Story by: Michelle Botello
Grammy nominated Victor Orlando is a spiritual Christian-minded percussionist that is taking the spotlight with his amazing congas. Orlando began his musical career in Dallas, Texas in 1970. It wasn't until he came to Los Angeles in 1977 that he realized he had a special talent to make it in the industry.
Becoming one with others is a big part of the role for Victor, as he performed with the Gap Band, Yardbrough & Peoples, Goodie, Ozone, Billie Preston, Buddy Miles, Chaka Kahn, Larry Dunn of EWF, Greg Walker of Santana, Pete Escovedo and Shiela E., and others.
What drove him to choose percussions he said, “I started playing the drums in a marching band, then a kit, but moved to Congas in the Jazz Band. There were too many drummers and one chair. Only one thing left were a pair of Congas and I went for it.”
Orlando said, “Let God resolve them and keep moving forward” when it's time to perform in front of a live audience. To overcome industry challenges he said, “In 1995 at the Funk Festival at the Los Angeles Coliseum it was a thrill to play for someone I knew of, but never thought I would get the chance to play with. Bobby Watson, bassist from Rufus, took me to soundcheck and told Chaka Khan I wanted to play with her, and she recognized me from Gap Band days and said, get your stuff and come on!”
"The year that Orlando experienced performing with the Gap Band was a thrill. Orlando said, I went on tour with Goodie Yarbrough &Peoples, and the Gap Band in 1983."
"Charlie Wilson saw me play and asked me to join up with them also. I was playing with three groups on one show. It was fun and sometimes crazy times, but all well-worth it. I had a ball performing, what was to become the Blueprint of Historic Funk Music, by an amazing band lead by Charlie Wilson. "We got to dress up and play great music. It was outstanding, lol!”
“When I played Dallas, Texas and Charlie called my name for my solo at home, yeah, that was so cool!” Orlando has had amazing audiences and the biggest audience he said, “Europe, with the Gap Band, there were literally thousands in attendance.”
A memorable moment that stuck with him Orlando while he was on tour, he said, “Riding around the country in buses with the Gap Band, Yarbrough & Peoples, Goodie, Andre Cymone, Klymaxx, Keith Sweat, Dougie Fresh, and others.”
One of the funniest moments is when " We left Charlie Wilson at a truck stop in his robe, and nobody new it until the next morning. No one did a "head count" and left him in the restroom. His 3 brothers didn't even know he wasn't on the bus. No band, just them" said, Victor.
Orlando's most recent performances said he, “Just finished the Cinco de Mayo Festival, with the tribute to the Music of Santana, with former lead singer from Santana, Greg Walker, the International Jazz Day Festival, playing tribute to the music of Mandrille. Now headed to San Francisco for a few dates including L.A., and then off to the U.K."
Orlando tells, “People would be shocked to know an amazing truth, I never have smoked, drank, or did any drugs in my entire career, over 45 years, but....I ain't perfect. I love my Dr. Pepper's, Krispy Kreme Donuts, and my soul food, and I love my five kids and four great grand kids to the moon and back.”