Singer/songwriter Vincent Darby aims to showcase his artistry

Singer and songwriter Vincent Darby wants the world to see his artistry

By Neil Armstrong

UK R&B/Pop sensation Vincent Darby is celebrating his 24th birthday in Toronto this week, a place he calls “home away from home” because he has many relatives living here, but “Jamaica is spiritual home, it’s unlike anything else,” says Darby who recently performed at The Drake Hotel Underground and isrecording his forthcoming album.

Vincent Darby photo by Jemel Ganal

The Birmingham-born musician has been singing for the past 15 years and just completed a tour with performances in Austin, Texas at SXSW festival; New York, Los Angeles, and here. At age 9 he performed at the o2 Academy Birmingham, now called the Forum Birmingham, as a support act for American rapper, Flo Rida, who was on tour in the UK.

For the next seven years, his Jamaican mother insisted that he focus on his education, so music was on the back burner until he finished school. “My mom always used to tell me vividly that as a kid I used to always say I wanted to be a pop star and sing for everybody and that was at the age of four,” Darby said, noting that at five they were holidaying in the Canary Islands, and he sang at a karaoke which sparked his interest in singing.

The late dub poet Benjamin Zephaniah, a fellow Brummie (someone from Birmingham), performed at his school and Darby said it was great to see what someone who was of a similar heritage and from his city could do with words.

“I think that’s what really sparked my imagination with poetry because I always loved poetry as a kid. When I was probably about eleven, I started putting poetry to music and that’s when I started writing my own songs,” he said, noting that at 16 he started conducting songs.

Eight years later, some of those songs are on his new EP “For When It’s Over” which was recently released by 7 Long Lane Entertainment, an independent label dedicated to nurturing emerging talent in the music industry. The six-song EP follows the release of his uptempo single “Rogue” where Darby paints a picture of the irresistible allure of forbidden love.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, it halted the stride that he was making as a budding musician. During the previous year, he was on an American tour, but in early 2020 he was pensive about the increasing spread of COVID-19 and urged his manager to hold off plans until they knew what was going on. Darby remembered that on March 26 he had a sold-out headliner show planned for London, but the UK went into lockdown that day.

“That really knocked me, and I was trying to keep it going. I didn’t really accept that it had happened. And then it’s taken me a while to get back to the point of where I am right now. Now I feel like it’s a continuation from pre-COVID.”

However horrible it was for him, Darby said he is grateful for the stillness he experienced which allowed him to reflect on everything. During that time, he also met some individuals who are now instrumental in his career — writing partners who live in Manitoba and New Hampshire. They met on FaceTime and wrote several songs, which Darby said was their therapy.

Having a Jamaican manager, Courtney Morrison, provided him an opportunity to travel to Jamaica at age 16 to record at Big Yard Music Studios in Kingston. It was while recording the song “Come Down” that he met Beenie Man and Shenseea before she became popular.

In the next five years, Darby wants to be selling out arenas like the Scotiabank Centre in Toronto and said it is possible because he has some incredible people on his team.

“I want to progress so much and become the artist I know I’m supposed to be, I just want the world to see the artist that I am.”