Pride is going to be very different this year. The parades and parties that June has become known for simply won’t be happening for obvious reasons. But that doesn’t mean people can’t celebrate — a little bit of ingenuity and flexibility goes a long way.
Outloud: Raising Voices is a queer-centric virtual concert series taking place throughout June, keeping the spirit of Pride alive with performers which include Madame Gandhi, Flavia, Bang Bang Romeo and Los Angeles synth-pop/soul star Vincint.
It’s already been a good year — even allowing for the pandemic — for Vincint. He released his The Feeling EP in February (which he says he’s still “super excited” about), and then May saw him announce that he had written a song, “Be Me,” for season 5 of Queer Eye. (Naturally, he’s pretty excited about that too.)
He’s come a long way in the two years since he first came to the public’s attention as a contestant on singing reality show The Four. That sort of experience, as seen by former contestants on The Voice, American Idol, etc, can produce mixed emotions. Vincint, however, remains pragmatic, even upbeat about it all.
“I think it was cool,” he says. “I never really loved singing reality TV shows, but for me it was the perfect start. Before I got onto the show, I was doing shows. I was selling out shows in New York and L.A., and it was great but I needed a bigger audience. I got to go on the show and showcase my talent and my identity. It was not made into a joke and it wasn’t made fun of. It was an ease to a bigger audience, and to get more people familiar with who I am and what I do. For me it was good. I can’t speak for other people, it probably wasn’t the best for them, but I had a good time.”
Vincint has evolved since the show, as a musician, a performer and a songwriter. His lyrics, he says, have seen him reveal more of his private life as he gets more and more honest.
“I get to use different sounds and different synths that I love, and I often get to talk about things in a broader sense that I did before,” he says. “[On the show], I wasn’t in the relationship that I was in when I wrote this album. I wasn’t in the place that I was when I wrote this EP. So it was kinda different for me. So I think it relates a lot more now than it did when I first started in music. It’s more direct, it’s more personable. I’ve gotten messages: ‘I didn’t even know I felt this way until I listened to this. It’s kinda cool that you are going through the exact same thing I am.’ For me, that means everything.”
The singer describes his sound as synth-pop, or dance-pop, drenched in nostalgia.
“I always say that I like to write nostalgia, and that’s why I like the idea of putting a memory into a song and having someone really dive into it at a show or even listen to it in a car,” he says. “Just having them listen to it in a place where it’s easier to get to an emotion than it would be in day to day life.”
Vincint released a string of singles in 2018 and 2019 as he worked to get people familiar with him before dropping a larger body of work. It’s a tactic that seems to have worked, as the EP has been very received well so far. The lockdown slammed on the brakes as he was gaining momentum, but the artist has been coping with quarantine in much the same way as the rest of us.
“I’m eating a lot of food and drinking a lot of wine,” he says with a laugh. “That is what I am doing, if you want an honest answer.”
He’s not moping then. He’s also been writing, and has a bunch of new songs set for release.
“I think because of everything that’s happening, it’s given me more of a want to get out of what we’re in,” Vincint says. “I’ve been writing from a place that I haven’t written from in a long time, since I was a teenager. It’s this, not dream, but otherworldly place where I’m like, I’m in a different life and this is not what’s really happening. I step out of the reality where we’re all in and get to a place where I can be the person I think I should be right now. Dancing, living, going to the beach and doing the things I love doing. Living life to the fullest.”
Vincint says that he’ll be celebrating Pride like everyone else this year: behind his phone, drunk in his living room and dancing while wearing a rainbow crop-top.
“I plan to do some shows, and bring people together,” he says. “I don’t want people to think that Pride has to be all of us in the same place to celebrate who we are. That’s not true. I want them to think they can get on the phone, on a streaming service, and hear a concert and still feel loved, wanted and included. Because that’s what it’s all about. It’s not about us getting drunk in the middle of the street and dancing. It’s about knowing that we have people around us who like and love us, and it’s a community which cares about each other.”
The Outloud concert will be a good start, as he performs songs from the EP from home. After that, he can’t wait for lockdown to be lifted so he can take a vacation.
“I’m going so far away from my house that it will be laughable that I was ever here,” he says. “I plan on trying to go somewhere very far from America. Hopefully go there to write music, or just be outside and be in nature. More than that, I’m excited to put out more music. I want people to feel good, especially when they get out of all this. I know that the relief will be intense, and I want to have some sort of soundtrack in the back of that.”
Vincint’s The Feeling EP is out now, as is his new single “Be Me” from season 5 of Queer Eye. For information about the Outloud events, visit Facebook.com/officiallyoutloud.