Tony Vincent was Team Cee Lo’s Broadway boy. The artist formerly known as Anthony Peter Strascina in New Mexico reinvented himself as a show stopper once he arrived in Manhattan, starring in UK and American productions of Rent, We Will Rock You, Jesus Christ Superstar and American Idiot. He co-wrote a track on Il Divo’s album, “Hoy Que Ya No Estas Aqui (As Far As Any Man Can See)” and put all that stage and previous recording resume to use with his strong Voice performances like, yes, “We Are the Champions.” Topping off a non-stop new lifestyle, he became a dad in April 2012!
You just had a cameo on “The Carrie Diaries.” What happened? Who did you play?
After I completed In My Head (my latest EP), I decided to focus a bit more on television and film. I’m always up for a challenge, and there’s a stigma that if you’re a stage actor you can’t do film or TV. While I do think that there is a difference in the way an actor presents a character on stage vs. screen, I believe that at the end of the day it’s simply about being authentic. I wanted to challenge myself and to prove that my viewpoint was legit. A recent opportunity came up to appear in an episode of The Carrie Diaries, and I felt that it was a chance to prove to myself (and viewers) that actors can indeed straddle both stage and screen. (In my episode I play a “gate-keeper” to the VIP section of a Madonna tour launch party.)
We’re you mobbed by a bunch of teen fans who then said, disappointed, “Great, it isn’t Carrie Bradshaw?” Did you have bad 80’s hair?
(laughing) I don’t even know what that question means…(but I worn my own hair— currently bleached with dark roots.)
You were inspired by The Beatles originally but have gone on to do a lot of stage work, a far cry from that. When you got started with theater, where did you seek inspiration?
“Hard Days Night” was indeed the song that led me to choose a path of music when i was just 4 years old. And, my passion for music in general forced me to pursue music at all costs. I used all opportunities to grow as an artist, because my goal was always to mature as an artist and performer— to develop my own way of communicating to an audience. It didn’t matter whether the venue was a middle school assembly, a high school drama production or a regional theatre stage. Because of this mentality, even though my career goal was to become a recording artist, I was open to doing theatre as a young person (I think I was 9 when I did my first community theatre production in my home town of Albuquerque, NM.) I was always on the lookout to utilize any arena that could make me a better performer.
What advantages come with solo work?
When you’re doing your own material, you’re able to call the shots— at least regarding how it’s presented, who plays in your band, etc. I love having that element of control. That being said, I also cherish those times when that kind of control is in another person’s hands. For example, when I’m playing a character on a Broadway or West End stage I can completely concentrate on the role— not the logistics of a “tour” per se.
You’ve been a recording artist forever. What did you learn in the process? What mistakes were you making ages ago? What do you do to feel comfortable in the studio?
I’ve learned that you can never stop growing and challenging yourself… whether as a musician, engineer or producer— all hats that I’ve worn over the past 15 years. Am I proud of my first independent record I did on my college campus at 17 years old?— Absolutely! Not because it’s a stellar record but because I was learning as I went. I was wearing many hats— the artist, arranger, and producer. It was crazy back then because people had to deal with analog tape, aligning a tape machine, regimented “time-code” and syncing it to an arduous computer, etc. Recording today in the digital world is so much easier. That being said, I’m so glad that I had to cut my teeth on the “real-world” of recording. The biggest mistake I made in my younger years was signing with a large management company who put their own interests ahead of mine. That handcuffed me for many years and now I am much more careful about who I trust and who I form business relationships with. I’ve learned that I have to be my own advocate because no one is going to do that better than me. The studio is one of the most comfortable places I know. It represents a blank canvas on which I can develop my musical vision. That being said, a good bottle of wine always makes me feel even more comfortable… (ok, maybe 2 bottles…)
When Cee Lo was giving you advice, was there anything you at first disagreed with but later saw he was right? What was the best thing he taught you?
I want to speak humbly here…but if you watched the 2nd season of The Voice, Lo repeatedly said, “I’m learning from you, Tony.” Babyface even said, “I have nothing to tell Tony. He’s a professional.” That was encouraging to hear— and justified that I’m doing something right as an artist.
Your “We Are the Champions” rendition live on the show turned out really nicely. You fit the role of being someone who doesn’t scream out the whole song and has that vulnerability to your voice at once. So awesome! When you originally practiced it, how did you sing it? What did you have to change to have the final result?
I probably had a bit of a leg up with this song. I worked extensively with Queen when I opened their musical We Will Rock You on London’s West End. I performed “Champions” with the band on several occasions, and then sang the song 8 times a week for over a year and a half during my time with the London production. I then did the American version of the show for a year at the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. So this song was already in my body. I felt that I had a certain ownership with it. I didn’t have to change a thing when I performed it on The Voice. Mark Burnett has very talented people that work for him and I believe that they knew what I was bringing to the table. It would have been a mistake to change what I was already doing with that song.
You were deeply involved in theater at the time you did “The Voice,” so what made you want to go back to popular music at large?
I never was a viewer of The Voice, but after I was educated on what the show was about, I felt that it was the only reality show that allowed real vocalists to prove who they are based on vocal talent alone. After working on Broadway and the West End for over 14 years, I felt that this show would give me the opportunity to return to my roots of being a songwriter and recording artist. That’s where I came from. That’s where my heart lives.
Your “In Your Head” EP has this great slowish song, “Where Did I Go Wrong?” Is that song based on any real feelings you have had?
It’s a song that I hold very close to my core. If I told you what it was about, it would probably make several people blush— or perhaps simply make me blush. That being said, I never like to talk about what a lyric “means”. If a person connects to one of my songs…then I’ve accomplished my task as a songwriter. I’m not trying to bring you into what my personal world is. I want my music to be the soundtrack for the listener’s life— their own story.
What do you want people to think when they listen to your songs?
I want them to feel challenged and still at home in their “center”. I want them to live out emotions of all sorts: euphoria, freedom, tension, bondage, shame… I want them to feel free to be human. To be real. At the end of the day I want them to know that who they are and what they feel is never about being “right or wrong”… it’s simply about being true to yourself.
Celebrate The Last Day Of Pride Month With Megan Hilty’s Beautiful Rendition Of ‘The Rainbow Connection’
🎶For all the lovers, the dreamers and LBGT.🎶
With only a few hours left to celebrate the magic of Pride month, the LBGTQ+ heavens opened up and sent down one more gift. Megan Hilty.
The Smash star gave a special Pride performance of the appropriately-themed classic “The Rainbow Connection” for ABC’s LA! Pride and of course she crushed it. The song was first sung by Kermit the Frog in the 1979 film The Muppet Movie and shares a message of hope and inspiration which obviously resonates strongly with the LBGTQ+ community. The only way Hilty’s rendition would be better is if she was covered in Muppet fur honestly.
The Broadway belter captioned the post with a sweet sentiment which read “Happy #pride🌈 kids! It doesn’t end today. Be proud of who you are every day of the year, and find your rainbow connection. 💕✨” And she’s right, every day should be filled with Pride!
Check out the moving performance below and Happy Pride y’all!
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The Trailer For ‘Hamilton’ On Disney+ Just Dropped And Honestly July Can’t Come Soon Enough
Unlike Aaron Burr, I can’t “wait for it.”
It’s a pretty tough time for Broadway lovers right now. The coronavirus pandemic has left the fate of our beloved Great White Way uncertain and there is no definitive word on when theaters will reopen. Just when things were looking their bleakest, however, Lin-Manuel Miranda rode in on his metaphorical horse…although I’m sure he could have a real horse if he wanted to, he’s very rich…and shared some good news that reignited hope for all us theater lovers. On July 3rd, the mega-hit musical; Hamilton will be available for streaming on Disney+.
The musical was filmed with the original Broadway cast at the Richard Rodgers Theater back in June of 2016. The filmed live production was meant to hit theaters on October 15th but with the fate of movie theaters also unknown, it was decided to shift the show to a streaming platform. In the film, there is creator Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton, Daveed Diggs as Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson, Renée Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler, Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr, Christopher Jackson as George Washington, Jonathan Groff as King George, Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton, Jasmine Cephas Jones as Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds, Okieriete Onaodowan as Hercules Mulligan/James Madison and Anthony Ramos as John Laurens/Philip Hamilton.
Disney+ dropped the trailer for the streamable version and suddenly I feel “helpless” that July 3rd is still a few weeks away. The musical is obviously amazing but judging from the trailer, the directing and the editing of this film are really going to help make this feel like we are sitting front row center to this production.
Check out trailer below!
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Idina Menzel And Megan Hilty Sing ‘For Good’ For The Class Of 2020 And It’s Obviously Super Good
Safe to say 2020 has changed pretty much everything for good…
Remember when an acne flare up was the biggest concern of your senior year? Unfortunately the class of 2020 didn’t have the luxury of such a menial fear but instead had to worry about an unprecedented pandemic sweeping the globe and figuring out a way to virtually finish their final days of the school year. Well, when the world is spiraling out of control there is always one thing that I turn to for comfort, a green witch and her snarky blond counterpart. Maybe that’s too specific. But I think we can all agree that watching Idina Menzel and Megan Hilty sing “For Good” from the hit Broadway musical Wicked has enough power to make anyone feel magically better.
In a post on social media Hilty, who played Glinda the Good Witch from 2005-2006, shared the performance which begins with a message that reads
“To the class of 2020; Over the last few years you have made friends and memories that have changed you for the better. We now hope you go out there and change the world for good. This is for you.”
This song choice is poignant for the graduates who may not have even had the chance to say goodbye to their fellow classmates before parting ways in different directions. In the musical Glinda and Elphaba, the role Menzel originated, sing this duet when they finally realize that although they must continue on different paths, their friendship has left them changed for the better. And it gets me every time!
Check out the moving performance below, and congrats to the graduates who made it through such a difficult senior year!
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