Broadway fans watching NBC’s singing competition The Voice on February 20 recognized a familiar face when American Idiot veteran Tony Vincent stepped up to “blind audition” for music superstars Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. Singing Queen’s “We Are the Champions,” Vincent was selected by Green for his team of singers hoping to land a major recording contract. With four solo albums and three Broadway shows to his name, what made Vincent decide to audition for a network reality show? Broadway.com recently talked to the actor to find out.
“The last five years or so I’ve had this desire to get back to the studio and focus on my own music again,” Vincent, who has also appeared on Broadway in Rent and Jesus Christ Superstar, as well as the West End production of We Will Rock You, said. “Broadway has been a blessing and I’m sure there will be a point in my career when I choose to come back, but I figure with the exposure that a vehicle like The Voice can provide, and because the show is so specifically talent focused, it would give me a shot to get back at my music career with no downside.”
Despite all of his stage experience, Vincent was nervous to face the judges during his initial TV audition. “I felt a mix of anxiety and freedom at the same time because I knew when I hit that stage I didn’t have to be a character,” he said. “I could just be myself and sing how I wanted to sing, without telling a story, apart from that of the song’s lyrics.”
After being selected for “Team Cee Lo,” Vincent will now be mentored by the Grammy-winning “Fuck You” singer during competitive vocal battles against the show’s other hopefuls. “As a producer and artist his scope is incredibly epic and very out of the box,” Vincent said of Green. “I think this is the best possible fit I could have. I have a lot of respect for him and I think we could do a lot of amazingly cool stuff together.”
In recent weeks, a debate over musical theater actors’ abilities to succeed in mainstream music made headlines as Tony winner Betty Buckley and American Idol judge Randy Jackson shared a strong exchange over the subject via Twitter. “One of the biggest struggles for a theater actor is there’s a certain style to Broadway and once you’ve learned a way of singing, it’s very difficult to change that up,” Vincent said. However, he doesn’t expect to face that issue himself. “I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in productions that don’t really skew towards the standard theatrical avenue. It’s not like I’ve done My Fair Lady. Being able to sing legit rock ‘n roll songs from artists like Green Day or Queen on stage, I think it’s going to be a lot easier [for me to transition] than people would initially expect.”
After Vincent’s appearance aired, the actor received an overwhelming amount of support from friends in the theater community, including well-wishers like Lea Michele and his old high school pal Neil Patrick Harris. “It’s really encouraging that I get that endorsement because I have a mutual respect for them as artists, so it’s a humbling experience,” he said.
Scoring a spot on The Voice isn’t the only current big milestone for Vincent. His wife and former American Idiot co-star Aspen Vincent is pregnant with their first child. “It’s absolutely nuts,” he said of the busy times. “You might as well have it all happen at once, so we’re just going to roll with it!”
Take a look at Vincent’s audition below and follow his Voice journey Monday nights on NBC!