Meet Vynz: He’s Already Opened For 2 Chainz and Nipsey Hussle, Now He’s Ready To Bring A New Sound

Vynz Graebien has already opened for  Nipsey Hussle and 2 Chainz twice for HempCon, as well as worked with some other well known artists. Having recently become independent he is ready to release his own sound in the upcoming months. We caught up with Vynz a few days after a video shoot for his upcoming new release “She’s So Lovely. ” Vynz’s new self found sound promises to speak of what his fans love him for, but with more of an RnB twist that brings in his love for RnB and instruments.  While the new music and videos have yet to be released, we chatted with Vynz on where’s he been so far, which includes family issues of mental illness and homelessness to his love for God, belief in the power of giving back and music’s power to heal.

Q. How did you get involved with opening for 2 Chainz?

A.  2 Chainz, I had got the gig first time through my old indie label, I did HempCon with 2 Chainz and Nipsey Hussle and a lot of  artist—RJ, also an up and coming artist– I work with him, I’ve performed with Cyhi the Prynce from GOOD Music, We Are Heroes, which is the winners from America’s Best Dance Crew, so it goes on, but what really started this, how I got to 2 Chainz, it all started in 2010 –it was Battle of the Bands, at LaPalma High School, through KROQ and my band, which was called Last Minute, because we made it two weeks before Battle of the Bands– we actually won the contest. No high school band had won in nine years.

Q,  What do people think or how do they react when they see you come out, an Asian rapper/ Asian RnB singer?

A.  When people saw me at Hempcon they didn’t know, they couldn’t believe I was Filipino, Pacific Islander, they thought, “What is this guy doing?” They were like, ‘who is this guy?” I was like here are 5,000 people– I’ll rock the stage. That was one of the biggest stages I’ve done. You have the haters, which I see as motivation, cause whether you like it or whether you hate it, at the end of the day, I’m just here to show you I’m just here doing this for you. Without the fans, without the listeners, I wouldn’t be here. I’m here to share my music.  If you like it or not, I’m  open , you can tell me straight up you don’t like my music , and I will just handle it–look , I respect that. How can I improve it, to your liking? But What touched my heart prior to those performances was at The Palace in Ontario, it was an African-American crowd, aging from 20 years old to 45 and the song I did for them is one of my iTunes tracks called “ PDA ( Pull Your Panties Down to your Ankles}”, that song is talking about how you want to take care of your girl, show her you got the moves but she is the only one. And the response, what I saw there, was everyone just vibe to it. I did another show in Santa Ana, all African-American and the welcoming they gave me was is you better make it or I will be mad at you. I was like, that means so much to me, I told them we’ll stay in contact, til this day I have some of them in my phone, I text, they are wishing me the best.

Q.  What brought you to Rap, Hip Hop and RnB? MTV,maybe? Who were your earliest influences and how did you come to know their music?

A.  I always had a passion for music; I was listening to and influenced by Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, Brian McKnight, Prince and Stevie Wonder to name a few when I was really young. The first song that really attracted me was “Overjoyed” by Stevie Wonder. Then in 2006 it was Black Eyed Peas, but also prior to that I was already listening to Nate Dogg. Nate Dogg is one of my biggest influences. I just saw the smoothness, the swag. He sung through every genre, and for the hip hop industry he was a notable young man. He could do hooks for days, like he made hooks for a lot of people that are still famous to this day. I would always watch the dance shows.  Chris Brown when Chris Brown was coming up. I really loved it, I was a choreographer myself. I’ve danced with multiple crews.  I love dancing, but it felt incomplete because I could do more, I knew I could offer more. That’s when the singing started and the playing guitar.

Q. Who would you like to work with if you had a chance to work with someone?

A.  I would really like to work with Drake, J. Cole…I really want to work with Kanye West. People don’t understand him. He’s a good artist; he’s one of the people I look up to just because of his value for family. That is how I value family. Being the eldest out of four boys, I am looking out for everyone. With him he lost his mother, without your mom you will be a completely different person. She guides you, no matter what you do. There is nobody else like your moms.

Q.  I read a little about how important your family is to you, your brother in particular—can you tell us about that and share a little more on that?

A.  The truth, the real reason I have been doing this music is for my second to youngest brother. He has manic-depression. And first couple of shows I did, We Are Heroes, he was doing good and then three years after that, 2013, he had manic depression. And it hurts me because he can sing really well. One of the songs that we did together was “Do you Remember?” by Jay Sean, and that song, I don’t want to sing it because it brings back memories. All the time when that song hits me I remembers when he was well. We look like twins—we’re four years apart but we look like twins. I’m doing this music as a therapy for him. This music brings him “out” , it gets his mind straight , and for me to see that– I could do that for other people as well– help them get back on track , tell them music saves lives. It can truly save lives! Every time I do a show, he’s on stage with me, he’s going to be my right hand man no matter where I go, no matter what I do, no matter what performance, he’s always gonna be there by my side. Someone said well you’re the star, and I say I know that I’m the star, you don’t have to tell me, but he’s my star. Without him I wouldn’t have the purpose. I have this purpose, I mean I have this purpose already to make music, but with him, it gives it more weight. On my heart, on my performance, I can show 150 percent just because he is also there with me. That feeling that, “this is for you, bro.” Even when I when I win a Grammy—that’s my goal, to win a Grammy–I want to show him, “look, Bro– I did it! I want you to be healed, I want you to know that this can heal you.” A lot of people, they do it for the money or they do it for this or that – I do it for family.

Q.  I respect that. Music has always been healing and therapeutic to me too.

A.  From my family background , we have been screwed over so much by so many people, I am sure a lot of people were as  well, but to have a series of just bad luck hitting for one point  like two years straight. We were having a backlash of everything, and it’s weird because we always help people out, even when my mom moved here. We thought people would help us, but they didn’t and coming from my standpoint I was like-you know what, we’re going to stick together guys, we’re gonna make it on our own and we’ll help them. I was like we’ll help them, even though they didn’t help us. To show them we don’t expect money, we give goods grace. Good grave is something you cannot replace with value. Like we were living in a motel, but we still had three cars with us. I mean we were living in a motel, we were homeless, and for us to be homeless and still have cars–that is amazing, like God has so blessed me with that.

Q.  You kind of have a surprising old soul or a mature way of thinking about you ,where did you get that from?

A.  My mother and my grandmother. When my parents divorced, I was eight or nine years old. That s when I moved to my grandma’s place in the Philippines. That’s when all the upbringing came—she showed me everything. I had no more nannies, no more maids; I was born well off up until my mom and dad separated. Then we hit rock bottom. I mean I will always love for my father, but I was there, I saw all that my mom had to go through.  Also, I was already schooled at two, I was already studying, my mom was grooming me as a leader, a go-getter. Then when I was five I was watching business, watching sales, by eight I was already selling trading cards. My mom was like, “what are you doing?” I was like, I‘m selling these trading cards. After that we hit a bad time, we got scammed, people stole stuff from us. My mom moved here to start a new life.  Starting from ground up it taught me a lot of things. It taught me to be happy with what you have, to look at a different side of the world, I saw people who lived lavishly, people who lived our previous lifestyle– I should have saved some of that, but I was a kid, I couldn’t do much. But now I’m thinking when I get back to this level, I want to make sure the people from the bottom get taken care of.  I‘ve done a couple of charity shows. Even though my family didn’t have a lot, we’re okay, it’s just the idea of giving back.  We usually feed the homeless every six months or so. We go to downtown LA. I don’t tell people that, I take picture sometimes, and the joy I see in them when I do a song or two for them and they’re happy! They’re simple and if people looked at it a different way-what you have, it is a treasure already– you yourself is a treasure already. Being able to wake up, sleep in a bed, eat food, have clothes to wear—you’re blessed already. Me being blessed by this voice, this talent, I feel like I should share it to the world. So they can see that I’m here to impact people. Yes, I might throw some mainstream club hitters, but my main goal, especially with my new music coming out,  is to give you that thinking that you can help others, that music saves lives.

Q.  You talk a lot about giving back and the weight and impact of helping others through giving back and how music heals, any transformational stories of your own?

A.  In 2010 I had no instruments. I had nothing. Then at Arnold Park in Buena Park I was playing with my friend’s guitar because mine was broken and I was writing my first three songs,   I wanted to start playing but had no instruments. Then this guy approached me, I forgot his name but remember his family well, and he said I’ve been listening to your music, you’re good, I said thank you and what he did for me, I kid you not, this brought tears to my eyes, he told me, I’m moving to Hawaii, I want to give you something, then he grabbed this guitar case, slammed it on the table, he opened it for me, it was an Ibanez cut off guitar! Those guitars are not cheap, you don’t expect anyone just to hand you that, he said, look, I want you to make it, this is your guitar and I was like—I was out of words—for someone to just to come up to me like that and just hand me a guitar, like a prize possession—every time I play that guitar it is passion, I feel the weight, like this is what ignited it. Then I won two guitars. And then I got another guitar, a Gibson SG for free! My mom’s patient gave it to me too and she gave us a drum set and I was like—this is getting real.  I realized it sooner than later that people believe in my music, and I just have to believe in myself.

Q.  Out of all of your songs which best sums up “Vynz”—what best captures your energy of who you are and where you are wanting to take you music?

A.  It’s not out yet! “She’s So Lovely” and two others. “Magazine” is one of them. “Magazine”, I love that song, cause me and my brother wrote that, and “She’s So Lovely” as well, we collaborated on that. When I perform the songs that I wrote with my brother—I just go all out, no matter if a big show or small—I’m on it. All my songs I’m like that, but when he is involved there’s more love to it, more weight. So I have three singles coming out. Those are going to define who I am in this game, because in the two years I  was in the indie label, I was still looking and now that I found who I am and who I want me to be in this industry those three songs are going to show who I really am.

Q. Three new singles and videos, cool, anything else coming up this year we should be looking out for?

A.  I am also working on my first album and a tour. I’ve worked with a lot of productions, and talking to a lot of sponsors, I am doing all this myself , because with me, it’s not about the money, it’s  about connecting. The music is to express, not to impress, cause in expressionism, that is your way of connecting. That is how you say who you are. I want to break barriers, not just for myself but for all Filipinos and every race for that matter, you don’t have to be black or you don’t have to be white or Mexican or whatever to do what you are doing, you just have to be you –be happy of who you are –and then show it to the world. That’s it. That’s what I am about , showing you , live or not, I’m here to entertain I might crack some jokes on stage , make you laugh but at the end of the day, you’ll hear me. One of the famous quotes from DJ AM, “Find something you love to do so much for free you would do it every day, then find someone to pay you for it.” That is one of the best quotes I have ever came across, case he was a good DJ and that’s what inspired me to live this.


Link to Vynz’s Reverbnation page

Link to Vynz’s soundcloud

 

Photo found on Reverbnation

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