Cross Rhythms (original article)
June 1, 1995
By Jan Willem Vink
Cross Rhythms enthusiastically reviewed his debut independent single "Love Falling Down". Now, two years on, the big break has happened for TONY VINCENT. He was interviewed
Year after year the music industry is flooded with thousands of individuals pursuing recording contracts and fame and fortune. Most of them will never make it. Some will get a chance to record an album and then disappear into anonymity. Few are the ones who are able to create quite a buzz with their debut album. Those artists are most likely to stay and will contribute their talents to how contemporary Christian music will be developing in the years to come. In my book Tony Vincent is such a guy.
Tony Vincent's record company must have spent big money on the recording of his self-titled debut album. 'Tony Vincent' was produced by none other than Charlie Peacock and Brent Bourgeois, who also had a big input in the writing of the songs.
Tony's sound has often been described as Euro-pop. Tony is obviously very much influenced by European pop music from the 80s. States Tony, "Before I decided I wanted to do Christian music, I was raised on secular radio. That is my background. That is what I was influenced by. The whole European music scene, early 80s Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, Tears For Fears, that genre of music has carried over in how I write, how I tend to feel."
The opening song of the album, "Must Be The Season", has a very strong Duran Duran sound, while "High" has more of a Beatles vibe. But Bourgeois and Peacock haven't come up with a sound that's dated, but have produced an album that is radio friendly for today's listeners.
Comments Tony, "When I first met Charlie Peacock and Brent Bourgeois in doing this record we wanted to write songs that surpassed a demographic age as well as a timeframe. We didn't want to create music that was genre specific. Charlie and Brent wrote quite a lot with me on this project and it definitely created a different vibe for the record, that I'm so pleasantly pleased with because it comes across as much more mature than my first record. Teaming up with these two gentlemen has given me a sound that is definitely my own."
Tony Vincent grew up in Alberquerque, New Mexico. Music and arts played an important role in their family. "My sister was my best friend while we were growing up. We were extremely close, possibly because we were both involved with singing in churches and school musicals and things like that. My parents were very involved with me as I was growing up and my love for the theatre and music. Our relationship though went much deeper than the mere roles of family. We were friends as well as them being my parents. That was a very comfortable thing being around my folks."
Although the Vincents went to church, they had never heard they could have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. "He seemed to be a very distant character," remembers Tony. "Until I saw a musical that was presented to me by one of my friends from church when I was 15. My whole family attended actually and as a result started attending this church, which talked about a grace theology, what Jesus Christ had done for us and what its purpose was. There was no way we could earn salvation. After attending this church for four months my family decided that we should each individually turn our lives over to Jesus Christ and that we should all be baptised four months later in the same pool, which is pretty cool."
Learning more about grace changed the outlook on life for Tony and the subject has become one of the most important elements of his ministry. "I was raised in a very legalistic setting," says the young singer, "where grace was not presented, but it was a 'works' faith that I was taught Christianity was supposed to be about. That's why I talk so much about it, because I have a real burden for the church that I was raised in. But the message didn't became real to me until the summer of my senior year when I had a chance to see Jesus Christ really displayed before me by kids of my own age. That really changed my life, giving me perspective on where I needed to go and also where God wanted me as a musician and what my calling was and where I saw him working and giving me the opportunity to be a part of that."
After recording his first single "Love Falling Down", Tony and his father/manager started working the American Christian radio. His single went to the number one position on the local Christian radio station in Alberquerque. Says Tony, "That gave me the incentive to put together this independent project that included that song, which we marketed across the country to all the reporting stations. We figured if we could get it on the national charts that would in turn give us a shot at getting a record deal. When it hit nationally, no one was particularly interested in Tony Vincent."
When Tony played a festival in Iowa, he was spotted with more than the usual interest by the Newsboys on their 'Not Ashamed Tour', signed a multi-album recording contract with "Star Song and joined the Newsboys on the 'Going Public Tour'.
Tony, like all other Star Song artists, has a well-formulated mission statement. "My goal as an artist is to create music in an innovative and professional way...Dismissing the concept of religion and presenting Jesus Christ as a real and passionately loving God, whose grace is for everyone." Comments Tony, "That I believe myself, Tony Vincent, is called to as a musician, an artist and just as a man. A man living as a servant of Jesus Christ." In my opinion, he does that very well.