Albuquerque Journal
April 25, 1997
Byline: Dan Hyatt FOR THE JOURNAL

Gospel singer finds live band adds passion to performances--
When Tony Vincent left Albuquerque in 1991 to go to college in Nashville, Tenn., he wanted to be an actor. Somehow he became a singer instead. So sometimes life doesn't turn out like we planned, but Vincent is not complaining.

Six years later, with a total of six No. 1 hits, two coming from his latest album, "One Deed," Vincent has become one of the biggest names on the contemporary Christian music scene.

This week, Vincent returns on his first headlining tour. His band will perform at 7 p.m. May 2 at the Hoffmantown Church, 8888 Harper NE.

Vincent's local show is part of a 50-city tour his band is on and will include performances in Roswell on Monday in Gateway Church, Hobbs on Tuesday in First Assembly Church, and Alamogordo in First Assembly of God on Thursday.

The tour took an unexpected turn early this month when the band's van struck the back of a tractor-trailer rig, injuring two members.

But even an accident couldn't keep Vincent from playing in the town where he grew up.

Vincent began performing at the age of 2, appearing in television commercials. As he grew up, he continued to appear in theatrical productions at Albuquerque Civic Light Opera, Albuquerque Little Theatre and Hoffmantown Church.

While still in college, Vincent released his first single, "Love Falling Down."

The song -- which Vincent's father, Peter Strascina, helped produce -- reached No. 1 at Albuquerque's KLYT-FM radio before receiving airplay on stations throughout the United States.

It gained national attention and led to a recording contract with EMI/Star Song Records.

Vincent's songs are straight-ahead danceable pop that sport ingenious hooks, but what makes them memorable are his personal lyrics, which deal with the joy and pain of living.

Billboard Magazine called Vincent a "talent too impressive to be limited to one market."

And "One Deed" may just gain Vincent some crossover attention.

"One Deed" differs somewhat from Vincent's self-titled debut. While the first album was driven by electronic beats, all of the tracks on "One Deed" are played by live human beings.

"I'm a big computer freak," Vincent says, explaining the first album, adding that he grew up listening to bands like Depeche Mode, which had a heavy electronic sound.

"But with a band there's an element of passion that you just don't get with a click track," he says.

The album also differs in one other way. Both albums are personal albums, drawing from Vincent's own experience, but the nature of the experience is different.

"My first album was more about my personal relationship with God." Vincent says, " 'One Deed' is more about my relationships with the people around me."

While in New Mexico, Vincent will also help kick off a campaign for the United Way.

His new album's title song, "One Deed," inspires the main theme for the 1997 annual campaign of United Way of Central New Mexico, and will appear in television, radio and print ads for the remainder of the year. In addition, Vincent will act as spokesman for the duration of the campaign.

"I heard the song, and it was perfect for us," says Joanne Fine, director of Marketing and Public Relations for the local United Way. "I think it's a first for a local United Way office. We've asked a lot of singers for songs before, but they have never said yes without asking huge costs, which of course, we can't afford."

Vincent asked no money at all.

"I've always wanted to be a part of an organization that helps people," Vincent says. "I hope it will start a trend."

The song is about how what seems like a small help can indeed be "one great, great deed."

Vincent explains: "You don't have to win a Nobel Prize to affect other people's lives."

Tony Vincent:

WHEN and WHERE: Monday, Gateway Church, Roswell; Tuesday, First Assembly Church, Hobbs; Thursday, First Assembly of God, Alamogordo; May 2, Hoffmantown Church, Albuquerque.
HOW MUCH: $5 advance at the churches and many area Christian bookstores, $10 at the door
PHOTO: b/w
Albuquerque native and Nashville recording artist Tony Vincent plans four New Mexico concerts in his 50-city tour.