Raleigh, North Carolina; a town that has turned out its fair share of household names and superstar musicians. With a budding local music scene and a growing number of independent acts, it can be difficult to stand out against the noise, especially for a solo artist going it alone. While DIY is nothing new to bands, soloists have only themselves and maybe a few trusted colleagues to help craft a lasting career in a cutthroat industry. So what does it take to survive in the Raleigh hip hop scene? We caught up with Vince Savage, who is about to begin work on his sophomore studio album, to find out.

Vince grew up in a family deeply rooted in the performing arts and got his start at a young age. Performing in theatre plays at a young age, he found a love for music as a young teenager. “My cousin and I wrote a song when we were 13 or 14,” recalls Vince, “we used a fruity loops CD demo and an old K-Mart table mic and just messed around with it. It was a terrible song but I had the fire to be successful.” After a short period of losing focus and finding trouble on the streets, Vince joined the army and with it, gained a renewed sense of responsibility and discipline. “I learned to finish whatever project I start, to hold myself and my craft to a higher standard.” Since then, it’s been all about the music and finding ways to positively affect others with his art. “I try to tell my story, just one of 7 billion stories being weaved on this Earth. It just so happens that God blessed me with the ability to tell it in a way that entertains people. I feel a connection with the people, none of us are above the others and not everyone has a support channel.”

Earlier this year, Vince released his first studio album called Legend of Sinatra, Part 1, a hard-hitting original work showcasing his distinct style. The work is a reflection of the Raleigh hip hop scene and Vince cites other musicians, local and international, as collaborators and influencers. “I work with guys from Texas, New York, Canada, France, as well as home-team artists. I think being able to bring your region’s style and blend it with others to create beautiful art is unbeatable.” Beyond that, Vince recognizes a variety of genres in his upbringing that helped define his sound and is also driven to succeed by a more personal circumstance. Just before his military discharge, Vince’s cousin died, a loss that hit home and served as a motivation for the music. “It affected me and really woke me up. Instead of running in the streets, I knew I needed put energy into being a leader and a catalyst for change. I do all of this with him in mind. You don’t need to be in an executive position to bring about change, you can be the leader of your own existence.”

Vince believes that Raleigh is rich with local talent as seen in artists who are already successful, as well as up-and-comers. And although a powerful lineup of local musicians has many benefits, it can also make it more difficult to reach an audience heavily saturated with music and media. “Momentum can cease at the drop of a hat, just based on people’s likes and desires. It took at least 4 or 5 years before I started to see any real results from my music, mostly because I wasn’t looking at this for what it is: a business. Most of my success has come from trial and error.” Eventually, a helping hand came in the form of label support (Totalitarian Records; Bentley Records) and proper management (Phillip Houston) and Vince is now on track to release the follow up Legend of Sinatra, Part 2, and has been working on his own label project called Free Enterprise Entertainment.

Looking to tour in 2018 on the release of LOS2, Vince looks to the future with optimism. “My goal is to take my career as far as possible so I can help the next man achieve their dreams and reach his or her full potential. The voice is a powerful tool and the ability to use mine for the betterment of others isn’t something I take lightly.” His advice for other up-and-comers? “Do your homework, study business methods, and go to seminars. I’ve learned about the business aspect by connecting with people who have nothing to do with music. Continue to work on your craft, take it into your own hands, and be open to change.” We look forward to seeing where Vince Savage goes in the future and will be awaiting the release of his follow-up record. You can find his music and connect with him on Soundcloud, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Educated but self-effacing, opinionated but reticent, and unabashedly eccentric; Alex aka Squatch is the lead writer for Squatchful.com. A life-long musician, he founded the blog in the interest of helping independent artists gain exposure and to provide insight into navigating the creative arts industry.

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