Highlight Read: Quincy Vidal

June 3, 2015


Beginning in 2009 at the SUNY Purchase Acting Conservatory, Le’Asha Julius and CE would become hip-hop duo Quincy Vidal. Together they bring fresh faces and rhymes with an old school vibe.

On stage, their energy fills the room and keeps fans on their feet. There’s no questioning their growing fan base at their numerous shows throughout New York City. In addition to their already soulful, “jazzy like” Hip-Hop, they have incorporated a full band to their flow. Quincy Vidal is definitely on the move, and fast. Get to know what inspires this duo and be sure to check out their video below.

Where are you originally from?

Le: I’m originally from Washington, D.C. and I grew up back-and-forth between D.C. and Maryland, PG County.

CE: I’m from San Francisco, California.

How did you meet and start Quincy Vidal?

CE: We went to SUNY Purchase for Acting, so we were both in the same company. The way it works is that each year it’s like a company, our group was 16, so it’s just a group of us and we were in that same company. We were in classes together all day. (That’s just how it worked just cause we were in a conservatory acting program, so we worked in classes all day.)

Le: What he means by company is it’s kind of equal to grade. Like you say what grade are you in, you’re in 9th, 10th grade, our company we all came in that year together. We did all classes together.

CE: All our of shows.

Le: All of our shows together. Everything.

CE: We saw each other every fucking day.

Le: Everyday.

CE: So when? Do you want to tell the story?

Le: Okay, when you’re a freshman at SUNY Purchase Acting Conservatory, you have to work crew for the upperclassmen when they do a show, so wardrobe crew basically and we were the only two assigned to this one particular show that happened to be off-campus. So he and I got really close that way because we were the only two. Before that we were cool with each other, but we really got close when we spent all that time, even more time than the time we had. You know backstage, trying to change the actors and I got mad at him cause he messed up and blah blah blah, so we got really close that way.

CE: And what happened was she knew I rapped and made music and stuff. She was trying to DJ and just jokingly, I was like “yo, why don’t we start a little something, something?” Like Fresh Prince, Jazzy Jeff, Eric B. and Rakim, you know the DJ, rapper duos and so I was like “why don’t we do that? I’ll rap and you can DJ and we’ll make a group out of it.” And she was like “alright, cool and what are we gonna call ourselves?” So we took about three days to come up with a name.

Le: Yeah, that’s true.

CE: We would just come to the rehearsals with new names, like “well what about this, what about this?” Riding to the place because we used to get a shuttle van from the college to the theater. “What about this? what about this?”

CE: Eventually, I was like “What street you grew up on?,” and she was like “Quincy.” I was like I grew up on Vidal Drive and I was like what if we take Quincy Vidal and then that sort of like worked and we stuck with it. But then we went away for a summer.

Le: I couldn’t be the DJ because DJ equipment cost too much money and I couldn’t afford to pay for it so.

CE: But, we went away that summer, didn’t do anything, but then we came back for our sophomore year and then at the end of our sophomore year, we decided to move to Brooklyn to try to get the experience of being away from home. During the summer, trying to see what’s it’s like living in the city and…

Le: I just didn’t want to go back home.

CE: Yeah and I wanted to know what that experience was like. I wanted to live in Brooklyn. I have my music setup and that was the first time we lived together and she didn’t really know how I operated with my music and I was just making a beat one day. I was like “hey, why don’t we just start this Quincy Vidal shit?” and literally the rest is history because that’s what’s it’s been since that moment. We’ve just done it.


Why Brooklyn?

Le: Oh well for me…

CE: It could’ve been Harlem.

Le: For me, I knew I always wanted to live in Brooklyn because of “The Cosby Show” and I always wanted a brownstone because of the “The Cosby Show.” When I actually got a spot in Brooklyn at [the] first place we had, living in Brooklyn I was like Brooklyn is really almost like D.C. and I just felt home there and I didn’t ever want to leave.

CE: I felt that I didn’t compare Brooklyn to San Francisco, but I felt home there immediately. I liked Brooklyn a lot and I felt an immediate connection with it and that’s why I liked being here.

How would you describe your sound and why opt for your style?

CE: I think it just happened because of our influences. I knew what kind of beats I liked to make and it just sorta happened. When we started letting other people hear it we just got compared to “A Tribe Called Quest,” “Diggable Planets” and 90’s era hip hop just off the bat. That’s just how it happened.

How did that feel for you?

CE: I don’t think we really went for it.

Le: We didn’t, it just happened. Like if I were to describe our sound, I would say soul, boom-bap.

CE: Rustic.

Le: [laughs].

CE: For real.

Le: Yes, yes. Soul, boom-bap, rustic. There’s more to it. I don’t know what this… all I can do is [yee-sound]. I don’t know what that means, but that’s just how I feel.

CE: I would describe our sound as like…

Le: Jello…Cause it wiggles.

CE: This sounds corny, but it’s like homegrown.

Le: For me that’s the soul part, yeah.

CE: It’s real black, you know what i’m saying? It’s like Hip-Hop, it’s Hip-Hop. We just like other styles and so we throw other styles into it every once in a while, but it’s like be rap. We rap and rap well. You ain’t gotta add that.


What was it like shooting your “Pillow” video?

Le: Oh that was mad fun. It was just a party, it was just a huge party. Everybody came through. Everybody was drunk. Everybody was high. It was fun. It was a lot of fun.

CE: It was really fun. That’s really what it was.

Le: Yeah. It’s exactly what you see. None of it was fake.

Is there a video that fans could be on the look out for?

Yeah my video. I have a video coming out to a song called “Thieves,” which is on my Utopia album from Utopia LDZ, the two solo albums that we put together. “Thieves” from Utopia look out, look out, look out. It’s gonna be pretty cool to watch.

How will your next project differ from what you’ve done?

Le: Well yes, it’s definitely going to be different. The next couple of projects that we are working with, Styles Upon Styles record label that took us under their wing. The projects are going to be different mainly because we’re going to have a band. We have a band, not we’re going to have a band. Dominic Missana, David Frazier, Davy Levitan, Mike Zeffiro, me and you. Yes, yes that’s everybody.

CE: Yeah and that’s why we’re going to sound different. We doing this mostly, a lot with a live band. It’s gonna have different production, because along with the live instrumentation, the musicians are writing music for us. Up until now, up until Utopia LDZ really, specifically the Utopia side of that project, I was doing most of the production. I produced all of LDZ. Le’Asha actually went to other producers for Utopia and for this one I’m producing a few, but mostly we’re doing beats made by our band members and people we know who have been making music.
Le: Which is cool because it brings a different sound that everybody else hasn’t heard. Things we haven’t heard. So it hits us in a different way, we get inspired and our writing is different, you know? New.

“Tired as Fuck” off of Sentimental…It’s definitely a crowd pleaser. How do you find time to do work, writing new music and put on shows in between everything? Individually, how do you find that balance?

CE: I’ve had a couple of jobs since graduating. It’s just a matter of when we recorded Sentimental Moods, our second album, my balance was really go to work, come home and work on that album, that was it. Write, make beats, record, that was it. Whatever free time I had while I wasn’t at work, I was just making music. Now, it’s really the same thing. I mean, music is my priority, so my thing is like if I have to skip work to do my music, then I’ll have to take that loss. Like I’d rather perfect a song or a beat then…I feel like it’s worth it more to perfect a song or a beat than to be late on my rent. Although, I’ve been really good on making sure both are happening if by any chance I was late on my rent because I was working on my music, that’s something I’d be okay with, because it’s my priority. This is something I want to do with my life and these jobs are just up until I can quit them. None of the shit I do, I mean, I work at a coffee shop, I don’t wanna make coffee. I don’t wanna make food for people. I wanna make music for people. You know so I balance and I’m enjoying my menial jobs, but it’s all temporary. That’s it.

Le: I always have like fifty million things to do. I always have a bunch of things on my mind and balancing. It’s not hard to balance work and music, it’s just the music part for me includes everything. That’s photoshoots, that’s videos, that’s going to other people shows, it’s a lot. It’s a lot and that for me gets difficult. The work part isn’t difficult for me, but everything in the music world. It’s a lot of stuff that I’m always trying to do because I’m always like, what’s next? I need to be on the move because I don’t like not doing anything and so it’s a blessing and a curse. I’m tired when get home, I don’t feel like writing music or I’m writing to this one particular song instead of the songs that I should be writing to because deadlines and blah, blah, but I mean it is difficult, but it’s not a nasty difficult. It’s a good difficult. It’s something I like.


In between all of that, where do you find your inspiration? If you come home and then you’re tired, I mean you have to work at something, what is your inspiration? How do you just get it going?

Le: Gosh, let me tell you something. You move to New York you think you can do everything, everything is supposed to inspire you. You come to New York to be inspired to follow your dreams. For me that is a little bit of the case, but honestly I come to New York and I don’t find any inspiration. There’s so much going on and a lot of it is bullshit, a lot of it is wack. There’s so many people singing, rapping, trying to be actors and a lot of them suck and then if they don’t suck it all sounds the same, and inspiration like that is hard to find. I recently got really inspired for the first time in a few years since I’ve been in New York by Alabama Shakes. They made me go crazy. When I left that concert, I finally felt like okay I need to go home and make some music, you know what I’m saying? But I don’t know, I read a lot. I read a whole lot, so maybe books.

CE: All that, books [laughs]. I find inspiration from life experiences obviously. Man, it’s like most of my inspiration is a product of my influences. Does that make sense? So most of the time, my inspiration comes from what I’m already listening to. Like who I’m influenced by, whether it’s music or actors or a writer or something. So it’s seldom that something that happens in my life will inspire something in my work. Really, it’s something that somebody will say, somebody I like will say something and I’ll start to think and philosophize in my head and then I’ll start to write something based off of that. Every once in a while, something will happen in my life where I’ll write about it. I just feel like sometimes when you go that route when you’re like “oh, I got fired today, I’m gonna write about that” it could just come out so contrived because you end up writing exactly what happened and then there’s no, “I guess there’s like no room for your own ideas because it happened that way. “We’re Tired of Shit,” for example, I love that song, but it’s such a plain song, it’s plainly what it’s about, that’s what it is. It’s about work. We wrote about how much we hate our jobs, which is dope, but there’s no room for interpretation with that song. There’s no assuming genius with that song. That song is what it is and that’s why sometimes I don’t get inspired directly from life experiences as some might get inspired by that. That’s why I find more inspiration by how I’m influenced by things, people and events and shit, you know what I’m saying? Sometimes every once in a while I’ll write, but what I’m coming to know is if I’m inspired by something directly that’s happening in my life, I’ll try to think about and philosophize on it and try to you know? Instead of writing it down as it happens.

What is the main message you hope to convey to your listeners?

Le: The truth, boom.

CE: “Be yourself or die,” I got that from E-flat from All-Natural. “Be yourself or die.”

By: Raquel Rodriguez (@raaxglo)

Check out the visuals to “Pillows” below:

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Issue 12: The Tech Experiment

June 3, 2015