Using his birth name, Joe Rhee has worked on hit K-pop songs with the likes of G-Dragon, Sunmi, Zion.T, iKON, WINNER and more. Now under the moniker Vince, the songwriter-producer is stepping into his own and showing what he can do solo as a singer-rapper.
Vince’s debut single ‘Mennal” (in English, “Every Day”) makes a strong statement with a forward-thinking trap production, Vince’s smooth vocal approach, an assist from rapper Okasian, as well as some clever and personal lyrics — like the reference to “Gashina,” the chart-topping single by Sunmi that Vince co-wrote, in the first verse. Released under The Black Label, a subsidiary of YG Entertainment run by Teddy (the main producer to the Korean superlabel’s bands like BLACKPINK and BIGBANG), Vince marks the latest solo venture from the label that’s included high-charting releases from Somi and Zion.T — the latter of whom gives Vince his co-sign and appears in the “Mennal” music video.
Vince talked about his new venture, creative transition as well as the artists and genres he’s watching. Read on below.
Billboard: How does it feel to release your first single as a solo artist?
Vince: I feel great. I can’t wait to see how people will react to what I’ve been working on for years. It was a long interesting journey to have “Mennal” as my first debut single. I just hope that people enjoy it as much as I did making the song.
You’ve worked with a lot of artists and have made an impact as a producer, but what made you want to transition?
It’s not so much of a transition per se, I’ve always worked on my music and just happened to have great, rare opportunities to work with other great artists along the way. I feel like that experience helped me in perfecting my craft and how I approach music in a lot of ways. As a [solo] artist, I always want to be pushing boundaries. I want my music to offer something people haven’t heard before, but, also, I always want it to be something that a lot of people can relate to.
Were there any creative difficulties while creating “Mennal”?
Being a songwriter-producer and working on many different kinds of music, it was hard to decide on how I want to make the first impression as an artist. After making several songs, and long discussions among my peers at The Black Label, I’m pretty happy with “Mennal” as my first song and what we have planned going forward.
You worked with Okasian on this track, Zion.T’s makes an appearance in the video, but who else would you like to work with in the future?
I’ve worked with Zion.T as [his] producer, and he always blew me away with the way he writes songs and the unique vocals that he has. It would be great to also have him on my project in the future.
Who or what is your biggest musical inspiration these days?
Being at The Black Label, it’s a blessing to be able to work with its founder Teddy. The work ethic and passion for music that he displays night in and night out always inspires me to strive for something greater.
What are you listening to thse days for inspiration?
Hip-hop and R&B are something that I always hold dearly to my heart, but lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Afropop artists, such as Burna Boy and Koffee. I feel like what’s going on in the African-music scene right now is really interesting. With music platforms becoming more and more global and interconnected, I feel like you can find inspiring music anywhere around the world and take cues from it.