Today we’d like to introduce you to Vince Lujan.
Vince, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Blessed, thankful, and inspired to give back. Rinse and repeat. I was blessed that I was exposed to a world of music since childhood, thankful for resources and people that helped me along the path to hone a talent into a skill, and inspired to return those investments to everyone I can.
Since 2006, with the help of countless others, I’ve been working on forming and molding a couple of vehicles for my musical expression. The Vince Lujan Project, an original secular band that sounds like Santana, infused Dave Matthews Band and the more ministerial Christian based bilingual group Jesus Team A (Jesus Te Ama) that takes its cues from Salvador, Israel Houghton, Matt Maher, and Rich Mullins.
I’ve always gravitated to stories of entrepreneurs, especially those of musicians who take the time to learn the music/entertainment business and look after their art so they can look after the ones they care about and love. Taking calculated risks and writing my own story is what has kept me on a path of turning my dream of becoming a self sustaining musician into a reality. From the beginning, the goal was to bring together musicians of different backgrounds to support my own little interpretations/offerings of songwriting and make something that we could all get behind and express each individual’s artistry on their instrument.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
What fun is a smooth road? That ol cliché that comes to mind: “Life’s not a destination, it’s a journey” – what they don’t tell ya is that learning how to savor that journey can be a bit tricky. As a Xenial, Latino, indie musician, I can tell ya there’s been no shortage of pebbles, rocks, boulders and detours along the path. From parents telling ya the music thing is great, but get a real job to getcha through life, from various music industry sharks lurking in the waters to frenzy upon young, ambitious, fame yearning musicians, to learning how to eat the word “No” for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
As a working musician, I’ve paid my fair share of dues: playing seedy biker bars and backyard parties for beer I don’t drink and eating too much barbecue, replacing trailer tires alongside some freeway in the middle of nowhere, breaking a string in the middle of a blues guitar competition and figuring out a way to finish the tune, loading in equipment up two flights of stairs to play a 4 hour gig outside in the cold on some roof somewhere, hoping you can make the rent by the end of a couple of hours busking in downtown Ft Worth when you don’t have a permit to play. As a growing small business owner: learning the ropes of negotiating contracts, discovering your value and worth, managing your team and contract workers and vendors.
I began to really take to heart some advice a close friend shared with me that I must learn to define what success means for me and not society’s general idea of what success is. From that discipline, I believe I began to smooth out that road a little. Many times I choose my relationships to family, spouse, children and friendships over career grabs and though that may have hurt my potential for “greatness” in the eyes of the industry I believe it has blessed my life beyond belief with people that truly love me for who I am and not for what I do or have accomplished or could accomplish.
Please tell us about your work.
I’m in the business of making people feel something. I’ve been told soo many times that I played the perfect song for their perfect moment. That what I did elevate their moment to a meaningful memory they can cherish again and again. I’m a working, indie musician who makes my own way as a singer/songwriter, bandleader, worship leader, music director, recording artist, and speaker for all types of events. From weddings to funerals, summer company parties to Christmas toy drives, my bandmates and I help to impart message and meaning at every single event we’re at.
Music is so ubiquitous now. I think folks are more aware than ever before what it means to have a soundtrack for their lives. People look for artists and songs that speak to them and accompany them on their life’s journey. I’m a writer as well, and although not as prolific, I aspire to say something of meaning with my songs. I think it’s that attention to detail to the people we’re serving, the situation and setting we’re in that informs the gift of music that we bring to that particular time and place. That’s something I’m really proud to say we do extremely well at.
A music scene is a crowded place, and it can be hard to find your niche. I like to think we thread the needle when it comes to accessible, feel-good music while providing enough “meat on the bones” for musician types. Though we’re certainly not the best technicians that ever walked the earth, we’re sure as heck, not the worst. I think where we thrive is in connecting people to the moment they find themselves in and to the setting and purpose of why we’re gathered. People tell me all the time how moved they were after witnessing us at an event. I think it’s paying attention to why we’re gathered and what we want to say about it that stays in people’s minds long after we’ve departed.
I said earlier that I had to learn what success meant for myself and I think I’m most proud that so far, with the help of God and my family and friends that I’m able to earn a living sharing the gifts I’ve been given by serving those around me without compromising my integrity.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
One of my earliest childhood memories is plinking around and taping on a large wooden, nylon-stringed guitar that my father had bought on his honeymoon with my mom. As an older child, I began to receive lessons after a little league football injury prompted my mother to bring me along to her piano lesson which was during the time of my football practice. Walking the hall with practice rooms all around, I remember seeing a guy playing guitar and was instantly captivated.
Though my parents aren’t musicians, music was always being played throughout the house. My parents had a huge stereo furniture piece that played their 45’s and 78’s and eight-track cassettes. I would spin everything from Chubby Checker to Carole King, and my folks would have the radio on playing 50’s and 60’s rock n roll and Tejano music along with Christian music on Sundays. I had a sense that there were all kinds of good music floating around in the world and started to develop an appreciation for all kinds of music.
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Beau Foster of Broken Trail Productions and Andrew Sherman of Chevy Music Showcase