef Ribs) at Gerry’s Grill! Pre-pandemic, these places were usually packed on weekends since they have amazing live music. I’m so happy that they’re slowly opening back up now. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shoutout to my parents: Val and Amy Victa. Everything I know about the world, my heritage, my faith, and who I am in light of all of that is thanks to the both of you. You gave me my voice; you taught me to stand up for myself and you taught me how to tell stories through music. I can walk in this life unafraid because you constantly believed in me and continue to support me in all my pursuits. And a huge shoutout to the Filipino community, especially those who are working hard to advocate for our culture and leave a legacy beyond our amazing food (lumpia & pancit anyone?) Your talents are world-class and your support is what keeps all of us going and inspired.
Patty Lagera & Ashley Chen