Leo Vance’s Passion Shines Through
23 year old hip hop recording artist and music producer Leo Vance is dedicated to his art. With both parents in the music industry, it’s as if Vance was destined to create music. Yet Vance, through his music, makes it known that his growing success isn’t because of hand-outs, or connections. He works hard; not for the fame, but for the love of the craft.
“Most of my childhood was spent in the music studio,” says Vance, whose father is a music producer and mother is a singer. “My mother's style was more of a smooth jazz vibe and my father created R&B and hip-hop. Their musical gifts and diverse collection of music influenced my wanting to arrange, produce, write, sing and rap,” he continues. His curiosity led him to write songs on his keyboard and learn how to use music software programs on his own at age 12. As his desire to turn his passion into a career developed in his later teens, he applied to and participated in The Remix Project’s Recording Arts Academy. A Toronto Arts Council funded organization, The Remix Project “helps refine the talents of young people in order to help them find success” through educational programs, facilitators and facilities. “The mentors at The Remix Project really helped me to hone my style and I learned a lot from that experience,” claims Vance.
Vance’s music is confident. Strong, haunting beats with a melodic undertone support his deep and rhythmic voice. His songs are often driven by positive themes such as self-empowerment, strong work ethic, persistence and passion. “I try to just write from the heart or inspiration,” says Vance, who begins his creation process with the melody. He expands: “Once I develop the timing and melody style for the song, I am inspired to write the hook and then I get into verses. From there I just build the song out. The process is amazing.”
Vance received a Toronto Arts Council grant through the Indigenous Arts Projects program in 2018. The program was conceived in 2015 following a consultation process with Toronto’s Indigenous arts community. It was designed to increase participation in and access to TAC funding by Indigenous artists, while increasing creation and presentation opportunities. From 2015-2019, the multi-disciplinary program has supported 89 Indigenous organizations, collectives, and/or professional artists with a total of $926,170 in funding. “Being indigenous is an important part of who I am. My culture is definitely a big part of my expression and the heartbeat of my music,” says Vance.
Funding through TAC supported the creation of the EP, Interlude, which features 6 original songs. In keeping with his self-reflexive style of writing, the track “To Me” is a song of gratitude to someone who has supported him and his career: “I know you always had my back, and that’s the reason I’m on this path, I just couldn’t move this forward, if you weren’t part of the math,” he raps. The track “Lessons” offers a retrospective of sorts on his career to date and the hard work he’s put in, while “Something About You” is a declaration of love and appreciation for a romantic partner.
Interlude was featured in Indie Week and Canadian Music Week, and landed Vance a nomination for Indie Week's "Best Urban Award" for 2018. Since its release, he’s put out three additional singles, and is working on releasing another three.
“I would like to thank Toronto Arts Council for believing in me and supporting my music.” - Leo Vance.
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