Ladies and Gentlemen, Vince Vaccaro

Vince Vaccaro is loving life right now. It’s evident upon meeting the man, and why wouldn’t he be? He just finished playing the inaugural Tall Tree Festival in Port Renfrew, has shows lined up for the summer, and is a finalist in the Peak FM Performance Project. More important than all of that though, is how he got there.
Music has always been a big part of Vaccaros’ life, until about five and a half years ago, when he stopped chasing that dream, and took off for Australia. Who knew that’s all it would take? Spending only months in the Southern Hemisphere, Vince headed back to the Provincial Capital with fire.

“The day I came back, I had come back from a place of not wanting to continue, you know? I mean when you try for so long on something, it is discouraging, you take little steps, but then you also take so many steps back, you know time holds you up, or something doesn’t work out, or whatever it is.
When I came home, it was like “Go, go, go, this is what we’re doing, and this is how I’m gonna do it” just like go, go, go really hard, that was the only thing I had going on. Where as now I’m doing various things, and it’s a little more manageable, a little less stressful.
It’s been 5 years since I’ve come home, so in a way, I feel like this is a completely different place I’m in now where I’m just happy to be. I make music at home, I record in my living room, and I’m happy to be doing that right now again, it feels more like a balanced equation.” Vaccaro told me recently on a hike at Thetis Lake.

Vaccaros’ songs are performed as well as they are written. The live show being such an important part of any musician’s career, Vaccaro has a simple approach.

“People want to connect man, there is so much disconnect. So for me, without getting stupid deep, it’s just a human connection, and the show is the same way. With the show, I lose myself in the songs, like completely. Sometimes there’s some videos out there, where I’m just, eyes closed, hands in the air, just in the moment. You see it later, and you go “I don’t even remember that” cause you’re so lost in it, and I think people crave that, that real connection that musicians have. I love seeing bands that I would call almost spiritual music. You know Ben Harper? When I see him perform, I’ve seen him three times now, all three times it was just, almost like watching Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley mixed up together. You know when you get that real soulful thing? Just really intense, I like that. I like connecting with music like that. That’s where I think the live show is. You can’t download that.”

With an abundance of talent and experience, Vaccaro has to be a favourite in the Peak FM Performance Project. Great songwriting, along with an excellent stage presence make Vince a tough act to go up against, though he’s trying not to look at it that way.

“It is a crazy thing. My truest feeling is, I'm almost uncomfortable what I would say, going up against some of my best friends. I don’t want to compete against Steph, she's like my sister, you know? So you gotta switch your perspective from going up against, to doing the best you can.
But the air of competition is still out here, it’s around. We all want the top prize. We did an orientation, it was the first commitment we had. I just attended the workshop with Tom Jackson, he’s a performance coach, he’s actually the number one performance coach in the world. He coached us on some stuff, and everything he said made complete sense. And I’m the kinda person that doesn’t wanna be told what to do. If someone tells me what to do, right away my defense is up cause I feel like they're changing me. Even if they want the best of out me, or they're suggesting something out of genuine care, I still have my back up. I don’t know what that is, but I’ve always been that way. I don’t want to change for anything, or I don’t want to change my music for anybody at all. Watching him work with bands, he was awesome. He didn’t change them for his liking, he changed them so that he took the best out of them. Like a music producer in the recording studio gets the best take out of the artist, he’s just getting the best live take out of a performing situation. So that was good for me to see.”

It’s been more than a year since his self-titled full length came out, but that doesn’t mean Vince hasn’t been busy writing and recording. In an ever changing industry, artists are looking for new ways to connect with fans. A lighter approach to recorded goods, and more of a push to the live show seems to be the way these days. The Montreal born musician understands this trend and embraces it fully.

“I’ve been recording some new stuff, I’ve spent the last 6 months or more, just writing, writing, writing. Just being really open to anything that I hear. That’s how I feel music comes to me. It’s not like I sit there and go “I wanna write a song about how beautiful I think this is”.  I just hear music in my head. I don’t even know how to explain it, but I just sorta hear everything. I hear all the parts, it’s like a feeling that comes over you or something. Like when your mood changes, you’re just suddenly super happy.  That’s how music comes to me, suddenly I hear music. So I’ve been open to that, I’ve been writing a ton, I have over 50 songs right now, It’s insane. I picked my favourite four. I put them down last week, and I wanted to be able to tell friends and people, not to spread the word, just share what I’m up to. Like a cool photo I’ve taken. I'm not trying to make it the next thing. If you check it out at http://www.fireandsun.com/, there is an explanation of what it is. Those 4 songs, I’ve been focusing a lot on that. I want to release something for free on the internet. That’s kinda what I want to do, because honestly people don’t really buy music anymore man.  I don’t want to create any more garbage in the world, so I’m gonna do a little bit of free download action. It doesn’t cost me anything to write them, they come to me freely. So who am I to say “pay me this for that.”, it’s like no. If I’m gonna be like the person in between whatever’s out there and music, then cool, you can have it all for free you know. Hopefully they come to the live show, and that’s how I can make a living. That’s sort of my vision right now for my future.”

I feel like a broken record sometimes, but it’s that sort of attitude that makes you want success for the man. When an artist puts his fans up front like that, you can’t help but be impressed. The four tracks available at http://www.fireandsun.com/are solid, my personal favourite being “Coco”, where Vaccaro shows off his bi-lingual skills. With a musical style that is “instant classic rock”, Vaccaro is another kick ass Canadian musician with plenty to offer. With all the momentum he has been gaining, there is no better time to show your support. An easy feat for a musician who wants nothing more than to just share his music and his moments.

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