William Victor Simms, known as Vic Simms and Vicki Simms, is an Australian singer and song writer. He is from La Perouse, New South Wales and is a Bidjigal man.
His singing career began at age 12 at the Manly Jazzorama Music Festival in 1957, soon after Col Joye heard him as an 11 year old singing at a football social. He released his first single (as "Vicki Simms"), "Yo-Yo Heart" (Festival Records) at age 15. He performed with Johnny O'Keefe, Shirley Bassey and Robie Porter among other prominent singers.
After getting into alcohol and committing a robbery he was sent to prison. Whilst incarcerated in the notorious Bathurst Gaol he learnt how to play guitar and started writing songs. In 1973 his music was heard by a Robin Hood Foundation and they sent a tape to RCA who organised to have him record an album. This album was recorded in one hour with a mobile studio in the prison dining room and was released as The Loner. It has been described as "Australia's great lost classic album of black protest music". After the release of the album he was sent on tours of other prisons, shopping malls and the Sydney Opera House as an example of a model prisoner. After he was convinced he was being used he refused to continue the shows.
After his release from prison he reentered the entertainment industry. He has toured Australian prisons and in 1990 he toured Canada with Roger Knox and Bobby McLeod where they played in prisons and on reservations. In 1996 he released a covers album "From The Heart".
Simms was given a Deadly in 2001 for Outstanding Contribution to Aboriginal Music.
In 2009 his album, The Loner, was added to the National Film and Sound Archive's Sounds of Australia registry. In 2013 it was re-released by Sandman records.
In June 2015 "Selections From the Loner" will be released by Painted Ladies, with songs from the album will re-recorded by artists including Luke Peacock, Paul Kelly and Vic Simms himself.
Simms sang "Stranger in My Country", in both the SBS documentary and accompanying cd, Buried Country: The Story of Aboriginal Country Music.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license