10 Questions with ... Vincent Poag
November 25, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I had pretty much given up on my singer songwriter musical aspirations many years ago as a young man. I could not support myself and turned my creativity to business.
A few years ago my wife got me guitar lessons for my birthday. This rekindled the music flame. My teacher, Slim Francis who was also a talented singer songwriter, had a makeshift studio, so I decided to record some of the songs I had written.
Prior to this I had only played acoustic guitar and I had never played with a band. Slim brought in some other musicians, and before you know it my creative juices were bursting at the seams. I then hooked up with Kathy Sommer an amazingly accomplished conductor composer arranger to explore each of my song's possibilities.
I released my first CD two years ago and I have just completed my second CD which we will be released in the beginning of the year. The new album has a lot of new songs with varied musical direction.
1) What Got You Interested in music? What inspired you to pursue a career as a recording artist?
My first influence was James Cagney playing song and dance man George M. Cohan in the movie "Yankee Doodle Dandy." I watched this as many times as my daughter has watched "Beauty and the Beast." My parents played the albums of the great Broadway musicals which I also loved.
I took guitar lessons when I was eight-years old for a short time, but I wasn't into the music I was being taught (like "little brown jug"). When I was twelve I had a camp counselor who was an artist from Greenwich Village. His two prize possessions were an acoustic guitar and the first Bob Dylan album. I had never played a chord before this. Bob Dylan resonated deeply in me. That's when I became an advocate and a songwriter.
2) Please tell us about your new Christmas release "This Christmas" and what influenced you to write and record this song?
I wrote this song a while ago. I'm sentimental to the Christmas standards, but I think there's also room for some new contemporary Christmas songs.
This season seems to bring out the best in people. I always loved this time of year. For a brief period, life's pressures are put on pause, moods are elevated, and there's a spirit of kindness and generosity. Of course, the holidays are focused children and family, but isn't that what it's about anyway? Wouldn't it be something if this spirit could last all year?
3) What is your approach to songwriting? How do you capture the inspiration when it comes, and how do you taylor your music to fit in with contemporary artists that are now getting played at radio?
My iPhone has been such a great tool for me. It affords me the ability to make lyric notes and record melodies as they come to me. I can't tell you how many ideas that I've lost along the way. As it stands, I have an extensive collection of unfinished work. I don't think about being contemporary or writing for radio. When it comes, I don't know where it comes from or where it's going? It has a life all its own. It's a good thing I have a day job!
4) Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
Bob Dylan The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Barbara Streisand, Randy Newman, Tom Waits, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Nora Jones, Madeline Perioux, Celine Dion, Suzanne Vega, Tom Petty and many other artists and bands too numerous to mention.
5) How have social networks and sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter affected the way you promote your music and interact with your fans?
These services are all tremendous vehicles for artists to get their work out there. That never existed before. I'm personally too distracted to manage social media, but it is certainly important to do this effectively. These sites have created a whole new industry and opportunity to connect with people. I'm not sure if anybody's figured it out yet as it keeps evolving.
6) How are you using new music technologies to record music and in your personal life?
I use Pro-Tools to record basic tracks of vocals and guitars at home. I'm a novice, but it helps me fine tune my ideas. Often, what you think your hearing doesn't sound the same when you hear it back. Some of the tracks I've recorded have been the final versions, but mostly I record everything over professionally.
7) Can you pick a favorite song from the new album?
This is hard for me to answer. I've taken some interesting detours here, but I'm proud of the result. Some of my favorites are "Scarlette And Me," "Waiting For Me," and "Momma" for sentimental reasons.
8) What are the biggest changes you would like to see happen in the music and radio industries?
I would like to see more new artists introduced on radio. Pandora is an interesting format for this, but they need to increase their payments to artists.
9) If you had the opportunity to work with any act/artist from the past, present or future, who would it be?
I like to do a duet with Bob Dylan, have a beer with Tom Waits, get Randy Newman's help on arrangements, get Barbara Streisand to record my Christmas song, and then get James Taylor to record my song "Little One."
10) What is the one truth that has always remained constant throughout your career?
Luck is usually the intersection of hard work and perseverance.
What do you do in your spare time?
I love playing sports: tennis, golf skiing and enjoy the arts, eating, wine, and music.
Favorite cities to visit
Paris and London.