VNCHY is an artist with an unusual upbringing. The rapper has honed his craft, while moving across the globe and around Canada. His roots begin in Congo, where the "No Kobe" singer was born. Fast-forward to today, and the emcee has finally settled in the suburb of Mississauga. It took time before VNCHY became who he is today. Music wasn't his first pursuit, as the artist chased dancing before he picked up a mic. The nature of his life has influenced his sonics, and have made him a unique case in the Toronto hip-hop scene. Now, in the preparation of more music, the artist sits with us to discuss the MVMNT, his city, and his passion.
You just recently put out “Unpredictable”, and just like the title, it was completely different sonically. What was the motivation to play with this upbeat style?
Fulfillment is the driving force behind this song. I urge to communicate with the world, as do many others, but the method of doing so becomes tricky. We as humans have a tendency to categorize and marginalize so we can better understand a concept, but I believe that’s a copout so that we don’t have to critically engage the thought process required to truly understand an idea. As a listener, you might think that I’m limited to a particular ‘sound’ or a particular ‘audience’, but that’s simply not the case. There’s an underlying factor in this music we call life, and it’s there that I find my fulfillment.
Talk to us about the MVMNT. What is the collective’s goal, and what can we expect from it in the near future?
MVMNT is a lifestyle brand that forms relationships beyond material products; it is a team of creative minds that are geared towards corporate culture and values. The goal for the collective is to motivate the world and inspire people to reach their utmost creative potential. In the immediate future, you can expect a number of events as well as merchandise to become available (we thank you for your patience), and expect some even bigger plans looming around the corner.
You’ve had a crazy upbringing. Can you tell us how moving all over the place has shaped you as an artist?
There is an African proverb that says "it takes a whole village to raise one child,” and this idea has defined my very essence. I came from war, instability, and turmoil, yet it was in that environment that I was taught what unconditional love and faith truly mean. My family sought for refuge in a place of peace, opportunity and tranquility, and the irony is that this is where I was taught what hatred, evil and heartlessness look like. These extremities have disciplined and allowed for me to found my balance. As an artist, I'm forever pushing these extremes and fortifying my creative mind, for my ‘village’ does not pertain to a specific city or country, but the universe and all that lies beyond the frontier of human exploration.
I love that your name is a nod to Leonardo da Vinci. What was the inspiration behind that? Are you a fan of his work, or is your name directly tied to him or his work at all?
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not an expert of the works and life of Leonardo da Vinci, but I've always felt a resemblance between our versatility, creativity and desire to push the limits of our mental confines. Progression and education are somewhat of an obsession for me, so much so that I have a hard time sleeping without the soothing sound of a documentary playing in the background. God gave me this mind – and it’s capable of doing more than I can imagine – so why would I ever try to limit my imagination? Stopping makes no sense to me. Limits make no sense to me. Rules make no sense to me. Cogito ergo sum. As far as who I am and what I’m going to be, I'll let my imagination guide the way.
Tell us about “Get Familiar”. You’ve begun to make your mark in the party scene with these events. Is infiltrating that culture important to your music, or you as an artist?
The party culture goes hand in hand with everything I do as an artist as well as where MVMNT Collective stands as a creative house and corporation. We live in an age of ambience, and as flamboyant as the youth may be in their expression of it, the older generations understand it as well. We’re here on a mission to not only bridge the gap between sound and visual, but to also connect creatives from all walks of life in an environment that allows for easy interaction.
Many of your tracks are produced by Bijan Amir. Tell us about that collaboration, and how has he become such a trusted partner?
Bijan is going to go down in history as one of the greatest producers to ever do this. I whole-heartedly believe this to be a pre-written prophecy. There is no artist out there that can deny his skill as well as his malleability. He’s a master at his craft – the kind that comes around once in a thousand years – and I'm just glad he’s somebody that I can call my friend. Sonically, our partnership will take over the globe; you can quote me on any of this, by the way.
You’re currently based in Mississauga, which has slowly begun to create its own scene, separate from Toronto. How would you compare the scene, or the music coming out of Mississauga, to its big brother Toronto?
Contrary to popular belief, some of the greatest music within Toronto actually comes from the outskirts of the town. Being in the outskirts, you don’t necessarily hear all the loud, deafening noises that those who live within the city have grown accustomed to. It almost acts like an earplug, leading to an incredible source of focus. The city humbles you and downtown is a mere drive away. I don’t pay much attention to what others are doing, or ‘scenes’ for that matter, so I can’t comment sufficiently on that, but you as an individual understand which environment you are more likely to thrive in and personally, I prefer nature and serenity to a concrete jungle.
You’ve been steadily dropping new music every few months. Is there a larger project in the works, and can you speak about that?
Everything has been paving the way for the release of my second EP, Eminent. This project is a lot more vibrant and melodic than its predecessor. Neverland was the outline sketch and now I've commenced the colouring with Eminent. The production is a lot more complete, while the vocals cover a wider spectrum of sound. It’s a one of a kind project that’s sure to stand out in such a saturated market.
Where can the people catch you live?
There will be a number of shows and parties following the release of Eminent and announcements will be made accordingly from my social media outlets.