A Brief History of Vinx : musician, songwriter, producer

“The future of vocal jazz innovation is safe in the voice of VINX” – Al Jarreau
“VINX is the gift you give to someone you really care about” – Stevie Wonder

Vinx's music career began in 1978 at Montreux Jazz Festival after Claude Nobs, the Founder of Montreux Jazz Festival, took Taj Mahal to see Vinx at the gates of the Festival, where he was busking with his college marching band; they had just played at Wembley Stadium for the West Ham v Arsenal Soccer Cup final! Taj Mahal loved Vinx's performance so much he invited Vinx straight to soundcheck and then to perform on stage with him that night at Montreux Jazz Festival. Taj Mahal and Claude Nobs spotted that Vinx was a hugely gifted improvisational vocalist and percussionist. 

Catch a brief glimpse of Vinx from that very show back in 1978….

At this point in his life, Vinx's priority was his athletic training - he was a world class triple-jump athlete and destined to represent the US at the next Olympics! Vinx was committed to his training and in 1980 he achieved the second best indoor triple jump in the world, but his Olympic dream was shattered when the US decided to boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympics for political reasons; USSR had invaded Afghanistan!  

Vinx turned back to his music and joined the famed Austin, Texas band - Extreme Heat - the biggest funk and soul band on 6th Street, Austin as well the band mino Miracle, alongside Carmen Bradford, Mitch Watkins and Eric Johnson. In 1983 he headed to Los Angeles and returned to athletics, but an injury meant he wouldn't make the 1984 Olympics, so he worked as a personal trainer alongside many fitness pioneers in Hollywoods star-filled gym. Vinx's own personal training clients included George Hamilton, Ellen Degeneres, Kelly Le Brock and Blair Underwood, as well as Stevie Wonder!

His musical creativity continued alongside the personal training and Vinx's voice and music was soon used in commercials including Sprite and Levis.  Greg Poree spotted Vinx's potential and took him into a studio where he produced Vinx's first professional recordings, which lead to to Vinx's first album, Rooms In My Fatha's House which was released in 1991.

This was soon followed with a multi-year stadium tour as the SOLO opening act for STING's SOUL CAGES world tour, securing his place in the hearts of fans around the world. 

to be continued….

After four decades creating music, Vinx's catalogue of songs range from jazz to funk, bossa nova to blues and back again; every audience takes a world tour with Vinx as their private guide.  Soaring vocals, intricate layered melodies and grooves, and his primal hand drum holding it all together mark the signature style that makes Vinx a stand out musician and performer. Infused with tastes from around the world, his songwriting is a tour de force combining the best in storytelling with the heart and soul of a true balladeer. 

Vinx is the consummate performer; whether in duet / trio / quartet or leading a full 20 musician big band, his versatility enables him to perform in all figurations.  Although he is often joined by a range of stunning musicians, he is unique in that his fine tuned composition skills, mastery of in-the-moment vocal looping and razor sharp instincts infuse his solo performance with the lushness of a full symphony orchestra.   

Today, Vinx regularly performs his ever evolving concerts in venues ranging from intimate clubs to the biggest stadiums.  When he is able to bring additional guest artists on tour with him, he assembles lineups that speak to the mood of the moment - an innovative jazz trio, romantic voice & piano duets, or an exciting and sophisticated voice and percussion troupe that may even feature a tap dancer.  

Vinx has recorded and toured with some of the music industry’s greatest icons: Stevie Wonder, Sting, Herbie Hancock, Sheryl Crow, Branford Marsalis, Ernie Watts, Taj Mahal, Ricki Lee Jones, Darius Rucker, Vance Gilbert, Cassandra Wilson, Omar, Brenda Russell, Cher, Tom Jones and numerous others.  His songwriting credits are a long list ranging from Tom Jones and Will Downing to The Lion King and Sprite™.  He was a teacher at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and Vinx's Songwriter Soul Kitchen Retreats in his French production company & studios and acclaimed ARTIST WITHIN global workshop series. Click Here for more information.

“A powerful effortless tunesmith and a vocalist of uncommon subtlety and understanding."
– The Philadelphia Inquirer
“His baritone voice swooping and soaring through melodies had me open mouthed, gaping in that telling combination of wonder and envy that great artists sometimes provoke” – STING

DOWNLOADABLE - Vinx Biography with Timeline Want to read an overview of Vinx's career with dates, featured musical collaborations and more? Check out this PDF file. 65.5 KB
percussionist, jazz musician, baritone singer, composer, percussionist for sting


"There is sometimes complexity in Vinx's simplicity...Vinx is a singer and percussionist, arranger and producer who calls his music "primal pop" because of the raw, stripped-down syncopation...and when Vinx wants to color his primal sounds with modern ones, he hooks up with the best. Aside from his ability to construct exciting rhythms, Vinx is a harmonious baritone vocalist with range, charisma, tongue-in-cheek humor and a fiery passion..." 

"...Vinx is a remarkable musician who can croon in an ardent, enfolding baritone while tapping intricate, shifting patterns on hand drum..." 

"Like the great balladeers of the '40s and '50s, Vinx boasts a dulcet-toned croon, which can envelop a romantic rhapsody or stretch into effortless volcalese. Add to that admirable quality an unparalleled talent for percussive invention, and an ear for moody sonic artistry and you have the unique mix showcased on Big 'n' Round...." 

"Imagine a classic R&B voice like those of Sam Cooke or Al Jarreau singing a cappella over a boisterous percussion troupe and you might get a hold on Vinx's magic...It's his yearning voice, alternately full of both anguish and joy, that makes you listen." 

"The first time I saw Vinx was in a little club in Santa Monica called "At My Place". I'd just been to the movies and was walking back to my car when it started to rain, so I stepped into the club, ordered a beer and sat down to wait for the rain to stop. At the other end of the club there was a guy with blue hair playing an African talking drum. Just him and a drum, no band; I could hear every nuance and inflection of his baritone voice swooping and soaring through melodies that had me open mouthed, gaping in that telling combination of wonder and envy that great artists sometimes provoke. The most interesting thing about his melodies was that within a single vocal line he was able to suggest the harmonic structure of the song without an accompanying chordal instrument. This is a rare talent. I stayed until the end of the set and introduced myself backstage. I asked if he had a record contract, he said he didn't; now he does. I wanted this record to produce the same effect on the listener that our accidental meeting had on me. He is unique. His music didn't need to be overly dressed up, it is already elegant. My job as producer was merely to be enthusiastic; you don't advise those who already know, you don't have to fire up someone who is already burning with passion. Vinx has something to say. Let him tell you himself." 

"VINX: One of those cats that personifies the equation that luck is just preparation meeting opportunity; one of those cats that does everything well and seems to not make a big deal out of it, Vinx steps out of his comfort zone and goes quiet storm---and does it well. With more accent on crooning than banging on things, he shows the urgency of the classic soul singers---the ones without the histrionics. A sexy album that can let you put the Barry White discs away for a while and let you enjoy the places Smoky Robinson might have gone to if he had the creative freedom in the 80s, you can almost feel the dimmer switch moving itself and the wine pouring itself as this disc plays on. Well done, of course." 
~ Chris Spector, MIDWEST RECORD 

"Imagine Bobby McFerrin's sunny disposition blended with tribal drum patterns, L.A.'s and Babyface's cool-headed approach to dance-pop juxtaposed with the instinctual elemental hooks of early Police. And Prince's harsh, minimalist backgrounds supporting vocals that rival Nat "King" Cole's for sweetness...a powerful effortless tunesmith and a vocalist of uncommon subtlety and understanding." 

“Fun, Fun, Fun!!! This is what Vinx is all about as he loves what he does and it exudes abundantly throughout his music. He is an extraordinary percussionist with a golden baritone voice that fans can’t seem to get enough of. For this holiday season…Little Drummer Boy, is available in retail. It poses a special holiday treat. Eleven of the 12 tracks on Little Drummer Boy are standards that Vinx added his own special twist to. The Jamaican tinged melody with lyrics “Winter Wonderland’’ that presents a snowman named “Mr. James Brown” offers a danceable funky beat….  “Christmas In Paradise”, a Vinx original, is a carnival reminiscence of dancing in the streets while the steel pans drive the rhythmic beat. Track favorite is the lively, jazzy rendition of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” It has a scat culmination that is just awesome…. So before you haul out the holly, it might not be a bad idea to have Vinx’s classic queued up and set to play.” 

"VINX - what music should be. In a music world full of glitz, glamour and fabricated talent, it is refreshing to know true artists, masters in the language of music still exist. Vinx with a voice, that on its own, strikes emotional chords that make most other things in the world seem insignificant, backed by the talent of hand-picked musicians bring music to its roots. While the diverse musical styles of Vinx may be hard to categorize at face value, once heard, are impossible to forget." 

"Alternately described as jazz, world music and soul, Vinx's music is a uniquely compelling blend of rich vocal melodies and harmonies supported and propelled by sophisticatedly primal hand percussion that connects with audiences the world over." 
~ Drumhead Magazine 

“How do you know when you have mastered your craft?” I don’t think I can answer that for anyone, but I do believe that true Mastery like Excellence, arrives with an empty cup so that it can grow, evolve and continue to improve. I’m here for it and excited for my next session with Vinx!” 
- Hedda Kim

"Vinx does not copy well-known singers - his art is original and emotional and perfectly finds himself between the great standards and the present hit soul music. You can hear in his songs a lot of funk, blues, rhythm 'n blues and even bossa nova. Vinx does not shun the musical experiments; he often initiates sessions with local artists. Vinx with his musical eloquence and impeccable vocal technique, great sense of rhythm and musical fun is the perfect beginning to the festival!"  
— Dionizy Piatkowski, Era Jazzu


Vinx was interviewed by the wonderful JOE FARMER of RFI Musique Radio.  CLICK HERE

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50 Memoirs of a Hip 'Ole Black Man... a film about VINX... click here