AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with VECTOR XING

Los Angeles-based enigmatic R&B/soul artist Vector Xing began life as a musical sort, but never dreamed he could make a career of making his own art. After graduating from Princeton, the undercover singer entered the management side of the music industry, working for the legendary Quincy Jones for several years. “I managed artists and saw them create all these amazing things and affecting people’s lives in such an impactful way,” he recalls. “I wanted to be in that position, rather than in an administrative position.” After a period of serious soul-searching and self-discovery, he slammed on the proverbial brakes and changed directions. “It all coincided with my coming out, and transitioning into being true to myself, and one of the things that emerged from that, is my ability to make music,” he explains. “I learned so much about myself and my art, and in order to deepen the experience, I needed to take ownership of the process and teach myself how to produce.”

“I learned not to filter myself in my expression,” he continues. “I’m digging deeper into my queerness, and the line I walk between the masculine and the feminine and my presentation to the world. I’ve learned to be okay with that, and learned how to explain myself to others. I also have begun to reexamine my blackness, and what it means to be a black man in America, especially over the last two years. I’ve had to figure out what it means to me to be black, and ask myself if I’m doing enough to support my community,” he adds. “I’d been in a haze, it’s easy these days to tune out and distract yourself. I want to be a better citizen of the world, and in order to do that, you have to be an empathetic person. Everyone has empathy, but there also has to be action and purpose behind that empathy.”

Those values have manifested themselves in his work—his new single “Funeral” and his previous funk-afied manifesto “Bubble King.” “‘Bubble King’ is the first song I’ve produced by myself,” he explains. “It’s a declaration that I’m not going to adhere to others’ standards on how I should do things. I feel like I have a unique perspective as a black, gay man. I love where I am, I love myself, and I’m not going to change me to make you feel better. It’s loud, and funky, and hopefully it feels good,” he says. “It’s a part of me, and I wanted to sound it out with trumpets.”

For now, his music lives in the realms of jazz-infused R&B and soul, and his offerings are everything from love songs to protest songs, and all of them dance-worthy. “How I feel in the moment is how it will come out. People can digest more than one thing,” he says. “Music that defies genre is the kind of music that lasts.”


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