M Vincent
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M Vincent

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"Making Music All That Matters to Teen"

By Joe Duggan


Here's the thing about M Vincent Miller: He's got guts. How many 17-year-old hip-hop fans would audition to play piano at a restaurant where a big chicken stalks the parking lot? Not piano in a quartet mind you, just piano solitare.

Although he'd played for a few months in a country band, he had a pretty thin repertoire. Actually, he had no repertoire. Nor was proficient at reading sheet music, so he couldn't buy a bunch of standards and fake it. But he knew chords and he could improvise. And he had guts. And that was enough to get the gig at Lee's Resturant.

That was a year ago. "Now I could go anywhere and play for four hours solo," he said.

"Did I have the repertoire when I started? No. Do I have it now? Yes."

Now the 18-year-old with short, dark hair, penetrating eyes and a sharp nose can play

"I Left My Heart in San Fransisco" and "Sentimental Journey" without even thinking.

But between requests, he's more likely to play modal jazz tunes by Miles Davis or Bill Evans or jazzfunk by Herbie Hancock or Dave Grusin.

"I've had people tip me for just messing around," he said. "And I've had people tip me and say, 'quit messing around.' For some people, jazz is too far out. I don't know why, it doesn't make any sense to me."

In some ways, Miller is a typical 18-year-old. He's confident - almost cocky - and had a cutting sense of humor. In other ways, he's completely different from most
teens. He's a little brooding, a little serious, extremely articulate, and downright touchy about the fact that he dropped out of Lincoln High School last spring.

Yeah, yeah, he's planning to get a GED sometime. But he just didn't fit in at school.

He didn't get good grades, didn't like playing in band, and didn't see how any of it was going to help him persue a music career.

"It was really frustrating," he said. "I was sitting here, not doing well at anything except stuff out of school."

So now he spends up to five nights a week on the tiny raised platform playing an ancient upright while his audience works over drumsticks or drains longnecks. The pay is solid, he said, the tips vary.

"Free food," he added, "no benifits."

Resturant manager Dennis Kann said a couple times a week diners will applaud Miller's playing. And applause is much harder to come by than tips.

"He has his own flair," Kann said. "He's got a feeling for the music."

When he's not playing at the resturant, he's composing hip-hop music on the computer, electric keyboard and mixing board he keeps in a rental storage unit. He and some other young musicians recently started a band they call Ill Funk Syndicate.

So what's his backup plan? "What's your plan?" he shot back.

His plan is to do whatever makes him happy for the rest of his life. Right now, that means music. In a few years, it might mean something else.

Here's the thing about M Vincent Miller: He's got the guts to do just exactly what makes him happy.


- Lincoln Journal Star


Discography

OS SEX [p2p waiting for download] LP
That's That Stop EP
Is Money God EP

M Vincent is available on Beatport.

Photos

Bio

Since 2000, M Vincent has played, recorded, or otherwise worked with Animato, Electric Soul Method,Josh Hoyer, The Guapotones,Spin-LDN, Planet-22, Dj Nos, Rilo Kiley, Sauce, Hymn For the Hurricane, Lucas Kellison and Tummy of SadSon Productions, members of what is now the Awkwords.