Some songwriters embrace the form as a means of escape, writing from the point of view of imagined characters to place a degree of emotional distance between art and artist. This is not the case with Nashville singer and songwriter Adia Victoria, who foremost embraces music as a means of telling her own story.

Some songwriters embrace the form as a means of escape, writing from the point of view of imagined characters to place a degree of emotional distance between art and artist. This is not the case with Nashville singer and songwriter Adia Victoria, who foremost embraces music as a means of telling her own story.

"I started writing music when I was 21, and since then I've been digesting the world around me via music," said Victoria, 30, who visits Rumba Cafe for a concert on Saturday, Aug. 13. "It's how I come to terms with a lot of things in my day-to-day life that I'm not necessarily afforded the space to deal with. Music's allowed me to create space to deal with a lot of things in my life."

This includes everything from her religious background - Victoria was raised a Seventh-day Adventist and received her earliest exposure to music performing in church (she has since drifted from the faith) - to her Southern roots. Raised in South Carolina near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Victoria grew up with an acute awareness of the region's conflicted racial history, which surfaces in songs like "Stuck in the South," a swampy, slow-burning cut off the singer's 2016 debut long-player, Beyond the Bloodhounds. "I don't know nothin' 'bout Southern Belles," she drawls atop bluesy guitar. "But I can tell you something 'bout Southern hell / When your skin give 'em cause / To take and take."

"There were a lot of issues in the South that were never dealt with or acknowledged. We just put a rug over it and tried our best to move on. And I think it deserves a little bit more than that," Victoria said. "There's an ugly side to the history here I have to contend with. And it's hard loving something you know has this very savage side to it. I've learned a lot about myself through my relationship with the South, as well. I learned I'm messy, too. Anything that humans have touched is a mess, and there's a beauty in that. We can make a lot of art from that."

Even the title of Victoria's debut draws inspiration from this troubled past, culled from Harriet Ann Jacobs' autobiographical 1861 novel "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl." "[The novel] set me on a path to wanting to know more about my ancestors and the women who came before me that I don't know about because of slavery," said Victoria, who happened upon the book in the library, drawn in by the title printed on its spine. "I wanted to pay my respect to her strength and her cunning and her genius. She was able to foil the system of slavery and get out and survive it."

Early on, Victoria gravitated toward poetry as a means of expression after hearing "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep" recited in grade school and becoming mesmerized with the way the words went together. "I started writing from there," she said, eventually releasing a collection of poetry under the title "Lonely Language Vol. 1."

With music, it's been a more gradual process, first of learning guitar and then of learning to embrace her own voice, both onstage and on record.

"I decided one day I was tired of being off limits to myself and to assert myself and kind of challenge myself to say, 'You do exist,'" Victoria said. "'Now go and tell your story.'"

@andydowning33