Local singer V says there are not many iconic male singers in our society. He hopes to change that with his music about love, identity and acceptance. MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTOS
Holmesburg’s Wil Viozzi aka V (The Phoenix) loves entertainers Elton John, Prince and Freddie Mercury because of their signature voices, looks and stage presence.
And when you’re talking about female performers, he points to Lady Gaga as someone who displays those same characteristics.
Now, he thinks it’s time for a new musical star who can wow the public.
“The mission for myself is to bring back the iconic, legendary, male pop star,” he said.
V, who says he has an obsession with music, wants to be that man.
The 24-year-old grew up on Blakiston Street. He attended St. Dominic Elementary School, where he was talented enough to be chosen as cantor during Sunday Mass.
At Father Judge High School, he was involved in theater, playing the lead roles of Ren in Footloose and Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
He earned a theater scholarship to Point Park University in Pittsburgh but left after a year. He also spent a year at Berklee College of Music in Boston before realizing his true passion.
“Performing is my favorite thing to do,” he said.
He created a demo album but “hated” it so much that he buried it in his back yard. Then it was back to Berklee for another year.
He woke up one morning last October and told his parents he was moving to New York City. He didn’t have a plan, let alone a place to sleep. He even spent time at a homeless shelter before couch-hopping at friends’ apartments.
Although he was living a gypsy lifestyle, the good news was that he was doing what he loved.
“I was performing every day,” he said.
A favorite place to play was Goodbye Blue Monday in Brooklyn. His preferred song was the original rock dance tune Dirty Little Secrets.
Born William Matthew Viozzi, he was called Billy as a kid and later Wil. His professional moniker is now V.
“It’s easy to remember. I felt V was very powerful and legendary,” he said.
V came back to Philadelphia in April for a temporary stay, and has entertained at open mic nights at World Cafe Live.
A part-time model who plans a move soon to Los Angeles or back to New York, V has written more than 400 songs over the years.
The songs include some written during all-night brainstorming sessions. He has lined up a producer/engineer and hopes to release an album. He’s considering 30 songs for an album that will be titled The Murders of Love.
The sooner the album is finished, the better, he said.
“I want to get it done and start my career. I think I’m completely ready,” he said.
The album will feature dance and pop songs that revolve around falling in and out of love and the pain, heartbreak and devastation of breakups in relationships. The tunes were meant to be therapeutic to V and listeners.
“It’s OK to be heartbroken. You will rise again,” he said.
V has always identified with the phoenix, the mythological figure that ignites and burns and is reduced to ashes before rising again. He wears red makeup and elaborate costumes befitting his active imagination, and thinks that look will translate well into music videos.
The entertainer has been promoting himself on social networking sites and on YouTube.
As V eyes an album release, he is working on a three-track demo with acclaimed producer/engineer Steve “Mr. Mig” Migliore.
Soon, he hopes to build name recognition within the industry and eventually “inspire the universe.”
“My ambition is to get signed to a major label. I want to be a major pop star. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do since I was little,” he said. “I’m not the phoenix yet, I’m waiting to become it.” ••
To view live recordings or for more information, go to sweetbirdsing.wix.com/vthephoenixmusic or www.youtube.com/vthephoenixmusic