Vince the Messenger explores our pandemic isolation with new track, Outside
Charlottetown hip-hop artist featured in episode one of The Story and the Song
For most of us, the past year has run the gamut from challenging to downright terrifying. And though many of us would find it difficult to describe what we've been through over the past twelve months – from the loneliness of isolation, to the despair of the unknown, to the hope that rebirth will bring – we all have stories to tell.
Recognizing that music can be a lifeline when it comes to telling these stories of our time, in the month of March East Coast Music Hour launched the 2021 edition of the Story and the Song in a virtual format. 21 East Coast artists, through 21 original new tracks, responded to themes that explored our collective journey through this pandemic.
Charlottetown's Vince the Messenger jumped at the chance to write about ISOLATION, the first theme in the three-part series of The Story and the Song. Interpreted literally – the way most of us have experienced it – he tackles the theme of self-isolation and the mental and physical toll that not being able to see family and friends exacts.
But 2020 was also the year in which Black Lives Matter took centre stage, and Vince links the theme of isolation to his personal experience, growing up on Prince Edward Island as one of the few people of colour in his age group. That story, and the isolation he felt going through the school system, are crucial to Outside.
Musically, Outside has been crafted to reflect the ups and downs of life in a pandemic. Working with longtime musical collaborator, dj-producer-engineer Niimo, the verse's lyrics are reflected in moody keyboard chords, while the more hopeful chorus is emphasized with bright horn flourishes.
Vince and Niimo also happen to be in the middle of the release cycle for a second studio album, Trustful, dropping March 26. More singles and a new EP are planned, so 2021 promises to be a big year musically for the Charlottetown rapper.
Back on the topic of isolation, Vince reflects, "I hope that people can find a few themes to relate to. There are a few different things I touch upon within the term isolation. I feel like there's something for everybody." He goes on to say, "anyone who feels hopeless or whatever kind of emotions they're going through, I hope it's something that they can lean on for strength or guidance even, if they can relate to it that much."
Joining Vince the Messenger on the Story and the Song - Isolation are: Atlantic String Machine, Catherine MacLellan, Hubert Francis, Josh Bravener, Owen Lee and Zamani.
For more information about the series: East Coast Music Hour to debut 21 new East Coast songs
For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.