If there was one thing that stood out about singer/songwriter VNIX (real name Will Viozzi) during our interview, is that he truly gets it when it comes to being a real artist. He knows that sometimes the struggle can certainly be real, but if you keep reaching for the music stars, it will all happen. The local Philly music artist is set to release his first EP, ‘500,’ in May, and while it only contains four electrifying tracks, it still packs quite a punch. Take a sip of our fun music tea below, where he also dished on his musical influences, his humble beginnings and he also gives some brilliant advice for all those starting off in this crazy music business…
PM-Starting things off, let’s have some fun and dish about Lady Gaga and her impending comeback. Did you happen to catch a glimpse of her Oscars performance last month?
V-I thought it was wonderful! I thought she did a really good job. I think it’s great to see artists expand as we perceive them, as well as showing us what they can do. We’ve already her due the spectacle and theatrics. We’ve also seen her sit at a piano and show us what she’s capable of. This performance was showing us a new genre, showing her musical side which is something I believe she grew up doing. She was also classy as well. I mean, I don’t care when she’s not classy, but it was great to see another dimension of her.
PM-A lot of people were surprised that she could actually (gasp!)sing, in which you said, indeed, she is classically trained. Were you shocked by how many people were amazed that she had such vocal prowess?
V-I do understand why some people would be surprised, and those are people that don’t follow her. But, there’s been so much evidence out there, even before she became famous that have proven that she has a voice. I also think too that when people see spectacles and theatrics they think, oh, that’s a mask, that’s them hiding who they are.
PM-Okay, so like Gaga, you’re a performance artist with a bold name. Tell everyone about where the VNIX name originated from.
V-The name is actually a splice between my last name (Viozzi) and the mythological Phoenix. When I was growing up, I really didn’t have role models basically, so I kind of strongly identified with the Phoenix because it had this transformative nature and me not having the easiest childhood, I had to figure myself out really young and figure out what I wanted to do, so I related to the nature of the Phoenix. When I started surviving all these things I was going through, my friends noticed that, so they started calling me VNIX.
PM-Let’s talk about what it was like growing up for you. How did those tough times help play a role in your music?
V-This E.P is definitely an introduction of me to the world as an artist. But, it’s only four songs, so it’s a very small look into my persona, but each song does encompass a specific aspect of me. “Creep” shows a little bit of my sexual nature. “Bad Friend” shows a little bit of that you know, “don’t fuck with me, don’t put me down. Where as “Sweet Night Love” shows my romantic side and “Love Like Dust” gives insight onto how to handle heartbreak and handle pain. So, I just want to kind of be raw with people. Even if it’s just an uptempo or just a fun song, there’s still gonna be a lot of depth behind it, because it’s gonna come from some kind of experience in my life, which is something I want to convey with people.
PM-Absolutely. There’s definitely a lot of filler music on mainstream radio these days.
V-Right, there’s so many songs out there that are custom made for the club, and they don’t have a lot of depth to them, and you listen to them and just feel good. Even though I do have upbeat stuff on my record, it still comes from a place where I was at in my life. I’m never gonna write a song that doesn’t come from some real, honest place, in my life. I like to be a storyteller.
PM-Which music artists have inspired you along the journey of becoming VNIX?
V-Hmmm..okay, so when I was growing up, I really didn’t have that one artist that I tried to model myself after, I just kinda focused so much on finding my own place and everything, but when I got older I started really paying attention to the artists that I really liked, and now these days I would say I really appreciate Freddy Mercury. (of Queen) I like him because he kind of embodies a little bit of everything that I think make the greatest artists. He definitely had and still has a uniqueness that doesn’t sound like anybody else. He has his own songs that are very original. His look, the way he can hold his audience. Just his charisma and his stage presence are just bewildering.
PM-Shout out for me one album you can’t live without and why…
V-One album?!! Let’s see, I would choose silence.
PM-Silence? I have to say, I’ve never heard that response before…
V-Don’t get me wrong, I love music. This is gonna sound a bit contradictory, but I don’t like to live in music. I mean, I love creating and putting it out there for everyone. But, when it comes to music itself, I don’t obsess from one thing or the other. So, I’m not sure, I don’t even know if there would be an album.
PM-I get it. Kind of…silence speaks a thousand words…
V-I agree. Maybe the album I would listen to over and over again would be the album of my thoughts. The album that I’m singing in my head of my own life.
PM-I always like to ask this. Where do you see yourself maybe five, ten years from now?
V-I used to get asked this question a lot in high school and college, and I would say that my answer is still the same. Everyday is so unpredictable, even when you try to plan things and it everyday takes you to a different part of your life. For someone who is creative such as myself, I think that planning out my life is actually hindering my creativity. I can tell you that in five, ten years as an individual, I would like to have money and a career, I would like to be successful and be recognized for my art. In terms on how I see myself creatively, I hope that my creativity grows and changes and diversifies itself and because of that I wouldn’t be able to know.
PM-Now, as an artist, of course we’re our own worst enemies, always critiquing our own work to the core. What’s one thing that you feel you feel you come down on yourself the hardest?
V-Probably asking for help. I’m not really good at that, I get nervous. You know, asking people of r help with this or that, growing up, I had a lot of pride doing it that way, so I think that created a lot of stubborness in me, so I didn’t want to burden people with what I should be figuring out myself. You never wanna make people feel like they’re being used. Sometimes you’re so passionate about what you’re doing, that they could feel used when you’re collaborating with them.
PM-One last question, shout out some words of wisdom you would give to someone who is just starting out in the biz..maybe in five words or less….
V-Don’t fucking ever give up.