Rising pop music star VINCINT rose to prominence as a contestant on the Fox-TV singing competition show The Four, where he often featured songs influenced from his childhood surrounded by gospel music. In an interview with the LGBTQ&A podcast, VINCINT reveals how a nun in his Catholic school encouraged him to keep going during difficult times.
As a gay youth, VINCINT (who uses all caps in spelling his name) faced discrimination and difficulties in religious spaces. He says that religion is a complicated subject, noting that “there’s so much good and beauty in [religion] and there’s so much darkness, as well.” One of his first singles, Marrow, was filmed in a church and depicted strong religious iconography. In a 2018 Billboard interview, he said that he is personally religious, though still feels frustrated that his Catholic school did not discuss sexuality. While his all-boys high school experience was challenging, he says that a powerful figure for him was a middle school teacher and religious sister. In the podcast, VINCINT shares:
“I got lucky in my middle school because I was also taught by nuns who were compassionate and they understood that these kids need love and not a patriarchy that is driven by rules and segregation and damning people for who they are, who they love.”
In particular, it was these middle school lessons about self-confidence instilled by the sisters that have continued to shape VINCINT’s life and career. He says:
“I had this one teacher, Sister Nancy, and I still talk to her today. She’s a wonderful woman, but she taught me that who I am is beautiful. I’m getting emotional. Wow. She just let me be myself and it was the best thing I could’ve ever had because it taught me confidence…she taught me confidence and I will never forget that.”
In his performances, VINCINT embodies confidence. “I’m dancing and I’m being crazy and I’m being eccentric me,” he explains. At home, and in the lyrics of his songs, he showcases this confidence through vulnerability and honesty. In one song, Please Don’t Fall in Love, he addresses the fear of watching a former partner fall in love with someone else. He wanted the song to describe the universality of heartbreak, explaining: “Yes, I’m a gay man, but also these experiences happen for everyone.” He hopes that the message resonates with people who want to know that they are not alone in their losses. His great aspiration is to share emotion:
“I love to go to shows and cry my eyes out, but I also want the moment of release. I don’t want to be stuck in my depression the entire time. I want to hear the heartbreaking message, go on the journey of reliving it, getting through it being okay at the end…
“Seeing someone in the crowd listening to Please Don’t Fall in Love and crying and dancing and holding their friend is the best feeling ever. And so that’s where I go when I write songs. I want you to come to my show and feel something.”
As VINCINT’s new EP, The Feeling, reaches audiences, we hope that they will find community, affirmation, and self-confidence within each song. Sister Nancy might just be singing along somewhere, too.
—Catherine Buck, New Ways Ministry, April 3, 2020