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Exclusive Interview With Vincent Poag, The Man Behind Masquerade [LP]

Vincent Poag’s multiple releases have been watched millions of times on YouTube, with “America,” “Stress,” and “This Christmas.” His latest album, Masquerade, is bound to follow a similar trajectory. We had the chance to chat with Vincent about his latest album, upcoming projects and more!

First of all, we really want to congratulate you on the release of the album Masquerade. What drove you to release such a vast genre collection?

Thank you. Many of these songs were already in the works. I usually develop the songs/ideas as they come to me. Some are prompted by feelings, others by events. In the last two years we had challenges to our country’s freedoms, a presidential election, and an insurrection, all amidst a worldwide pandemic which closed down and changed all of our lives.  Talk about food for thought…Thus the songs “America”, “La La” and “How Lucky Am I.” “America” is a love song for our great country which I felt had lost its way. “La La” is a satirical, perhaps ironic, look at life as well as the heroes through this pandemic. “How Lucky Am I” is just about appreciation of being alive.

We see that the piano, among other instruments, truly shined on this album. Why is that?

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Most of these songs were written on piano. I decided to try to learn to play piano just before the pandemic to stimulate my ears to new sounds. I only took a few lessons before everything closed down. Nevertheless, this expanded my hearing to new creative ideas. If I could play I’d really be dangerous.  Fortunately my talented conductor/arranger Kathy Sommer is an accomplished pianist who performed and expanded upon the simple songs/melodies I had written on piano.

The names of the albums are truly interesting. What was the thought process behind each name? Do they have a connection to one another?

Let’s see, “Circling back” my first album was my foray back to music and songwriting which I had abandoned years ago to make a living and support my family. “For the Girls”, this one’s dedicated to the girls. How much of what men do is for the girls? Much of what I did was, but I can only speak for myself. We also had some beautiful violinists play on that album.  “Heroes and Demons” refers to the continuing struggle between good and evil. The songs on that album travel to many personal places. I think my song “And the Ocean Rolls” sums it up. “Masquerade ” the title of this album is taken from one of my songs on that album “La La” which resonates with me but doesn’t seem to appeal to anyone else I’ve played it for. Ha. It’s also a play on this new “masked” era. I think all the albums are unique. The only common thread is me.

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Tell us more about the design behind the album cover. We see a lot of colors and monuments happening

It’s all a comical depiction of these last two years of isolation. The artwork was a process. The initial attempts were not artistic enough. We ultimately decided to hire a cartoonist and gave them specific visuals to work with. After a few rounds of new ideas we signed off on it. Comedy can be an effective therapy. We could all use more laughter.

How would you say this latest album differs from your first one “Circling Back”?

My first recordings were simpler, mostly me on guitar in one session. We brought in a few other musicians for a few additional sessions. These songs were expanded upon by Kathy Sommer. My knowledge of musical arrangements, instruments and orchestrations has grown exponentially, allowing me to experiment with different genres. I prefer not to be pigeon-holed into one category.

How do you think your musical upbringing—being born in the 50’s—differs from other new musicians today?

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I was a fan of standards, Broadway musicals, the 50’s AM radio rock and roll, then the 60’s FM radio generation of singer-songwriters. I was certainly inspired by Bob Dylan, The Beatles and all the great singer-songwriters. I believe we are all influenced by the times we grow up in, by what we’re exposed to and what we gravitate to.

What artists have influenced you the most and you can truly see their mark on your work today?

Too many to count. Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Billy Joel, Tom Waits, the Standards, Broadway and so many more.

Are there any upcoming projects on the horizon?

I’m always working on new material. Mostly, I just can’t wait to get back to being free to resume a normal social life. We’re getting there. We’ll get there.

Vincent Poag links: InstagramYouTubeSpotifyWebsite 

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Music Stars Come Together From Rock To Pop, They’re All United In One Cause – To Save The Planet

“The warnings about global warming have been extremely clear for a long time. We are facing a global climate crisis. It is deepening. We are entering a period of consequences.”— Al Gore

“Born Free” album was released on Minds Behind the Music label only a few weeks before the world came face-to-face with yet another wave of extreme weather when England and Northern Europe fell victim to scorching temperatures. Recent events aside, it hasn’t been a good year for Planet Earth. While monsoon rains have unleashed disastrous flooding in Bangladesh, East Africa was hit with a drought that’s brought millions on the brink of famine. The climate is changing and the most alarming part is that scientists say the worst is yet to come.

The previous fundraising album by Minds Behind the Music included such stars as Simon Kirke of Bad Company, Mungo Jerry and Ric Sanders of Fairport Convention. Thanks to these legendary artists, the release saw mainstream distribution. Now Brad Walsh, Lorenzo Cabanizza, Jay Elle, Tom Tikka, The Remnants, Doctor Zee and many others have come together to raise awareness about the plight our planet is in. Since almost nothing speaks to humans more than music, the label and the artists are hoping that the world will listen … before it’s too late.

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So make a difference, download the record and settle down with a nice environmentally friendly cup of musical tea. “Born Free” is an album of unique and special songs recorded especially for Minds Behind the Music. Enjoy the tunes, savor the message: Planet Earth needs your help.

The revenue from each purchased album will go toward Born Free Foundation’s sustainability project that helps communities around the world to achieve more environmentally friendly future.

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Artist Spotlight

Kate Stewart’s New single “The Game” is a royal flush

Kate Stewart

Kate Stewart presents a new single called “The Game,” which displays the realm of not getting played by anyone. This track “The Game” reflects on an opportunity to show power and get back to yourself when you’ve fallen astray. Lyrically saying how it feels to know exactly what you want when you want it. It’s all about playing your own game, one where you have control of the outcome and finding a more self-assured version of yourself, all the while having your own full house.

“The game is the game” is just something that I and all my friends have always said. Whenever I try to explain it to people they never understand, you just have to hear it in context to get it! However I thought it would make a really cool title for a song, and in this instance ‘The Game’ symbolizes not letting anything or anyone get in the way of you or what you’re trying to do. You just have to look forward and enjoy the ride, looking back will only hinder all the progress you’ve made. Don’t let anyone dull your shine, the games the game!” – KATE STEWART

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Kate Stewart shines in her daring approach that pays off majorly for this special talent, as she has the charisma of stars on this trendy anthem just on time for the season. It’s a record that is infectious and will have you listening repeatedly with her intriguing display of music being in full bloom for us all to eat up. The single “The Game” is accompanied by black and white music visual directed by Jack Bowden (Nike, HP, Primark, Boohoo, and Trivago) and is the latest visual entry to Kate’s upcoming EP, “You Had To Be There” releasing Fall of 2022. The video flips through Kate against a stark black background and an illuminated background as she poses in powerful stances, with strong visual storytelling. Her outfits range from an oversized blazer to a form-fitting bodysuit.

Her EP ‘You Had To Be There is a storybook of seasons of love, self-love, and empowerment, collaborated and put together by Kate and a circle of music titans. Writers and producers include the legendary, Swagg R’Celious, Humble The Great, David Stewart, Callum Conner, Ryan Ashley & Jeff Gitty.

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Listen to “The Game” by Kate Stewart

What do you think about this song? Drop a comment below…

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