Out and proud singer Vincint Cannady (aka VINCINT) continues to change the game in the world of pop music. He got his start from performing in gospel groups before becoming a finalist in the singing competition The Four. His track "Be Me" was selected as the anthem for the fifth season of Netflix's Queer Eye.
His debut album, There Will Be Tears, dropped this past June and has led to collaborations with such artists as Alex Newell, Parson James and Queen Herby. "Getaway"his song with twin sisters Tegan & Sarahas led to calling what is now The Getaway Tour.
VINCINT has played live at many LGBTQ+ events over the years, including Netflix Pride 2020, 2018's LOVELOUD Festival and Chicago's Pride Fest this past October. He spoke with Windy City Times from his Los Angeles home before the start of his 2022 tour.
Windy City Times: What are your pronouns?
Vincint Cannady: I love that. Most interviewers don't ever ask that. My pronouns are he/him.
WCT: Do you prefer the label of queer or gay artist?
VC: Just an artist, but the gay part will be seen and heard!
WCT: Did you always want to work in music?
VC: I did. My dad was a singer in a gospel group for 20 years. That was my first introduction to music and I fell in love with the harmonies as soon as I heard them. He started me on the path to being a singer. I did some songwriting when I was little, but I didn't let anyone hear it because I was very shy.
WCT: Where did you grow up and how long have you been performing?
VC: I am from Philadelphia. I have been performing since I was seven years old. My dad put me in a bunch of competitions when I was younger. I joined a boy choir. Ever since my dad found out I could sing and that I wanted to pursue that, it was go time from there!
I eventually went to Berklee College of Music in Boston. That is where I found my footing in songwriting and performing.
WCT: You use all capital letters in your name?
VC: I did that on the first single I ever put out, and it stuck. It always feels very pretentious to me when it pops up. I know I am not Beyonce and need to calm down! That is where my mind goes, but I go with it. If it happens to be that way then it happens to be that way.
WCT: You were last here for Pride Fest. Talk about that particular show.
VC: I had always wanted to play Chicago, but never had the chance. When I was offered the opportunity through the organization, I was hoping people would come. My biggest fear is that no one would show up. I always think it will just be me and the dancers having a great time.
It was one of the best shows I did and when I came out the street was packed. I was blown away and it was so much fun. My friends Betty Who and Todrick Hall had told me that Chicago is the city to perform at.
It was surreal and everyone knew the words to the songs. It was a nice way to end my summer run for Pride.
WCT: Your voice was amazing on Halsted that night.
VC: Thank you. She really held up on that last show! The music gets people going, but the live experience allows me to have a communal moment with the fans. We can be together and cry, as opposed to seeing me cry about my feelings alone.
WCT: How is your voice after some recent struggles?
VC: It is fully healed. I had vocal surgery, which was something I had been meaning to do for the last three years. I finally found the time right after that show, actually.
I went to Dr. Reena Gupta and she is one of the best vocal surgeons around. I made a full recovery in a week and now I have a more pristine voice, which is nice!
WCT: Didn't Adele have surgery like this?
VC: I had a polypa small growth from singing over the course of many years. Adele had a vocal hemorrhage and a completely different thing. She has made a full recovery also and is now the top artist in the world.
WCT: With this being your first headline tour, what do you have planned for audiences?
VC: It is my first time and I have been ready to do this my whole life. I have many secret things happening on this tour. There will be mashups and songs I have never done live before. There will be special guests. I will have dancers with a whole production. It is going to be insane. I have been planning this since I was six and I cannot wait!
WCT: Is there a certain song you are looking forward to playing live?
VC: "Loving You 88." Some of the songs from the album I didn't get to do in the summer because I wanted to do them in a progression. It is a story with different chapters on the album. I might play some unreleased songs at this show.
WCT: Did a lot of the music come out of the lockdown?
VC: Yes, I wrote the whole album during the pandemic. That is what psychopaths do. [laughs] They sit in their apartment and record songs about their feelings for a year, then put them out into the world.
That album came out of a bunch of therapy sessions and time with myself. I wanted to discover who I am as a human being and what that means to me. I wanted to grow and become more in tune with myself and other people.
WCT: Your song "The Friend" sounds like it is directly referencing someone. Has that person heard the song yet?
VC: Jerry, I am petty and, of course, I told them. There is no mystery when I write a song. I tell people before the album comes out that I have written a song about them. They only get to hear it when it is done and out in the world.
WCT: Talk about working with all of these openly queer artists on There Will Be Tears.
VC: All of these collaborations weren't my intention in the first place. It was going to be just me. When I listened to the songs after they were finished, I could hear different voices on them. I decided to reach out to my friends and see if they wanted to be on it. Every time I reached out everyone said "yes" within the first three seconds, so it was done!
The Tegan & Sara collaboration happened because of a tweet. I am on the board with them for LOVELOUD, which is an organization in Salt Lake City that was started by Dan Reynolds from Imagine Dragons and helps LGBTQ youth find housing, schooling and funds after being displaced from their homes. I sent them the song after tweeting to them and they sent it back with background vocals the same day!
WCT: What a lessonto always shoot for the moon.
VC: I had to go for it; the worst they could say was "no." Good thing they didn't!
WCT: Does it feel like things are getting easier for LGBTQ+ musicians these days?
VC: No. I won't even lie to you and make up some pretty answer. It is lovely to see some of us succeeding in places we haven't before, but it needs to happen more. There are people from behind closed doors who are not aware of how the world is changing. It would be beautiful to see other LGBT artists, like myself and my friends, be given the chance that we deserve on platforms and interviews. Most of the artists I know don't even get interviews. They just hope people will show up at their concerts.
In some ways, it is getting easier to be accepted in those worlds by word of mouth, but it needs to be a hundred times better than it is right now. I am always going to advocate for a little bit more.
WCT: We have to keep fighting. I was just at a holiday concert with various musicians and parents took their kids out of the show when Lil Nas X came on because he's gay, but had no problem with the previous acts cursing and twerking earlier in the evening.
VC: People are still stuck in their old mindsets and hopefully that is changing. We still have to keep working and I get tired of it. That is the plight!
WCT: Is Kim Petras possibly not a household name because of being transgender?
VC: She is probably the most talented artist we have out right now and, yes, she should be a household name on everyone's lips. It is a shame because she deserves that platform.
I know her and she is not a quitter at all, so it will happen eventually for her for sure.
WCT: What are your plans after the tour?
VC: There is new music and videos coming out. As soon as the album was finished, I started writing again because I am crazy and like to overwork myself. These stories needed to be told.
Hopefully, I get to take a little break, but if not, that is fine too. I love what I do, so I am excited to keep going with it. This summer should be busy.
WCT: I am sure there will be a lot of Pride festivals for you to play at.
VC: From your mouth to God's ears!
The Getaway Tour touches down in Chicago on Tuesday, Jan. 18 at Subterranean, 2011 W. North Ave., at 8 p.m. For $20 tickets to the upcoming 17+ concert, visit SubT.net .