From the radio waves to the Broadway stage, Tony Vincent has experienced musical success through multiple platforms. With his recent stint on NBC’s “The Voice,” Vincent says he’s come “full circle,” and he’s excited about this stage of his career.
With a new EP in the works, Vincent is just over 100 percent on his Pledge campaign for “In My Head.” Here he details his journey through the music industry and how he still keeps in touch with Cee Lo Green.
Though you were painted as the Broadway/theater guy when you appeared on the second season of “The Voice,” you’ve actually spent years as a singer-songwriter as well. Tell us a little about how you first got into the music industry.
If you want to talk about when music really first took hold of me, I recall vividly when I first heard “Hard Day’s Night” by The Beatles. The opening chord of that song and the aggressive/pushing groove completely enamored me. Even though I didn’t know I wanted to be a performer, I knew from that moment that I wanted to make music the center of my life.
After that, I used any outlet I could to be a better singer, be a better musician. It didn’t matter if it was a school play, a church choir or a regional theatre gig, I simply wanted to glean as much experience as I could. I moved to Nashville in the fall of 1991 and by the fall of 1992 I had solidified a record deal with EMI.
When you were at EMI releasing your solo records, you saw a number of radio hits. What was going through your mind when you moved to New York City to take the next step in 1998? How did you envision the next part of your career looking at the time?
Even as a young child, I had always envisioned living in New York City. It was actually my Nashville experience that came as a surprise when I was leaving my hometown of Albuquerque, NM! That being said, I thought that after having success on a major label, the move to NYC and slipping into a new record deal would be much easier than it was.
Perhaps it’s because after only a month of living in Manhattan I found myself with an opportunity to join a tour of the Pulitzer Prize winning musical “RENT”. After nine months on the road with that show I was asked to join the Broadway company. It was at that point that my career began to focus on rock-influenced theatre.
Tell me a bit about your experiences with Green Day and Queen and how those have informed the way you write, record and perform.
Having the opportunity to work with both Queen and Green Day has been invaluable -- both in friendships as well as re-centering myself as an artist. I had the chance to work very closely with both Brian May and Billie Joe [Armstrong] via “We Will Rock You” and “American Idiot”— and after those experiences I knew that I needed to return to doing what I moved to New York to do…. my own music. Those men affected me more in the center of where I was spiritually, musically speaking, more so than in my own artistry per se.
Even when you were doing more theater-related performing, you were still writing. What in your life do you find most pushes or inspires you to write?
It’s true that no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I’m always writing and trying to be better at what I do. Whether it’s being a singer, a songwriter, a producer, an engineer, I never want to stop learning or stop challenging myself. I’m also quite a geek when it comes to technology, so the studio is like my laboratory. I like to experiment and push things as far as they will go. It also helps to have friends like Brian Malouf [Michael Jackson, Everclear, Seal, Pink] and Chris Dugan [Green Day] as personal friends whose experiences I can glean from.
It was really fun to watch you on “The Voice” this season. Tell me a little about what that experience was like for you.
It was actually a really good experience. That show is surrounded by people who truly care about music and the individuals that are performers on the show. NBC is lucky to have such an amazing team encompassing that production with a very unique format for finding solid talent. That being said, I have to say I cringed each time a singer on the show was called an “artist”.
Personally I believe that in order to be an artist you have to be much more than just a solid singer. You should be active on the creative side. A person with a vision. A person who either plays an instrument, or is involved on the production side of things. You have to earn the title of “artist” -- not just leave your day job and belt out a tune because you can sing well.
Have you kept up with Cee Lo at all post-show?
Absolutely. He and I meshed in a way that I actually don’t think the network gelled with. We spoke the same language and we became friends very quickly. Our relationship didn’t mirror the “coach/student” dynamic that the show wanted all the talent on the show to have. We had, and still have, something special.
You and your wife welcomed your new daughter Sadie into the world while “The Voice” was still mid-season. How did you balance all of that?
It was quite crazy. At the same time it kept me grounded. I have the type of personality that when I’m focused on one thing alone, I tend to white-knuckle it. Being involved with The Voice and getting ready to become a father actually gave me a balance in my life.
What can fans expect to hear from this record?
I’m really excited about this project. It feels like for the first time I’m finally able to deliver something that is true to who I am as an artist. I wanted to be able to record the songs that I wanted to record. I wanted this EP to show my heart -- from the dark places, the melancholy places, the angry places -- I want the real “me” to be out there and to be heard. This is important to me, especially after having a successful career playing so many different characters on Broadway and London’s Westend.
What would you say most informed your writing for this next project?
I was able to look back at a very large catalog of songs that I had written over the years and pick and choose ones that exemplify who I am and where I am coming from. Much of the material was already written when I decided to record this project, but it’s ironic that the lyrics and the feel of the material actually mesh with where I am at this time of my life. It’s interesting how things come full circle.
Anything you’d like to add?
I’m simply excited for people to hear what I do in an authentic and unadulterated way. I think that’s possibly the biggest gift I can give to them -- and to myself.