Vincint
Pride

Vincint's Emotional Mission To Put 'The Feeling' Back Into Pop Music

Two years after his debut on Fox's 'The Four,' Vincint talks his new EP 'The Feeling,' and why he wants to help others embrace the emotional side of life head-on

Each month, Billboard Pride celebrates an LGBTQ act as its Artist of the Month. Our February selection: Vincint.

Despite his fierce persona onstage, Vincint doesn't mind keeping it casual. As he settled into the green room at the legendary Los Angeles venue The Troubadour — wearing a Celine Dion muscle tank and denim midi shorts — on the day of his EP release show, he apologized for being a little sweaty from his soundcheck and dance rehearsal. 

One of his openers for the night, Mike Taylor, was soundchecking on the stage, as Vincint proudly exclaimed, "I wanted a night filled with black queer artists!" He accomplished his goal — both Taylor and fellow opener Kelechi are both black and queer. "There aren't often platforms for us, but I know that will change soon." 

He warmed up by gabbing about everything from his portable wireless throat steamer to the outpouring of love and support he'd been receiving about his new EP The Feeling from friends and fans alike, and before the recorder was turned on, his manager came in the room to announce that he had officially sold out his show that night. The look of shock and gratitude on his face couldn't be mistaken, as he hugged his manager mouthing, "I can't believe it."

The pop singer rose to prominence after competing on the first season of The Four in 2018 — just one week before the show's finale, Vincint appeared, not only securing a last-minute spot in the show's finale, but delivering a powerful cover of Coldplay's "Magic" that earned him instant acclaim online. After delivering a show-stopping performance of Radiohead's "Creep" (which has garnered over 12 million views on YouTube) on the show's finale, Vincint was ultimately eliminated.

Since then, though, his momentum hasn't stopped. Between making appearances at Pride festivals around the country and opening for JP Saxe's latest tour, he somehow found the time to put together his "first baby," as he calls it: a six-song EP that explores the ups and downs of love and relationships, entitled The Feeling

"The inspiration [for the EP] is my past relationships, my relationship with love in general, and how it gets simplified in a way — but it's not very simple at all," he explains. "Love isn't just one emotion, it's a ton of different feelings. But it all kind of feels like the exact same thing."

Apparently, he never set out to write an EP; he happened to have the material that he needed to put together a full project. "'Please Don't Fall In Love' [the singer's most well-known single] was written by mistake," he explains. "I walked into the session with the boys from Fly By Midnight, and I thought, 'I need to talk about this or I'm going to burst out crying in this session.' That wouldn't have been good because I was just meeting these guys for the first time. But listening to it finished, I sat down and thought, 'Oh my god, this is what I want every song to feel like.'" 

And thus, the seed for The Feeling was planted. He had a vision for each song of the EP to represent different emotions of relationships, so he ensured that each song had its own identity. To accomplish this, he worked with different cowriters and producers for each track, and didn't let anyone listen to the finished tracks when he went in for sessions so as not to influence or inform those new songs with what he had already completed. Rather, he allowed himself to be the common thread that ran through each song so that each track would authentically sound like him. 

"I'm big on nostalgia. I love the idea of putting a memory in [a song] and having it be a resounding thing every time you hear it," he says. "Like when you hear Robyn's 'Dancing On My Own,' you think, 'I want to cry right now,' but you also kind of want to dance." 

And now that the EP has finally been released — two years after his appearance on The Four — he couldn't be more relieved that it's out. After he released it, he actually turned off his phone for five hours because he was nervous about seeing the response, but so far, it hasn't been anything but positive. 

"Releasing an EP is such a burden off my shoulders," he says. "I've been holding onto these songs for so long, and I'm so tired of listening to them, but when I finally released them, I was just hoping that people would like them."

He continues, "I got this barrage of messages from people saying, 'I'm feeling this exact thing right now,' or 'You're in my head!' It just goes to show that all of these crazy feelings that we have when we're in love aren't uniquely ours. We're not the only ones experiencing the things we're feeling, and that's what I really wanted to show through this EP. It's amazing that people have been able to see that and that it's being received in [such a positive] way."

Based on his performance — and the audience turnout on a Monday night in February — it's clear that both new and old fans are on board with the direction that he decided to take. If the sold-out show wasn't indication enough, the screams from the crowd definitely were. After he performed his second song, "Save Myself," the cheers were so deafening that all he could do was bow his head, bring his hands to his chest in gratitude, and break down in tears, saying, "Y'all sold this place out. I am overwhelmed. I promise I'm going to give you the best show I've got."

Throughout the evening, he brought up some of his friends to sing with his band to highlight other talented people living in L.A., including previous The Voice contestant India Carney and artist-slash-pop songwriter JHart, among a few others, and of course, performed his rendition of "Creep," the song that helped kicked off his solo career. The twist? It was an impromptu addition to his setlist, per the request of one of his fans, so he started it off acapella. (His band being the pros that they are — Alex Palazzo on guitar, Satarra Troutman on bass, and Michel'le Baptiste on drums — jumped in on the second verse.)

The rest of the evening was packed with soaring notes and effortless riffs, of course, but even more than that, Vincint let his audience in on his process and emotions. He told stories about the inspirations behind each of his songs, from the silly — "Say" was written about a boy he saw at a rooftop party in New York but never actually talked to — to the sad, like writing "Miss You" about not being able to get over someone. He even got emotional covering Coldplay's "Magic," dedicating the song to his father, who recently passed away, and his friends, who helped him deal with his loss. 

"I hope that people feel anything," he says of his show. "We live in a world where feelings being put on display is made fun of. You being who you are is made fun of. You expressing anything is a weakness. To feel things is one of the most powerful things you can do as a human being. It lets you know that you're alive. It lets you know that you are capable of doing more in your life. It gives you this kind of open space of communication with other people to say, 'You're safe with me, you can talk to me, you can be open with me.'"

As for what's next in Vincint's career, he's already mapped many of his next steps out. "I've already started a second EP because I'm a psychopath," he says jokingly. "We're already in the studio writing and recording. I'll definitely be performing a lot this year. I can't wait for Pride season, which I think starts in two weeks. It's nuts. The Pride circuit really is crazy. It's not even May!

"It's a wild time," he continues. "And if things turn out the way I hope they will, I'll be going on tour at the end of the year."