“I wanted to do a self-explanatory thing of who I am and make it a little more fun than just reading “Born on this day….” Vincent Minor (AKA Michael Mangia) puts to me over the phone. I can’t say it doesn’t make my job as the interviewer a bit easier, as Mangia gets right to the point in his self-orchestrated Q&A round, covering all the interesting bits and bites of his career as a musician including his penchant for alter egos, his beginnings as a young Hollywood talent and his latest EP release Born In The Wrong Era.
The first interesting morsel that strikes the interview’s reader is Mangia’s seeming dispiritedness with his own identity in his own day and age. At least as far as his musical career is concerned anyway. At a time when Mangia chose to “recreate [his] vision as an artist”, he felt a reconsideration of his stage moniker had to follow suit. As his interview reads, the title was born from a dream involving his grandfather Vincenzo and Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14 in C Sharp Minor, hence the name Vincent Minor.
“I had been recording and performing music as Michael Mangia and I just got to a point when I felt like my name wasn’t fitting what my vision was anymore,” Mangia – now Minor - tells me. “It was sort of a rebirth as an artist to come out with a new name and a new sound.”
If “Mangia” isn’t enough, it’s clear that this decade isn’t either. Titling his debut release Born In The Wrong Era, Minor is quite vocal about his pseudo nostalgia for a different time in pop music history. Listening to a range of music made in the 1930s-80s has heavily influenced his contemporary songwriting. “[Born In The Wrong Era] started to form years ago in my head when a friend of mine said that he felt he was born in the wrong era and that everything was too modern for him,” Minor tells me. “And he said, ‘I wonder if I would be successful if I was born in another era.’ That stuck with me through the years.”
So which era would he choose to live in if he could? “The 30s or 40s – it was just really classy. There’s something about that era that I think will never be repeated in history.”
He may think it unfortunate, but Minor was born in this era in Hollywood, CA. That environment nurtured the acting side of the young talent and he began his career starring in commercials and television shows under his actor father’s influence. When auditioning one day for a singing/acting role, he met his future vocal coach, coincidentally the mother of alt-rock minstrel Beck. His beginnings in acting no doubt contributed to his current theatrical flare, evident from the cover art of Born In The Wrong Era: a still-life Minor sits among a handful of vintage theatre props - a birdcage, a marble horse head, a candelabra and a typewriter amongst others – dressed sharply in a white shirt, black pants and bright red bowtie. “I definitely wanted to bring a theatrical feeling to it – a way to communicate the different eras through props,” Minor says after listing off some of the objects.
Without skipping a beat after Born In The Wrong Era’s release, Minor is back in the studio polishing up his full-length release, much of which was recorded in the same session as the debut EP. Hoping to release it in the Fall or early Winter, he plans to follow the release with a national tour to support it. As of right now, Minor will continue to reflect on the past with high hopes for the future.
“I’m just waiting for that time machine to be built. Take me! Take me to the 30s!”