Interview with vocalist Victoria Vizhanska Spring 2022 The Misfit Toys have had member changes from the very start and given time it is likely every band will change membership. At the very beginning the band itself was conceived as a 'backing band' for Elizabeth much the way Debbie Harry had a backing band of 'Blondie' or the long list of band mates who backed Linda Ronstadt, Alice Cooper or dozens of other bands. The question will always be one of whether a band can exist purely on the abilities of its front man and just where the point of overlap is.In the case of The Misfit Toys the band was indeed formed to back Elizabeth only she was more than the singer alone. She wrote the lyrics to all of the songs she sang and in addition played percussion in the form of calves, tambourine, maracas, wood block, Roto-Toms and castanets. She also played keyboards on a majority of the songs and in the studio sang back vocals to herself. When the band decided to record another album in 2019 the membership was simple enough since the band who wore the moniker The Misfit Toys in 1986 through 1999 was undoubtedly the best as far as fans believed. In the following years some hair had become gray while other had vanished but musical taste and talent had remained pretty much the same. Unlike many bands there had never been a break up involving harsh words or violence. There were no fights over royalties, contracts or residuals and certainly no swapping of spouses. In fact the break up and mending of the Misfit Toys on the surface all seem pretty mediocre.When bassist Ed Fusco wanted to put another version of the band together in 2017 the key band member he was unable to immediately find was a drummer. That was a first since 1984.The band was never for Ed but somehow it became an extension of him. Putting a band together was not something new for him and he had done so several times. Maybe it was his personality and his ability to sell an idea to people or possibly it was an innate desire in so many people to be in a band and be apart of the creation process involved in making music. The bands he was in prior to The Misfit Toys were basically cover bands but few bands begin by playing all original material.Elizabeth was never considered for her looks before her musical talent any more than Dennis or Mike. When it comes down to it, no one can see the person while they are performing in a studio and only a few can see performers on the stage so a musician's appearance really has little bearing on their talent but age presents a perception, especially when it comes to women that is difficult to shake. The band had split and so had the marriage between Ed and Elizabeth but each division simply created another union. Behind everything in life there remained the music of The Misfit Toys. It never went away and it seemed that someone was continually discovering our music. It didn't hurt matters when I decided to make music videos and post them to "Youtube". The Misfit Toys was born to a new generation.Without promotion and no real reason for people to look for videos by the band it was strictly a gamble that anyone might find our videos to watch. The music hadn't lost anything through the years and was just as timely as it had ever been so once more it called us to record. A new vocalist didn't seem to be a problem. The expanse of years was also not an issue so it was simply a matter of rehearsing the songs and recording them.Now the time has come again to record Misfit Toys songs.
Enter Victoria Vizhanska. Victoria, who likes to use the name "Victory" as a stage name appears to be much like any other teenaged girl her age. Years ago she might have stood out because of her orange/red hair but since the fad of hair coloring grabbed a hold of young and old there is little unusual about green or pink hair. She blends into a room of people, though wide eyed she gives the appearance of someone keenly aware of everything going on around her. How did a girl so young become the voice for the Misfit Toys ? The path was not too unusual.When Ed, Mike and Dennis decided to record together once more the question of a vocalist naturally came up. Mike and Dennis had never stopped performing live or recording since their last venture as The Misfit Toys and Ed had gone for long stretches without playing but was confident he would 'catch up' once he had a project to devote himself to. Their former vocalist Elizabeth was now 62 and had no interest in singing with the band once more. The natural course to follow was to advertise for a vocalist and see what an ad could turn up.Ed interviewed several vocalist local to where he lived. Most who contacted him had experiences in genres' such as Country or heavy metal. he tried to find someone who sang closer to Debbie Harry or Grace Slick. He spoke with several Youtube posters but generally found that no one wanted to sing originals. One local vocalist seemed to fit close enough to what they needed but she proved to be highly unreliable and after a year of waiting on her to learn a first song he gave up on her and looked elsewhere.He next contacted an online agency who supply musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers and every other aspect of recording a song or album. Here he found several prospects whose demo recordings gave hope they could do justice to Misfit Toys songs. The objective in releasing a new album of material was to be heard around the world. Music as a business had changed since the band's last release however something simply could not change. The type of music written and performed by The Misfit Toys was now experiencing a degree of popularity around the world. Through Youtube several people had contacted Ed for more information or to praise what they heard from the band. In Brazil a man contacted Ed to say he had copied a cassette tape a friend had in order to have his own copy of "The Ordinary" a song that had been released on a 12 inch single in 1988 and as a music video on Youtube.Other than this taking place in Brazil it was not a huge surprise. While appearing for a live on air interview late one night the interview was interrupted by a person who upon hearing that Ed and Elizabeth were at the radio station drove to the station and managed to find an unlocked door to let him in. From there he wandered the studio searching for the room where the interview was taking place. The DJ found the story difficult to believe but the man told the story of how he had recorded the interview that included several studio tracks several years prior. When he heard Elizabeth was there in Annapolis at that very hour he simply had to meet her and see how he could get a copy of the studio recordings. He wasn't disappointed. The man in Brazil shared his newly acquired song files which Ed sent as a Thank You to a fan. In the late 1980's bootleg tape traders included two songs by the Banshees that the Misfit Toys covered. Money is nice and it certainly would be nice to make money from the efforts expended in writing and recording as Misfit Toys but the objective of being heard and liked by people around the world stood out. When performing live, whether in the DC area or many hours away The Misfit Toys always spent more money on promotions and advertising than what they earned in total from the shows. The idea was to generate a general identification of the band with the city (Washington D.C. ), to identify the vocalist with the band name and to generate a general impression that The Misfit Toys stayed busy performing up and down the coast. It was believed that this would pay us back ten fold once we caught the eye and ear of a record label A&R agent. The agents would be able to hear the quality of the band's writing and performance and then with a few inquires would likely believe that the band stayed busy performing and all around would be a worthwhile investment for a label.So the online agency became our choice for finding a new vocalist. The first choice priced herself far beyond what could be budgeted to hire her and the second choice lacked a 'feel' for our music. Nest came this young girl who lived in Kiev, Ukraine and had a hard fascination for the band ' Queen '. She sang with a comfortable familiarity of microphones and instruments. She had a Youtube channel in her name and it was here that she posted a new video about every two weeks. Many were Queen covers and not really what most young women would choose to cover. We made contact, received an audition recording and the three of us agreed on having her join the band. We sent/send her a new song to learn and record at roughly two per month so it has been slow going. Of course having a war break out in your country and living near ground zero for most important targets tends to throw a wrench in anyone's plans. She and he mother eventually moved to Poland and have been there since, waiting for the all clear sign to let them know it is safe to go home.At this point in time her recordings are nearly completed. She has recorded 14 songs in a local recording studio and sent them to us where we have made a rough mix of the songs. Some of the songs are beautiful and I can't wait to have them heard by old fans and new. There is a lot of powerful emotions in the songs that Victory captures like a veteran of heartbreaks.Now I'd like to introduce you to Victory.Our new vocalist goes by the stage name of "Victory" and has set her sights on making a career out of singing and entertaining. While most musicians 'pay their dues' by performing in nearly empty beer joints with little room to move and very little if any pay. Victoria is still quite young but as fate has it she is paying her dues by having Russia attack the city where she lives, forcing an evacuation into Poland.Victory was born and lives in Kyiv, Ukraine. From her many music videos she has the ability to appear as a young girl skipping through life without a care. In other videos the director brings out the more sultry side of her as a young woman. Victory comes to us like an excited songbird. Her initial excitement in joining The Misfit Toys was somewhat squashed by the death and destruction in her country. Gradually she has acclimated to life as a refugee in Poland. Her popularity on Youtube is undiminished by her present situation and when a new video is posted it quickly garners tens of thousands of views and older videos show hundreds of thousands of views. When interviewing her for the position of vocalist we neglected to ask her age and it wasn't long after she began recording for us that she celebrated her seven-teenth birthday. There is a lot of ground to cover in an interview for someone so young, fortunately for us her English is excellent.
She or someone for her, maintains a channel on YouTube where she posts videos of her doing covers at a rate of around one per month. Since unlicensed performance of covers can not be monetized there is no payment from YouTube every time a video is watched. To make up for this she generally has a plea for those who like her videos to send her money, usually by becoming a patron. Due to the large number of supporters she and her mother are able to live without working a 9-5 job. When Victoria sang for the Misfit Toys she was paid well for each song. Because of the war going on around her it wasn't possible for her to do multiple takes on the songs after we had reviewed them. The usual way would be for me as producer to evaluate her track and determine if it wold work and what needed to be corrected. Since we did not have that luxury our engineer had to pitch correct and cut and paste edit her track so that pitch and timing were correct.We left alone where she mispronounced words or mis-read them. The songs on this album "Closure" are about the dark side of love.They express emotions that are unfamiliar to a 17 year old Ukraine girl living a sheltered life so we had to allow her some leeway. On several songs she shines and on some others she needed direction that was not available so far away. She sings particularly well on "The Haunt" "Destiny" "I can't Go" and "Swept Away". While recording for Misfit Toys Victoria was also recording for other people as well as recording her videos. As a result she was unable to devote time to actually 'learn' our songs and feel that which gives them depth and sets the Misfit Toys apart from other bands. We still have around a half dozen songs that she sang on in our archive of unreleased material and time will tell whether we have someone else re-do the vocals.
Q: As a seventeen year old Ukrainian vocalist you have been riding a wave of high viewership on YouTube performing all covers. All of this without a band and no sign of ebbing. It is very impressive. How long ago did you begin your adventure in singing ?
A: "I began at age ten and my whole life has been music. At the age of nine I was on stage cast in a play about Maryln Monroe. It was then that I realized I was born to be a star. As I grew up I met a lot of other people and was introduced to other styles of music than musicals.
Q: Did you receive any encouragement from friends, family or teachers ?
A: "I had a voice coach for one year but the teacher had a bad attitude so I left her." As a student my teachers were very negative and tried to discourage me from working toward my ambition ". "My mother stepped up and told me that she believed in me and encouraged me to prove myself on "the world stage." "The entire world is my stage and only there can I relax and be the person I want to be''. She is confident that by being onstage she will receive the love just from her being herself. She said "Being onstage is euphoria". She believes that success onstage is the greatest thing that can happen in her life. In her words "music makes her feel pretty".
Q: She told me she has seen the semi-fictional biography movie on Freddy Mercury five times and she continues to find it inspiring. She desires a life built upon the framework of music. How does a young girl plan to succeed at an enormous task such as following in Freddy Mercury's foot steps ?
A: "I will work hard for fame and glory and never give up."
Q: Aside from your fascination with the music of Queen which other bands have you covered ?
A: "Recently I covered a Sheryl Crow song "Walk in the Sun". Two months ago I sang "Behind Blue Eyes'' and three years ago I sang an Elvis Presley song " Can't help falling in Love". "More than only singing words doing covers involves vocalizing what the song is saying."
Q: You officially became the vocalist for the Misfit Toys in January 2020 and then a short time later evacuated from Kyiv because the Russians were detonating rockets close to where you lived in the city center.
A: Yes, I did not believe Putin would do this. For a long time we were aware of the political games involving a lot of money. For now we are safe but we look forward to returning home."
Q: You have been recording locally and sending the voice files all the way to America to be added to the mix. I understand you have supplied vocals for other musicians prior to working as a Misfit Toy. You are still very young but have things changed for you by making remote recordings instead of with the band present?
A: "I have learned that singing covers is more than only singing words. It is vocalizing what the song is saying."
An interview at age 15..... https://musicauthentic.com/2020/08/22/victory-vizhanska-is-set-to-take-over-the-worldstage-following-her-idol-freddie-mercury/