With over 340,000 subscribers and 69 million views, Joseph Vincent has undoubtedly emerged as one of the most talented singer-songwriters on YouTube. His easy charm, buttery smooth voice, and striking good looks have won him fans all over the world. Throughout the past few years, Joseph has been churning out originals, covering hits and collaborating with numerous musicians like Clara C (“Shy That Way”), Kina Grannis (“The Christmas Song”) and frequent collaborator Jason Chen. He was even handpicked to appear on the Ellen show in her Wonderful Web of Wonderment segment, where he blew the audience away with a cover of IYAZ’s “Replay”. With the release of “Blue Skies” in October 2012, Joseph has been touring in support of his debut album, and Singapore was fortunately one of his stops!
On his second trip to our sunny shores, Joseph takes center stage at Music Matters Live with HP 2013. This time, armed with a full band, Joseph lighted up the venue with his original melodies. Opening with “S.A.D. (Single Awareness Day)”, the crowd sang loudly along to the Valentine’s Day tune. Up next, the crooner pleased fans with his breakout song “If You Stay”, an endearing tune accompanied by an equally enchanting music video of Joseph gliding towards a lady he is trying to woo in a library. The best part of the night was when Joseph and his band hopped off stage and made their way to the middle, getting up close and personal with his loyal fans to belt out “Bumblebee”. He wrapped up his set with “Blue Skies”, a bluesy pop song about love. The evening was light-hearted yet spectacular in its own way. Joseph’s dulcet voice was carried forth by the rest of his band, and his delightful charm did not hurt one bit. At one point, he titillated fans by singing, “Singapore is great… You guys have the best food in the world”, to light guitar strums. After the night’s performance, it was no wonder why Joseph has such a massive fanbase.
In our final instalment of the Music Matters Live with HP 2013 series, Joe answers some of our burning questions. Enjoy the interview!
We hope you enjoyed Singapore! Did you have time to get out much?
I loved our trip to Singapore, but I didn’t get out to see too much because of all the events and press that were going on for Music Matters. Although we did have time to go and grab some Chilli and pepper crab, which were deliciously amazing!
We love your debut album “Blue Skies”. How did you feel on the release day?
Thank you so much! To be honest, this project meant everything to me since it was my first album. This was going to be the first time that people really got to hear my own music written about my experiences, and to get a better understanding of who I am as an artist and as a person. So to cut to the chase, it was a bittersweet feeling on the release day. I was glad that the process was over, but I was so happy to have gone through that journey.
Which is your favourite track?
My favorite track on the album would have to be “My Queen”. It’s the only ballad on the track (a story about falling in love with the right person at the wrong time) and it has so much emotional weight in it that I hope listeners can relate to.
What is your songwriting process like?
I don’t have a set formula of how I go about my songwriting process. Sometimes I’m at home and a simple thought triggers a whole snowball of ideas and metaphors that turn into melodies. Sometimes I’m on the road and something I hear or see triggers another trail of ideas that lead to a song. I can consistently say though that I do like to write when I’m alone, it gives me time to really think about what I’m working on and is at a lot of times very therapeutic for me.
Are any of your songs based on personal experiences?
Well, my song “If You Stay” is based on a long distance relationship that I was in. A lot of my songs are reflections of experiences that I’m going through or have been through in my life.
Has music always been your passion? Were you into other things growing up?
I’ve always had music around in my life, growing up I never limited myself to what kinds of music I would listen to. When I turned 15, I got my first guitar for Christmas and taught myself how to play it. From then on, I learned how to play and cover some of my favorite artists’ songs, and eventually went on to write some of my own songs. I was huge on playing sports and staying active, basketball and volleyball were the two sports that played competitively through middle school, high school, and even through college. A healthy body supports a healthy mind :)
How did you learn to play the guitar? Do you play any other instruments?
As I’ve answered in the previous question, I taught myself how to play guitar, covering songs and going on to writing my own. I can play a cowbell pretty well (Author’s note: Yes! We gotta have more cowbell!).
Who are your musical inspirations?
Artists that I really look up to now are Jack Johnson, Bob Marley, Jason Mraz, Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, Justin Timberlake, Michael Bublé. But growing up, my dad introduced me and had me listening to the Jackson 5, Billy Joel, Elton John, Queen, America, etc. so these artists definitely had an influence on me growing up and allowed me to have a solid foundation of what real good music is.
You mentioned at the YouTube FanFest that you would have been a nurse if you did not pursue music full-time. Would you say that this social awareness plays a role in the type of music you put out there?
Well this was how it worked in my head when I was in college. At the time I entered into college as an undecided/undeclared major because I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to do music, but the music program required that I already know how to play two instruments as well as have solid knowledge on how to read and play sheet music. For me that was out of the question and I thought I could do music as a side thing and maybe find something else that I would like to major in. In my 2nd to 3rd year of college I garnered some supporters off of the earlier videos that I was posting on YouTube, and I started to get gigs playing at a lot of benefit concerts all around Southern California. I thought if I could build a following who is willing to hear me play, and in turn raise money and awareness for a cause, there might be something to this. So I finally decided to major in Public Health Policy, since it was already something I was actively participating in while being able to play music at the same time :)
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to rest, work out, spend time with my family and friends, and just have some time to myself and reflect to be honest. Video games can be fun sometimes lol.
What is the most memorable moment of your career so far?
Actually, one of the most amazing moments in my career was when I played for the YouTube concert in May of 2012 last year. Playing to over 2500 people singing every word of songs that I wrote was just too unbelievable, for sure a very humbling and memorable moment for me.
Do you remember your first live gig?
Yes I do actually lol. I played at this open mic at a coffee shop called “It’s a Grind” in the San Fernando Valley here in California. I don’t think the coffee shop is there any more, but it was funny because through my entire set, blenders were going off!!! Haha. But people still were attentive and it wasn’t too bad lol.
Did you get to catch other acts at Music Matters Live? Any favourites?
I saw a couple, but got to say that I’m still a fan of David Choi and got to see him play at Fern and Kiwi the night before I was going to play there, his music is awesome.
You have been to Singapore twice and we love you for it. Come back again next year?
What can we expect from you in the future?
More music and more smiles :)
Thanks Joseph for the awesome interview! Check out his latest video, a fantastic acoustic rendition of “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk Ft. Pharrell.