In 2019, after 21 years in New York City, artist and musician Tony Vincent (“The Voice,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” American Idiot,” We Will Rock You,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” in front of Queen Elizabeth II and 200 million fans) relocated to Nashville. He is producing music out of his new studio, SoundShop370 and training music theater hopefuls in PCG Theatrical.
Our host, Cirina Catania, catches up to him and has a very candid conversation about life in the Broadway fast lane, what took him to Nashville and what he is doing now to honor his musical roots while helping others! Stay tuned. It is a fascinating conversation which will leave you appreciating all that you have now in your life and give you the courage to pursue your dreams.
Widely known for his appearance as a finalist on NBC’s The Voice, recording artist, actor and producer Tony Vincent has spent the last 22 years of his career operating out of New York City. While at university, Vincent started his own record company, Adobe Flats, writing and producing the EP (Love Falling Down) that led to a recording contract with EMI Records. The two solo albums that followed, (Tony Vincent, One Deed) produced six #1 Billboard radio singles.
In 1997 Vincent took a detour into rock-based theater, starring on Broadway in RENT (Mark, Roger), Jesus Christ Superstar (Judas Iscariot) and Green Day’s American Idiot (St. Jimmy). He played Simon Zealotes in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s film remake of Jesus Christ Superstar, and is also featured in the film Andrew Lloyd Webber: Masterpiece. Vincent originated the role of Galileo Figaro in the rock band Queen’s We Will Rock You on London’s West End and has also fronted the band multiple times including an epic performance of “Bohemian Rhapsody” for Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee, with a live audience of over 1-million people surrounding Buckingham Palace and 200-million viewers globally.
Tony Vincent is currently writing and producing out of his newly relocated recording studio (SoundShop370) in Nashville, TN and is leading PCG Theatrical— a customized, full-service artist development program specifically designed for aspiring musical theatre performers.
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In This Episode
- 00:01 – Cirina introduces Tony Vincent, recording artist, actor and producer
- 05:19 – Tony shares how The Beatles is one of the greatest influences in his music and career and almost every other musician, too.
- 11:04 – Tony describes his experiences moving back to his hometown after living in the busy city of New York.
- 17:03 – Tony talks about being a father of two and how he supports his children’s interests even if they are not music industry related.
- 24:14 – Tony’s talks about the PCG Theatrical, a customized, full-service artist development program specifically designed for aspiring musical theatre performers.
- 29:14 – Tony shares his vision in helping young people gain the confidence to believe in themselves that they can become what they dream of.
- 34:06 – Tony tells us his inspiration behind his music shop, SoundShop370.
- 39:36 – Cirina and Tony talk about their preferences in producing good sound and music quality.
- 45:42 – Why is it important to invest in good quality gears and equipment in recording performances?
- 47:47 – Visit Tony Vincent’s website, pcgtheatrical.com to learn more about him and their programs offered.
Tony Vincent stars on Broadway as Mark, Roger in Rent, Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, and Green Day’s American Idiot as St. Jimmy. He played Simon Zealotes and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s film remake of Jesus Christ Superstar. And if that wasn’t enough, he originated the role of Galileo Figaro in Queen’s We Will Rock You on London’s West End, and he gave an exciting and memorable performance of Bohemian Rhapsody for Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. There were over 1 million people surrounding Buckingham Palace and 200 million viewers globally. We remember him internationally as a finalist in NBC‘s The Voice. There’s no moss growing under this star’s feed, however. After 21 years in New York City, he moved to Nashville, and his career is as dynamic as ever. Stay tuned, you’re going to want to know more.
This is Cirina Catania with OWC Radio. I am speaking with Tony Vincent today. I really want to know what’s going on with you, Tony, how are you?
You know, in light of the circumstances out there, I’m great.
Yeah, as a matter of fact, my family and I started quarantining, maybe two weeks before everybody sort of got wind that this was something that people should be doing. This was really early March. Because I was traveling a lot and we were looking at Italy, I was traveling to Europe off and on over the last two months. And we were just like, you know what, we just need to kind of isolate for a moment. And then the bookings that I had that we’re going to be taking me out of the city here, somewhere out of the country, some more up in Canada, just canceled. And so there was no need to really look outside of quarantine and just make the health of our family, physical and hopefully mental health, our family priority.
So you have your wife Aspen with you, and you have two kids, too, right?
I do. Sadie is eight, and my son Jet is two.
Oh, so how’s that going at home?
And I was gonna say, try quarantining with that. And I’ll tell you, it’s been great because of moving to Nashville, if we were quarantining in a small New York apartment like we could have been just a year ago, we would mentally be in a very, very different space.
So why did you make the decision to move to Nashville? You’d been in New York for what 20 years or something?
Yeah. 21 years. Well, I spent a lot of time on Broadway, and before I moved to New York, I actually lived in Nashville. I got a record deal here, I went to a university here, and then used the recording studio on campus to basically record an independent record. And that attracted enough attention from several record companies here that we’re based out of Nashville, and I got signed and lived here for seven years. And then I just wanted to pursue a more, I guess, rock-focused record. The climate here, this was back in 1995-1997, was very safe musically. And I didn’t feel that I fit in very well with the climate here, at least with the artistic community. It was still very heavily involved in the country music thing, and although there were a couple of fringe things going on, it just didn’t feel like the environment that I could feel creative in. And so, it was either New York, LA, or London, and as bad as I wanted to go to London, I couldn’t figure out a way to get there. And LA seemed so populated within the recording industry, and I just felt that my love for that sort of New York vibe and feel, that one out in the end. I was single, and it just made sense to do, and I never looked back.
You’re an actor, you’re a producer, you’re a songwriter, you’re a singer, you have abilities in so many different areas, so what had you just finished in New York before you moved to Nashville?
I had been touring on a symphonic concert of David Bowie‘s music. And I’m heavily influenced by Britpop and Brit rock n’ roll. I have been ever since I was four years old. I heard a Beatles record, and that’s why I’m here talking with you today. You can thank Lennon and McCartney.
That is amazing. That is so brilliant.
I know. And I’m talking to so many musicians, and it seems like we all-not me as a musician, but me as somebody walking down the street in Germany, in the 60s, hearing The Beatles sing the German rendition of I Want to Hold Your Hand. The Beatles influence so many people, and it’s coming back around again.
I don’t know of a musician out there who, in a way, hasn’t at least acknowledged that without that band, we don’t know if music would be in the same place that it’s in today. They really were a catalyst for creativity, their songwriting was epic and beautiful, and it broke the mold and even the way with Sir George Martin, they would record things in a way that nobody had ever done before. And so it created the sonic landscape, besides being brilliant songwriters that it was just like, the scales fell from our eyes and ears and everything else. It was like we were seeing 3D for the first time. And to sort of touch on and piggyback on The Beatles connection thing, I had an opportunity to work with the rock band Queen and open their musical in London in 2002. And we did this huge event at the 50th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s time on the throne. And we had this huge concert in the garden at Buckingham Palace. When I was fronting Queen at that time, I was joining artists such as Annie Lennox, Eric Clapton, The Corrs, Natalie Imbruglia, and some iconic figures. Phil Collins was playing drums for us also alongside Roger Taylor, and then at the end of the night, I sang Hey Jude with Paul McCartney. Un-stinking-believable, like it’s one of those pinch me, no, don’t pinch me, because if this isn’t happening, I truly don’t want to wake up at this moment.
And on top of that, you were madly in love. You had just met Aspen, right?
Well, she didn’t come around until the American version of that show. So I was happily single, and friends with the Queen. Pretty fun stuff.
Yeah, but you worked hard to get there. I mean, you started when you were seven years old, and luckily your family also encouraged you, which is really pretty wonderful.
It was wonderful.
There’s so much I want to talk to you about. I want to talk about SoundShop, and I want to talk about PCG Theatrical, but I just have one kind of a crazy question. I was curious about why you picked your grandfather’s name?
To keep as my last name?
Because I grew up with a nine-letter, although phonetically, it was pronounced exactly as it was spelled, that many letters on someone’s last name is daunting. It’s a little scary. I got very mispronounced names throughout my entire schooling. When I was in college, and I knew that I was getting ready to put up this EP, this record, I knew I had to have a name that wasn’t difficult that could be easily said, which looks good in print. I grew up with a father who owns an advertising agency, so the concept of branding was sort of ingrained in my fiber ever since I was a young boy. So I knew it had to be easy to say I knew it had to look good in print with whatever font was being used. And so Vincent retained an Italian component to it in my mind at that time, and I didn’t want to kind of lose my Italian heritage on my father’s side. And so Tony Vincent, it sounded good, and it felt good in the mouth. Perhaps it was a coincidence that my grandfather was named Vincent, I don’t know how I naturally chose that, but it kind of kept it in the family while still being able to do my own thing.
Well, you know, in an Italian family, that means a lot. I’m named after my Sicilian grandmother.
Okay. So I’m Sicilian as well.
Yeah. I remember my mother being upset because she was Belgian, and she wanted to name me Elizabeth after my Belgian grandmother, but the Sicilian family wouldn’t let her.
Yeah, they’re rough.
Was your grandfather still alive when you started using his name?
He was not. He died when I was in high school, actually.
Well, he’s upstairs looking down, feeling very grateful that you’ve done so well with your life. You’ve had an amazing run of it.
It’s been a joy. I’m only in the mid-40s. And so I hope that this is just midpoint at best.
It’s the foundation. So there’s just some incredible milestones in your life as I was talking to our audience before you came on. But let’s go back to the transition from New York to Nashville, what’s the first thing you did when you arrived in Nashville?
Exhale, because it was just so much. We live in a little farmland-esque community outside of Nashville, and the township is called Nolensville. And just to have farm areas and to be able to exhale, because we’ve been living in this pretty fast-paced lifestyle, just because of the career choice that I chose, whether it was Broadway or rock and roll. But just to have space where we’re not living on top of each other, that was the most welcome. And that could have, of course, come from any other, sort of suburban kind of lifestyle, but because I already had a history with Nashville that I felt very connected to, and I had maintained relationships, it just felt like this was a warm place to return to. And so it felt emotional, like a proper connection, and then just to be able to have a home where my family cannot live on top of each other. That was the biggest sort of welcome to arriving here, I think.Some people can transition artistically in a significant way. Others lose their grit and the fire in their belly. I've seen it happen on both ends, and that's really how it is in the arts. Click To Tweet
Some space to think and breathe and get back to who you are inside as a person. When you’re living the kind of life you’re living, it’s wonderful, and it’s exhilarating, but it’s also exhausting, isn’t it?
Yeah, and you don’t realize, especially and only New Yorkers who- I’m gonna make a maybe arrogant claim. I don’t believe- unless you’ve spent ten years living in Manhattan proper or that you’ve made it in Brooklyn, maybe that you’ve really experienced what it’s like to really live there. Because people that go there for a year or two, you get a taste of what it feels like, but when you start having kids, and you have to do with subways and mass transportation with a stroller, then life really hits you hard. And you quickly realize that this is no joke and how difficult it is to live in Manhattan with kids.
So did it change who you were in terms of your creativity when you fell in love, and you had your first child and then moved to Nashville? What changed in terms of your approach to your music and your life other than what we’re talking about now? Because your music did change too, it seems like it became much more intimate.
I’m sure that I’m saying something that other parents will feel who artists are. It impacts you in a way because you’re, at least depending on how old you are, I guess when it happens, I had kids pretty late in my life. So I was kind of done living like I wasn’t a parent. And I think that when you’re in sort of passion towards music and creativity is not a sideline, but you realize how much you love someone else more than you and what you do, it naturally is going to affect what you do. Not necessarily for good or bad, it just does what it does. Some artists, you can almost pinpoint in their career where they’ve had a real experience of a shift, and I don’t know what that is, either they got sober and clean, or they had kids, or something happened. And some people can transition artistically in a really, really great way and some kind of lose the grit and the fire in their belly kind of thing, and I’ve seen it happen on both ends. The ironic thing of moving back to Nashville, I was here only for 13 months before Coronavirus happened, and when I first moved here, I was still in the process of touring pretty extensively and doing symphonic concerts all around the world. And so it’s a very interesting time we’re living in, and to talk about creativity at the moment, it’s really strange. I don’t know how to answer that question because it’s so quiet that I miss it; the energy has been zapped from a portion of me.
It’s tough. It’s kind of tough. You’re a social person, obviously, and you need creativity, and you need the time alone to create. But it seems like we all need other people around us. So this is a tough time for all of us, but I have a feeling that some of your greatest work might come when you least expect it now that you really do have time to just let that percolate.
Yeah. I hope you’re right. I feel really excited about the next step once we get past the drama of all of what’s happening right now. And I’m not sure that we’ll ever have a return to what we used to know. I don’t necessarily know if that’s a bad thing.
Yeah, I was gonna ask you, do you think that’s a good or a bad thing?
It all depends on what happens, I guess. And I’m talking on non-COVID issues too from racial tension and discrimination and all of the things that are going on right now. It’ll be very interesting to see if we choose to become empathetic as a country. Because as a New Yorker, we have to operate as a community because we’re on top of each other 8, 10, 22 stories high, so we’re literally living on top of one another. We have to operate as a community, knowing that we have to make personal sacrifices for the greater good. I’m going to be kind of bold here. America as a whole doesn’t really have to do that and never has had to do that- of not making personal sacrifices for the community, the culture, our kids, and schooling. Because if you don’t put a mask on, that puts my daughter’s schooling in the fall in jeopardy because the numbers continue to increase or at least stay at a certain level that remains unsafe. And so I think that’s been one of the biggest mental struggles for me, and I think that’s impacted me creatively is the lack of empathy, the lack of other focused vision. And the selfishness of this country has really been incredibly sad to see.
Well, America is an adolescent compared to many others. I have a crystal from my mother’s hometown in Belgium that celebrates the 2000 year anniversary.
And we’re talking 244. So it’s like, we’re spoiled teenagers compared to some, so we’re learning.
We are an amazing nation, with so many blessings, and I just think that we’ve missed that mark of understanding of how blessed we are, and it slipped into a place of entitlement, as opposed to graciousness.
When you are traveling, and you’ve done so much traveling all over the world, what stands out for you now as a father that you’re going to want to tell your children about, that you’re going to want future generations to remember about you? What do you think about when you think about teaching your child something that you’ve learned, or sharing a wonderful memory? Like your eight-year-old daughter, I’m sure the two of you have talked, and she’s asked you questions like, “Daddy, what happened when you met the queen?”
Do you know what’s kind of cool about Sadie, my eight-year-old? Is that she is such a very independent, strong little person. She knows what her father does for a career, but she’s not enamored by it. She’s not a fan, which hurts somewhat, but it also is pretty great because she doesn’t find any of her self-worth in what her father does. And she’s a lot like me, which makes our relationship somewhat rough and rocky a lot of the time because I know who I’m talking to. It’s a little me, and it pushes my buttons on a lot of different issues that I have.
You’re both alphas.
Exactly. She’s tough and really smart. And I’m grateful that she doesn’t have that kind of fixated fan kind of thing towards her father.
It’s funny that my kids grew up on movie sets, and neither one went into my business, and they could care less about it. One of them is a lawyer, and the other one’s a doctor.
That’s great. I get a lot of questions like, “What do you think, your daughter in musical?” well, she’s actually not at all. I don’t know if she’s going to listen to the broadcast today. She’d probably wince, or get very upset that I would even say this. I would never choose to push my kids into this industry, just because there’s just such a lack of assurance and stability. People can say that that occupies every career, but when you do entertainment, you’re only as good as what you’re doing currently. And it’s very difficult to wave your flag of what you did 5,10 years ago and have a lot of weight. That being said, my son is very rhythmically driven, and I started as a drummer when I was really, really young. And so you can tell there’s, there’s no doubt about it. And my wife is a singer, and she’s a performer, and you can tell that the genes are passed to this little guy. And so it’ll be very interesting to see what he chooses to do. That being said, as I mentioned, I wouldn’t push my kids into this realm. I would actually try to scare them sort of away. However, if they have that desire of like, this is what I’m called to do. You’re damn straight, I’m going to get behind it.
Well, you’re mentoring other people now with your PCG Theatrical, your artists’ development company. Tell us a little bit about that.
So when I was doing American Idiot on Broadway, which was Green Day’s musical, I was approached by a nonprofit organization that goes into cities and basically teaches young people who want to pursue musical theater. And for the longest time, probably for two years, I was asked repeatedly, “Do you want to come and meet us in Philly? We’re going to be Philly” or “We’re going to Denver, why don’t you come join us, and you can at least check out what we do.” And I was like, I always had this stigma probably from my father, that those who can’t teach, and I was like, “I’m sorry, I’m doing it right now. I’m leading this Broadway company,” and I think it felt like I was going to undermine what I did by teaching. And then I just had a break in my schedule and took a train to Philly and sat in a couple of sessions and wound up then teaching a performance class during that weekend. And I was like when you see the penny drop in a young person, and I come from, I come from a musician’s perspective, so I don’t come from that Broadway actor, dancer kind of thing. I come from a very rock and roll driven career, and that’s where my history is. And so I think that’s why I had so much success on Broadway is because I don’t interpret music the same way, which has really been a real blessing to me. And so I think when I teach, I also teach from a person who comes from making great records or delivering a believable story, outside the confines of just a great vocal. And so, I decided to come to Nashville, and I met a gentleman who basically runs a commercial music-focused artist development company called PCG Universal. And I met with him because he wanted me to come on board to teach a lot of his students’ performance coaching. And I told him that I was very interested in doing that, I said, “run with me on this train of thought, if Hamilton can sell tickets for $2,000 a [pop, if celebrities are dying to try to get on a Broadway stage, and no longer is theater in the middle school and high school education, is it some dark art that people are ashamed of?
It is like people want to do this more than ever, something has happened and I want to take an artist development approach to musical theater students.” And so we started PCG Theatrical a little less than a year ago, and COVID is a very interesting thing because much of the time, 90% of our kids came to Nashville from all over the country. And I have a group of what I call Providers, so whether you need vocal instruction or acting or dance or whatever that is that goes on behind the artist who’s an actor on Broadway stage, I can facilitate to give you the kind of real content that you don’t just get at a conservatory. Because what makes PCG Theatrical unique is it’s very individually focused, and how that young person when they walk through that door, wherever that sort of weak link is in their creative component to their desire to do musical theaters or career, we will focus on that, we will support the things that they’re really, really good at. And you can’t do that from a conservatory. I don’t care if you’re at Berkeley, or you’re at Cincinnati Conservatory, or you’re at Pepperdine because there’s a curriculum that you’re basically strapped to, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for everybody, but that isn’t always cut out for the masses. There’s those individual people who want a very specific type of education you can only get from people who have been on Broadway. And fortunately in Nashville here I have a handful of people who have been either under production contracts, which is the highest level of union contracts on Broadway or a national tour, that we can deliver content that is so, so strong.Some of your most extraordinary work might come when you least expect it. Take this time to percolate on what you want to do. Click To Tweet
How old are these young people that you’re teaching?
It all depends on how they are when they walk through the door mentally because obviously, you can only do so much with a 10-year-old child because they haven’t had the life experience that they would need to develop a character or go on that sort of emotional journey and you don’t want to mess up what they’re experiencing as a young person. Now, some people are 12 years old, and they’re living like they’re 18, and you can properly address it, after talking with their parents, that sort of thing so that you’re walking the line that’s really safe for everybody, but also really pushes them creatively. Most of our people we work with are between that young team, 12 maybe all through high school. Now, if somebody wants to come in, that’s past high school, and at a collegiate level, of course, we will work with you. We’ve done very similar one-off things with people who are taking a semester off, and they just want to keep at it. We have a program called the Stage Door, which is kind of a one-weekend onslaught of training.
That’s nice. So is there an audition process to get into the training?
There is. Yeah. Me and the gentleman who owns PCG Universal, we see everybody who wants to be a part of PCG Theatrical just because we think it’s important that we’re dealing with people that are just really passionate about this, that want this so bad. And you can kind of tell, and you can tell by talent whether they nail it vocally or not, is almost not the issue. You could really be a great singer, but you can tell that they’re just kind of phoning it in or their parents are kind of living vicariously through the kids or whatever that is. Those aren’t the kids that I really want to impact or support because if they’re not in it, I don’t want to waste anybody’s time or money.
I call that “the mask.” People think they can put a mask on and hide who they really are, but we can see through it. People are intuitive, human beings are intuitive. And when you get that one person that walks through the door, and all of a sudden, their energy fills the room.
Has anybody sort of just blown away, well, now you’re living at home right now.
Like I’m just backpedaling before March.
Well, it’s hard, you can’t really single any one person out, so you’d have to talk about them as an individual.
A small handful, yes. But it’s not any different than actual Broadway because the shows that I’ve been in, there’s a really great talent and then there’s just really okay talent, it happens. I don’t care if you’re on a Broadway stage or not, those people that are on a Broadway stage, some are fantastic, some are just lucky. It’s just that way it is. And there’s a bit of a game, and I also work with kids on how this landscape actually rolls and how this trajectory can lead and how you can kind of massage the situation so that you’re getting in with the right people in a very honest and professional way.
Well, do they believe you?
Well, I’m hoping that the way I was educated, the way I’m passionate about what I do, the way that I’m talking to them through their parents or with their parents, I mean, look at my resume too it’s like, I’m not making any of this up. And you can choose to come on board, or you don’t have to; this is a no-pressure situation. You’re choosing to come to us to make your experience and what you want to do have the best possible outcome, and that’s why I’m here.
That’s awesome. You must just love it.
I do love it. I’m kind of repeating myself, but when that penny drops, and you can work with a young person for 45 minutes and around minute 39 and a half, something clicks vocally, or something resonates with them that they just have never experienced before, magic is so fun to watch. And they’re going to be changed from that point on. It doesn’t mean that we have ticked that box, and we learned that lesson, then we just move on and blow past it means, okay, this is something that we saw the shift happen here. Let’s focus on this; this becomes something of a real earmark of what we need to focus on. It never ends. It never really ends. We do this as professionals.
It’s an amazing gift you’re giving to people because a lot of creatives are not reinforced in their daily lives. People are always saying, “oh, get a real job” or “you’ll never make it” or “it’s too difficult” or “it’s too negative” or “it’s too dangerous,” and you’re a bright light in their lives. I’m sure it’s something they’ll never forget.
Maybe touch on something really important, and the big pinnacle issue is that I want that young person that goes through this period of training with me and with the people that I’ve put together. I want them to have the most self-worth that they’ve ever had in their entire lives. Kids are brutal, and they tear each other down all the time. I don’t know what happens behind closed doors in people’s homes, but life is really tough. And people are really mean and hard and cruel, and sometimes it happens without people knowing it. But if I can give someone hope, and I don’t necessarily mean hope to be on a Broadway stage, that core hope of something is good inside, that I’m worth something, that I’m worth better than X, Y or Z just because I’m a human and I respect myself, then we’ve won. Because they can take that, and they can become a doctor, they can become an attorney, and they can become a social worker. It doesn’t matter in the scope of life, but what does matter is can I change this person enough so that they can love themselves and believe in themselves because then everything is an option.
That’s wonderful. So when you look back at your little seven-year-old self playing the drums?
I would have given my right arm to experience something like that.
It’s pretty amazing. So, where do people go to find out more about this?
Sure. The website is pcgtheatrical.com, and, literally, just drop us a note. There’s a signup page on the back end, and someone will reach out to you. It’s very easy, and we want it to be very hands-on so that they know that not everything is automated. And once they put their name in there, they could check several different boxes of what intrigues them about what they want to do through us are what they want to explore. Then we reach out to them, and we talk to parents, we talk to them. This is something that it’s intriguing to them, we’ll have them send an audition in. It doesn’t have to be polished in the slightest; in fact, it’s better if it’s not. And then we move forward and try to make the experience for them absolutely life-changing.
Now you do the two-day sessions, but if they’re interested in staying longer, do they move to Nashville for a while?
So essentially, what it is, is that young people come with one or two parents depending on how flexible their schedule is. They kind of come to Nashville for a three day period of time. And then they go back to where they live, whether it’s in Nebraska, or New Jersey or Florida, or Texas, and they pick up their scholastic environment there. Whether they’re involved in shows back there and whether it’s a high school or middle school or [cynical operate doesn’t matter. We want to support what they’re doing back home, and then they come back a month and a week later, five weeks, six weeks later, whatever works on their schedule. So we have like six-month plans, we have 12-month plans, we also have if you want to get a taste of what PCG Theatrical is like, we have this thing called the Stage Door which is basically a one weekend opportunity where they come in, and we facilitate. And experience with an amazing choreographer and dance coach and, if you want to be an actor. Performance coaching, vocal coaching, so everything that really supports that young person. Health, if we get into a much broader sort of longer period of time, we’ll address things like the physical health and the mental anxiety of what this career is like. And we’ll tick off every single box that you’ll need to have in your back pocket to prepare yourself.
What a gift, such a gift to you as well as to them. Do you ever work with adults, or is it primarily young people?
Well, I’ve worked with adults before, we’ve not had adults come through PCG Theatrical, but absolutely, I would. Whether you want to be on Broadway or not is kind of its concept. That’s kind of the blessing at the back end, but if you want to be a better person, and just confident wise about a better speaker in front of people, if this is just something that you’re passionate about and you don’t want to do it professionally. Absolutely, I’ve worked with people all over the place from six to sixty.
And music is so important in life. I think when people are down and going through hard times, the creative side of them can really enliven their lives. And once you have that music in you, you never really lose it.
So this is wonderful. I’m curious about SoundShop370. Tell me about that.
Sure. So I’m kind of wearing two different hats at the moment. One is dedicated to musical theater artists’ development with young people through PCG Theatrical, and then the other one is returning back to music. It’s why I kind of left New York because I didn’t want to get caught up in that eight-show week of a New York Broadway experience. However, I’m teaching young people how to get to Broadway, how to hone their skills to get there. But I’ll tell you, you have to be willing to work hard because doing eight shows a week is no joke. It is no joke. But that being said, I came from the rock and roll world, I came from making records, I came from writing songs, and that’s another thing that I’m so passionate about because I want to give back the production and the people that have worked with me throughout my entire career. I’ve learned so much, and I’m kind of a gear geek, and I love production, I love guitar tones, and I love how drums sound, and I love working with vocalists who are kind of quirky and odd and unique. And that’s the other thing, and that’s what SoundShop370 is about. 370 is the address that I lived in New York City, and this is basically a larger, fuller, more fleshed-out version of what that small space was in Manhattan.
So we got introduced by OWC because they are both wonderful supporters of us. I know you’re starting to use some of their gear, I mean, this is OWC Radio. I’m really curious about even though this is not a requirement for an interview. Obviously, we’re agnostic here, and we talk to all kinds of people all the time, but I do believe since they’re the ones that introduced us, you are using some OWC solutions. Do you want to talk about that?
Sure. I was actually a customer of theirs for, gosh, when I lived in Nashville the first time around way before I had a personal connection with them.
Yeah, that’s kinda how I got started with them too.
I was buying memory for them all the time and hard drives because, to me, it was the only real reputable outlet. Because I’ve been a Mac guy forever, and anybody who’s really in tune with that platform, I want to support, and I also want that support. Because it’s unique audio and visual stuff on the Mac platform is really special, and I want somebody who acknowledges that specialness to be my support structure. And OWC has done that from the beginning. One of the things I do love about OWC besides the fact that they have ridiculous customer support, and the products that they have are incredibly unique and very esoteric, interesting things that are kind of behind the scenes that when you get on the phone with one of the reps, they’ll sort of handhold you if you don’t necessarily know what you can do with your existing computer. And I’m still on a 2010 Mac tower and just had to basically kind of re-gutted the whole thing, and it is like, [praying so beautifully. And the fact that they can keep old machines still very, very relevant is brilliant and awesome. Because who really has $25,000-$35,000 for a new Mac Pro? Not exactly on the budget at the moment. So yeah, OWC is totally keeping me in the game.
I love that they let you tear things apart, add new stuff, put that SSD drive in, make a screaming fast machine out of something.
They’re great. I can’t say enough about them. I’ve been a voice for them way before I knew who they were personal.
So picture yourself in SoundShop370 and look around the room and tell me what gear is your favorite gear and what you use for these recording sessions when you’re either performing yourself or when you’re producing for other people?
Well, because of technology and where it is, computers are the central hub of everybody’s current studio unless you’re recording to tape. But that percentage of people that are doing that is so minimal, it’s almost insignificant when you’re talking about recording. So to have the support of a great computer is crucial, even though I can’t even see my computer when I’m sitting down to record or write or anything else. [Mic priests are really important, I love Chandler Gear, I always am a big believer in what they do, and Distressors are great compressors. I’m a big advocate. I like to have a great unique microphone to capture whatever I’m recording. I don’t care if it’s guitar or vocals. It’s really important to derive analog gear into your computer, and then I mix completely inside my computer. So I don’t I don’t ever bring sound outside and back into the computer. Everything is all internal, and plugins, and I could talk forever about favorite plugins and that sort of thing. But it’s really important for me to have a really great and I mean grading microphones, not expensive necessarily, sometimes the really cheap microphone does really cool things to a guitar cabinet or to a voice. And sometimes I’m putting two microphones on the voice and one of those microphones, it’s really crapping out, and it’s really distorted. But if you tuck it in behind the main microphone, it really gives a lovely character that you could never pinpoint, but if you take it away, you’re like, oh, something disappeared. So, I don’t know. I just love musicians, and I love making music, I love learning from other individuals, whether it’s an audio podcast or other engineers that I’m working with, or even other musicians. Because some much of the time nowadays, because gear has come down in price exponentially over the last 15 to 20 years, musicians now have little small setups at home and aren’t necessarily schooled in recording and so they do things in a very unconventional way. Which I would never have done because I did go, I was learning to record on analog tape. And that’s how I made my first record in college, and I was aligning tape machines and very old school. So when people are talking about old analog warmth or tape warmth, and that sort of I’m like, I know that because that’s how I learned this. And I’m so grateful that I grew up and in this industry, and the path that I’ve taken when I did because it was that transition from analog to digital and the frustrating parts of digital and now how beautiful it is, and interesting. I don’t know if that answers your question per se, but it’s important for me to get the best coloration of analog signals into the computer. So I had a great [mic breeze and microphones and cool compressors that are either solid-state, an 1176 or an LA-2A, or it’s a Distressor, it just matters. And then now that you have that audio inside your computer, that sort of analog thing that people are talking about doesn’t have to be falsely manufactured.We have to operate as a community. We need to realize that we have to make personal sacrifices for the greater good. Click To Tweet
Are you on Pro Tools, or what are you using?
I just can’t do Pro Tools.
Yeah, I will if the client wants to use Pro Tools, I’ll do it. I just don’t think it’s user friendly in the slightest, and I know it’s the industry standard, but I’m a logic guy. I’ve been a logic guy way before Apple ever decided to purchase it from a company called Emagic. But it just works really well for me. It also is really great because I’m a musician, and I’m a songwriter. And there’s so much that you can do with that whereas Pro Tools always has sort of lagged behind in the middle world. And that was kind of my biggest defense of not getting involved with Pro Tools because I wasn’t just engineering records, I was also writing and composing and that sort of thing. But if somebody wants me to record their record using Pro Tools, I’m happy to do it, but I won’t mix in Pro Tools. I just find it very clunky, and I don’t like it.
Logic Pro just had a new upgrade to 5.1, I think, a couple of weeks ago.
So it’s very focused on like the DJ and performance kind of artist. And so logic has implemented similar facets of what they do; loop modes and triggering different places like that, and almost turning it into a somewhat of a performance component. It’s not a world I live in, so those features that have been updated, and they’re really beautiful if you look at it and go through a couple of tutorials online, you see what they’ve done. It’s really gorgeous and really cool. It’s not how I work, and I don’t really foresee me using a lot of what that is, but it’s a free update, and it’s one less quirky thing that could go wrong with an old version of the software as the operating system progresses.
Yeah, it’s that old question of do I upgrade or not?
Yeah, not if I’m in the middle of a record.
No, no, no, no. So what is your favorite microphone?
I don’t have one, but I love a vintage U 47, I do. But it’s now what? A 25,000-$30,000 microphone if you can find one in good shape.
At NAB two years ago, I went into the Sennheiser booth because they, I don’t know if they purchased them or they’re in partnership with Neumann, and I was so tired of switching microphones all the time that I said, okay, I’m just gonna get the highest level Neumann mic I can possibly find. And the top guy said you don’t need to do that.
Yep. And I was just gonna piggyback on that. The thing is that the way people are now listening to music, whether it’s earbuds or through their computer or whatever, they’re not going to hear the difference between a U 47 or a U 87 or a Shure SM58, they’re probably not going to. But that’s not the point why this microphone isn’t beautiful because when you put a singer in front of a microphone like a U 47, and I’ll also mention I’m a big fan of a microphone company based out of Nashville called Lawson. And it was the first microphone that I put some money down. I think I bought one for maybe around $3,000, but it basically mimicked a Telefunken 251, which is a really expensive vintage microphone. And Gene Lawson is an amazing man. I’m not sure what the production is right now because, over the last 15 years, there’s an onslaught of all these boutique mic manufacturers and more than I can ever even wrap my head around. So that being said before, I don’t have any problem renting a U 47 that’s great, but my Lawson 251 is my go-to microphone, has been forever. I’ve done three personal records on it, and I would even take it to a session just because I’m used to it. And so what I was saying is, even though we listen to music differently, we digest it differently. We hear it in different spaces. When you get a singer behind a microphone that makes them sing a certain way, then you’re talking something different because the performance is recorded in a way that would never have been there if it was with another microphone. All these things are really small and somewhat insignificant, but it’s almost like the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. When a performance just gels, a lot of it can kind of come back to the way that that artist is feeling when he or she is behind a certain microphone and the signal chain that’s going into the computer.
And you know that as a producer, when you’re watching someone perform, you can see when that magic moment happens.
Absolutely. Hands down.
There you go making magic again, Tony.
Maybe we can rename the studio.
Yeah, something like that.
Oh, this is really wonderful. It’s been an amazing transition for you. And you’re an incredible gift to the world of young creatives with what you’re doing at PCG as well.
Thanks. It’s a privilege. I think it shifts when you have kids, and you see this beautiful little person in front of you and how you can support their little soul. And if I can do that through what I know, pretty well, then that to me is what I’m supposed to do at this point.
I’m happy for you, and I’m happy for all the people that are going to benefit from everything you’ve learned in your life.
So, where do people go to learn more about both SoundShop and PCG? Can you tell us?
So, PCG Theatrical is just that pcgtheatrical.com. You can fill in any content on the back page, and we’ll reach out to you, depending on what your desire is and how you want to grow as an artist. SoundShop370 doesn’t have an online presence as of yet, because it’s basically been word of mouth. We’ve got a lot of great clients that way. And so once COVID is wrapping itself up, it will have a much stronger presence online, and people will know where to find us there. But it’s easy to find out what I’m doing by my personal website, which is just tonyvincent.com.
And now if I were to send people to one of your albums or to some of your music, what would you like the most to listen to right now?
Choose between your babies.
In My Head, I’m really proud of this record; it was a project that I did without a record company without another producer. And to me, it’s one left to my own devices, and this is what I do unashamedly. It’s on iTunes or Spotify or what wherever you get your streaming content,
I was actually listening to some of it before I interviewed you. It’s really beautiful. I really do encourage people to go and find it. Just find it, listen to it, buy it. Tony, thank you so much in the middle of everything that’s going on with being at home and running virtual sessions with people and your family and Coronavirus. I think you’re inspiring so many people. So thank you so much for talking with us, and welcome to the OWC Radio family. We’re going to be looking at your next moves, and we’re going to be tracking you, and hopefully, we’ll get you back on again, and good luck with everything that you do.
Sounds great. Thanks so much.
And people know what I tell you every time, get up off your chair, and go do something wonderful today, even if it’s in your own home. Thanks again, Tony.
- Tony Vincent
- PCG Theatrical
- 1176 Peak Limiter
- 2010 Mac tower
- Ableton Live
- American Idiot
- Andrew Lloyd Webber
- Annie Lennox
- Berkeley University of California
- Bohemian Rhapsody
- Brit rock n’ roll
- Buckingham Palace
- Chandler Gear
- Cincinnati Conservatory
- David Bowie
- Eric Clapton
- Felix Cavaliere
- Galileo Figaro
- Gene Lawson
- Golden Jubilee
- Green Day
- Hey Jude
- I Want to Hold Your Hand
- In My Head
- Jesus Christ Superstar
- John Lennon
- Logic Pro
- Natalie Imbruglia
- Neumann U 87
- Paul McCartney
- PCG Theatrical Stage Door
- PCG Universal
- Pepperdine University
- Phil Collins
- Pro Tools
- Queen Elizabeth II
- Roger Taylor
- Shure SM58
- Simon Zealotes
- Sir George Martin
- St. Jimmy
- Telefunken 251
- The Beatles
- The Corrs
- The Rascals
- The Voice
- Vintage Neumann U 47
- We Will Rock You
- Seek inspiration from other artists but create a unique style of your own. Every artist has a role model, but they always find a way to add a twist.
- Cherish your milestones and let them serve as your motivation to achieve and be more. It’s a good feeling to look back at how you’ve grown to fuel your future aspirations.
- Never take anything for granted. In the blink of an eye, everything can change. Learn to appreciate even the simplest things.
- Stay safe and healthy, not just during the pandemic. Think and act collectively. Always look out for each other. We only have one home we call Earth.
- Be more selfless and have more care for your loved ones and neighbors. Find time to check on others and see if they need help or company.
- Have more empathy. Don’t be too quick to react to things and try to understand where they’re coming from. We all have our differences. If we can’t accept them, the next best thing is to not attack others for their own opinions.
- Set a good example for children. Sooner or later, they will become leaders, artists, professionals, parents, or teachers. Our best hope is that the next generation grows up to be better than us.
- Go 1000% on your dreams. If there’s something you want, go for it. Ignore the haters and keep working until you reach your goal.
- Share your gifts with the world. Pay it forward by teaching others who want to learn.
- Check out Tony Vincent’s website to get updates about his music, shows, and more. Check out PCG Theatrical as well if you’re ready to take your talent to the next level.