Pensacola, Florida
Thursday December 14th 2017

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A Hometown Show For “Leaving Home”

By Sammi Sontag

If you want to get to know 18-year-old singer-songwriter Paul Vinson, you can listen to his songs. Or watch his video blogs. We suggest you do both.

Vinson released his first EP “Leaving Home” on Apple Music and Spotify June 2, which includes five original songs.

His sound is an eclectic mix of blues and folk fusion, soulful vocals, with a bit of pop rock peppered in.

All of that diversity makes sense when you do some digging into his history. Vinson has a strong musical background, and the support of his family and friends played an integral role in shaping him as a musician.

“My granddad, uncle and cousin all travel in a gospel quartet,” he said. “But my granddad is the guy I look up to most.”

He added, “When I was younger I had a drum set, and my granddad would play guitar and I would play drums.  That kind of sparked my interest in music. Then I started playing guitar at church when I was in fifth grade and in seventh grade I stepped up to the mic and sang.”

Vinson also has several longtime friends who helped him throughout his musical career. Andrew Fisk is one of them.  The pair took to the road this past spring and pioneered the “Dorm Tour.”

“The tour started as a joke, actually,” Vinson told Inweekly.  “About a year ago I was talking to one of my buddies about it, wanting to just go play shows in my friends’ college dorms and we all laughed about the idea. Then one day I thought, ‘how hard would it actually be to do this?’ ”

The “Dorm Tour” ended up being a three-and-half week trek across seven states. Vinson and Fisk traveled over 3,500 miles, from Orlando to New York, visiting friends, drinking coffee and, of course, playing music. Vinson recorded video blogs regularly along the way, and the highlights can be watched on his YouTube channel.

He added, “I knew the “Dorm Tour” would be a really good way to promote the “Leaving Home” EP and the idea of saying no one has done this type of tour before was really cool.”

As soon that adventure came to an end, Vinson started another. He wanted to play a hometown gig at Vinyl Music Hall. But booking a show there was no easy feat being a performer without a record label. Vinson had to sell a certain amount of pre-sale tickets in a week to secure a spot at the venue.

“A lot of the ticket sales came in within the last two nights,” Vinson said.  “We had sold about 15 of the 75 tickets we needed to sell in four days.  And I was like ‘Man, we’re not going to sell the show.’”

He continued, “I called up my granddad and I told him, ‘If I sell this show you’re coming. You have to be there.’ He said ‘Okay, but you’re not going to sell the show.’  Then I called him up on the phone two days later and said ‘Hey, July 6—mark it down you’re going to be at Vinyl.’”

Vinson’s show will be a 15-to 16-song set, complete with original music and a few covers.  Almost everyone who worked on the “Leaving Home” EP with Vinson will be performing with him.

“It was all just so crazy,” Vinson said. “Playing at Vinyl was something I have always wanted to check off my list. Not because of the venue, but just to say that I played a real show there was an undertaking I wanted to conquer before I left Pensacola.”

Paul Vinson EP Release Show
WHAT: Paul Vinson with Ben Loftin Band
WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday, July 6
WHERE: Vinyl Music Hall, 2 S. Palafox
COST: $15
DETAILS: paulvinson.net, youtube.com/paulvinsonmedia