I wanna start off our interview with a question about your early memory of music. What was it like?
When I was young music was pretty prevalent in my home mostly. Before I was born my dad played drums and guitar in a few bands in Toronto. I remember being really young, probably around 4 and my dad would always be playing acoustic guitar around the house. Eventually, I started to sing with him and he’d have me write my own lyrics, we used to record our songs on cassette tapes. My dad definitely kick-started my love for music at a young age.
When did you realize this is what you want to pursue as a career?
Probably around the time of junior high is when I really started rapping. I had a lot of my favorite songs memorized just from listening to them and being on rap genius. I started finding the instrumental versions of songs on youtube and then recording myself rapping them. Eventually, that turned into me writing my own lyrics and soon after recording my own songs. I always had it in my mind that I could turn it into a career eventually, but it wasn’t until the last few years that I’ve been putting more focus towards that goal.
I’ve learned a lot through the music I’ve been exposed to, I want to be able to pass on things I’ve learned and experienced in the same way.
What does music mean to you?
That’s tough because it means so much. It’s art, it’s entertainment, it’s communication, it’s therapy, it’s a lot. I feel like as an artist or someone creating music, it’s just a pure way to express yourself. And as a listener of music, it’s a source of joy and even knowledge. I’ve learned a lot through the music I’ve been exposed to, I want to be able to pass on things I’ve learned and experienced in the same way.
How did you come about choosing the stage name Vince The Messenger?
I had songs out under a different alias when I first started releasing music, but a lot of those early songs didn’t represent me well as an artist. As time passed I wanted a new name disassociated with that music. I think I had the title “The Messenger” in mind before the name “Vince.” That came from me wanting my music to carry a message within it and to be known as an artist who’s bringing deeper meaning with their music. I have a thing for phonetics so “Vince” fit well because the name is kind of sly and sharp which I feel represents the music well. I put the two together and landed with Vince The Messenger.
Going back to your early work from 3-4 years ago on SoundCloud, in what ways do you think you’ve evolved as an artist and musically?
I think when I first started I was emulating my influences a lot. I was still adding my own impression on things but my voice may not have been as consistent and developed as it is now. I’ve just evolved as a person since then and my artistry has followed suit. I’m more particular about how elements of the music sound and making sure what I’m trying to get across resonates.
You dropped your album “Self Sabotage”. What was the driving force behind it, the inspiration, so to speak?
Yeah, so Self Sabotage is my first official release. Initially just having an entire work of music to release was a source of inspiration. I hadn’t release much music prior to the album so I felt like I needed to say a lot with this. The inspiration or concept behind the album kind of stemmed from a constant sense of complacency that I feel like a lot of people will experience at one point or another. I was definitely going through it and still am to some degree. It’s like working a minimum wage job you hate, studying for a profession you’re less than passionate about. Just being stuck in a routine, and feeling like you’re not getting anywhere. I feel like becoming complacent with that and setting your passion aside is the essence of self-sabotage. So much of who I am is rooted in what I’m passionate about, so if I were to suppress that it would definitely haunt me later on.
What were the most memorable moments/challenges during the writing of the album?
I can’t say there was one particular moment, but the album finally gaining its shape was definitely a good feeling. As my first album, there were some challenges just envisioning how it was all going to fit together but it honestly fell together pretty naturally. Nothing felt forced about the process and that’s exactly how it should be.
“Blacked Out” is one of my favorites. What inspired you to write it?
The inspiration was really just how I was feeling at that moment of time. The feeling I was getting from the beat just took me to where I needed to be. I look at “Blacked Out” like an anthem of empowerment, it’s really on a “me against the world” position and if you feel it too then it’s us against the world. It sums up a lot of themes I touch throughout the album too so I felt it was right to have it as the closing track.
Do you have any favorites from the album?
Yeah, “Blacked Out” is definitely among my favorites. “Mr. Sun” as well. And just for the sake of giving a third, I’d say “Menace.” I’m aiming not to have favorites for my next project though. I’m always partial to everything I put out but if I’m able to choose one song over another then that means there’s something I can do better with the song not chosen.
You also released a music video for “Sandstone” which is one of the tracks from the album. Do you plan on releasing more videos?
Definitely. I’m big into visuals, they take the experience of music to a much deeper level in my eyes. I feel like they’re important to get your message across too, a lot can be said through a video that you just can’t convey in a song. I’m planning on stepping up production and working outside of my immediate circle for some upcoming visuals.
What do you want the audience to take away from your album?
I want people to be inspired by what I’m saying on the album. Especially those people who are feeling these things in real time. I want to be a voice for people, I want them to see my growth and for them to do the same.
Will there be possible collaborations with other artists in/out of Canada soon?
Definitely. I have some more collaborations coming with Marquis & The Squid who produced the album under his producer title niimo. You can expect to hear some tracks with Lil Slime in the future as well. I’ve been working with Kit Moro and some other local musicians such as Hailey MacIsaac and Little Cities. And only one artist outside of Canada as of now, abnormal norman who’s based out of London.
Now that you’ve released your album, what’s next for you? What are you working on these days?
I’m always working on new music, I have ideas for future albums and EPs in the works. Outside of the studio though I’m working on releasing a line of merchandise, filming videos, and showcasing whenever I can. I’m really just trying to keep moving, I avoid idling as much as I can. It’s good to take moments to enjoy where I am but I have to keep creating.
I wanted to talk about your creative process. How do you find inspiration and motivation to write lyrics and find the sounds?
It’s pretty sporadic for me, I find inspiration in a lot of things. It could come from a conversation I’ve had, the weather, a personal experience I’m dealing with, music, visual art, literally anything that can affect me can inspire me. I try to keep myself open to those kinds of things, I’ll be pretty passive in that sense. I like to let inspiration come to me in whatever form it wants. I’m pretty blessed in my situation, I have a good relationship with niimo who produces the majority of my music. He’s prolific when it comes to making beats and is generous in handing them off to me, so the sounds come easy. As for writing lyrics I usually just cycle through some beats, let one of them catch me and come up with a few lines or melodies and the song will just progress naturally from there. I’m not always able to sit down for a full writing session, something might hit me when I’m out so I keep voice memos on my phone that I’ll use later on.
I define real rap/hip-hop as being genuine. It’s usually easy to tell if an artist is being genuine with their music regardless if its classic hip-hop or modern hip-hop.
How would you define real “rap/hip-hop” at this point?
I define real rap/hip-hop as being genuine. It’s usually easy to tell if an artist is being genuine with their music regardless if its classic hip-hop or modern hip-hop. At the end of the day, it’s an art-form subject to critique, but I don’t think you can define it in such a black and white way. I think there’s room for everything in hip-hop, it’s a positive thing that we’re able to have such diversity in one genre or rather many sub-genres that come from the same roots.
If you could change one thing in the music industry, what would it be?
I’m not well-versed in the music industry, but one thing I’d change is the focus on trends over unique artists who bleed longevity. It seems like trends are being chased over quality, but I guess that speaks to society as a whole more than the music industry alone.
Before we wrap up, is there anything you’d like to share with the fans?
Yeah, I’d just like to thank everyone for the support and for showing love. It’s motivating to see my music resonate with people. And new music is on the way!
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