Don’t expect your close friends/family to automatically support you. Being a Renaissance man I have many irons in the fire. From being an artist/event host/cheesecake baker/photographer/social media manager/creative director and everything in between. In that, I often release a few projects a year and sometimes I can get in the head space that even me releasing my product/services to the world I know my family will be first in line. Well, that’s not always the case. Even with me releasing these current 3 songs, the support has been a little slow from the people that I’d thought or expected would rally for me. Nevertheless,I have to be confident in my gifting and know what God has for me is for me. Slow and steady wins the race and the momentum will definitely come. Just continue to hustle hard!
As a part of our series about “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became An Artist” I had the pleasure of interviewing (Vince Ashton).
Atlanta Recording Artist, Vince Ashton is creating his own lane in the music and entertainment scene. With a lifelong love for entertaining, Vince is fulfilling his dreams by performing on some of the biggest stages worldwide. Now, he is making his debut appearance as a solo artist with the release of his new EP.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I was born and raised on the south side of Atlanta in a city called East Point by my mother and grandmother. We stayed in every apartment complex off Washington Road, which definitely led to humble beginnings. I watched these two women in my life not allow our family to be victims of any circumstances, fight through challenges, and still invested in my talents and passion. From my childhood up to current times, my love for music has grown and my mother has been there every step of the way — from church choir rehearsals, being classically trained, learning to play the Oboe, and receiving a full ride to Florida A&M University on a music scholarship and now being a touring recording artist. My family intentionally surrounded me with things that would shape and mold my mind to think higher, dream bigger, and appreciate creativity.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
Between singing at a mega church in front of thousands weekly and hosting huge events around metro Atlanta, my enjoyment of watching my passion and talent impact massive crowds brought me to this specific career path. My story is shaped by the people sharing their stories with me as to how I’ve inspired or moved them, made them laugh, brought energy and fun to their event, or even brought them to tears with a passionate delivery of a song. I do what I do because I love it, of course, but also for the people.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
It would definitely have to be competing on the Canadian baking competition “The Great Chocolate Showdown,” which aired on The Food Network Canada and The CW. The opportunity allowed me to show off my creativity, baking skills, and personality while living in Toronto amongst a group of strangers. The entire experience was very exciting, intense, and rewarding.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am working hard on my music! I just released my debut project, which includes three singles, in addition to working on a full album to release in the upcoming year. I am extremely passionate about my music, and the topics I’m covering.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I have a few interesting people I’ve the opportunity to interact with. The first person is Gospel star and one of the best male vocalists on the planet Brian Courtney Wilson. Outside of his amazing vocal skills, he can articulate the essence of the message of his songs in such a relatable way that I greatly admire.
Next is the ladies of the R&B Multi-Platinum group, Xscape. I had the honor to attend a listening party of theirs and was blown away. This was their first project since the ’90s, and to see them cultivate a body of music that was current but still conveyed the classic Xscape melodies and harmonies and for them to still be so down to earth and humble despite their great success was a great experience.
Lastly, meeting Georgia Senator John Ossoff was very interesting. He was hot on the campaign trail in 2020, and I was invited to attend one of his rallies in Southwest Atlanta! The optics of a white man in the middle of Urban Atlanta was sure to be met with a side eye from the community. However, he spoke with such passion, honesty, and vulnerability and really showed he cared about the people of Georgia. I appreciated him owning who he was as an individual and accepting everyone else around him that was different. In the end, painted a great picture of what a community should look like.
Where do you draw inspiration from? Can you share a story about that?
I draw inspiration from dreaming, both daydreams and dreams, while I’m asleep. It’s funny because I have “That’s So Raven” moments where I can gaze off into the air and think of some of the most fun, innovative, and even outlandish things to create. History also inspires me. I think paying homage to the past, remixing something that once was, and making it current inspires me as well.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Outside of philanthropic work and financially supporting organizations I believe in that typically support communities of color and minorities, I believe that the light I have internally and my passion for people brings goodness. With so much negativity and disheartening headlines we read hourly at this point, I’m affirmed to know what counters those things are optimism, support, encouragement, and love. So, in person and online, I do my best to display that light inside of me to motivate others.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. Don’t expect your close friends/family to automatically support you.
Being a Renaissance man I have many irons in the fire. From being an artist/event host/cheesecake baker/photographer/social media manager/creative director and everything in between. In that, I often release a few projects a year and sometimes I can get in the head space that even me releasing my product/services to the world I know my family will be first in line. Well, that’s not always the case. Even with me releasing these current 3 songs, the support has been a little slow from the people that I’d thought or expected would rally for me. Nevertheless,I have to be confident in my gifting and know what God has for me is for me. Slow and steady wins the race and the momentum will definitely come. Just continue to hustle hard!
2. Celebrate incremental success moments.
Be proud of yourself in every moment of your journey. Life is a marathon not a sprint race and I have to constantly remind myself of that and be OK with it as well. So now at every turn whether it is completing a song, generating new melodies, coming more prepared for rehearsals and studio sessions, carving out more time to dedicate to my craft, garnering more streams and followers… Even if it’s not at the magnitude of a major artist… That fact is that I’m doing it, making it happen and fruit is coming out of my labor. I know that huge blessings will come but be grateful for the little things as well.
3. Price things before you budget.
I think it’s great given the situation to know you want to spend (x) amount of dollars on a specific project. However, when releasing my current three singles, I wish I would’ve researched more marketing/promotion tools and cultivated a more accurate budget versus the bulk of the money going to the creative/aesthetic side. Don’t get me wrong, the quality matters greatly, but what’s the point of having a quality product and no one or a small number of people will be able to see it…because it hasn’t been marketed effectively.
4. Procrastination is the enemy of success
Typically the larger the opportunity the more tedious and lengthy the paperwork can be. There was a time where I had to get ready and travel to Canada for the Food Network Canada Season 3 of “The Great Chocolate Showdown”. Since it was during COVID, there were so many protocols, google docs, webforms, reading, submitting…all the things. And I procrastinated because the volume of it seemed to be so much! Well due to my procrastination I came dangerously close to the deadline and definitely could’ve missed the opportunity off of laziness. And that’s real!
5. Don’t force things to happen.
In this journey of being an artist and creating music I had to learn to be ok with letting ideas and innovation come at different speeds and times. I definitely recall writing a record, it was 75% done but whenever I got to the bridge of the song it just wouldn’t come in the moment. So instead of me waiting a couple of hours or a day… I forced some corny lyrics only to get to the studio, record the song and it came out massively more cornier than what or how I thought it would. So in that I learned to give my creativity and brain some time to generate things versus forcing corniness.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would create a movement that supports single parents, especially single mothers. With this movement, I’d love to offer financial support for families in need, but also a re-investment system for single parents who sacrificed their own dreams. Once their child is of age, they can have support and investments in accomplishing their dreams too.
We have been blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she just might see this.
It would be great to have lunch with Steve Harvey. He’s a mogul in entertainment, philanthropy, and style, so I’d love to pick his brain!
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
You can follow me on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter & TikTok @VinceAshton on all platforms.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Vince Ashton: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became An Artist was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.