logiqredUnravelling logic

Vincent ‘LogiQ’ Pryce – one lyric at a time

Forging a successful career as a musician is the stuff teenage dreams are made of. For very few does it become a reality. And for one growing up in the ghetto of a tiny Caribbean island the odds were stacked even higher. Today Vincent Pryce is one of Antigua’s proudest exports as a multi award-winning rapper and hip hop artist, whose talent and tenacity have earned him acclaim from the tumbledown streets of Point to the bright lights of LA.

Music’s in his blood, coupled with an innate creativity which finds a multitude of avenues along which to flourish. Whether rhyming lyrics in his head or pursuing his passions for sketching, graphic design and cooking, it provides a constant soundtrack to his life. It’s the beat to his stride, the backing vocals to his existence, the cadence to his aspirations. And it’s a love that can be traced all the way back to that north-west village three decades ago where the sound of calypso and country, reggae and soul were as constant a feature as saltfish and homework.

“I was born into music,” he says. “My parents are music lovers and had dozens of cassettes and records. I would play them over and over, especially on weekends, and learn all the songs word for word - until I started to rewrite my favourite tunes in my version using my own lyrics.” He credits his humble roots to a self-sufficiency that has endured all the way to adulthood. “My father is a fisherman and my mother a housewife so we didn’t have much growing up. Being the first of four children I had most of the chores around the household. Plus, with no money to throw around, I had to get side jobs, from helping out in a neighbourhood grocery to sweeping the floor in a tailor shop.”

It was an interminable refusal to take life at face value that earned Pryce his stage name, ‘LogiQ’. “My peers in school used to tease me when I asked teachers questions like, ‘why is water wet?’. And, how could they be sure what they were teaching us in text books was even factual,” he laughs. “They called me ‘logical’, always trying to make sense of everything, and the name ‘logic’ just stuck.” Roadside trucks loaded with turntables, MCs and DJs to form an impromptu street party have long been a staple on the Caribbean music scene. It was while hanging around these ‘sound systems’ in the early 90s that Pryce formed a friendship with the musician Kem Hodge, aka Kemistry, who also ran a barbershop. “I would go cut my hair on Sundays and listen to hip-hop greats like Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, and Run DMC.”

It was those musical greats that inspired Pryce and some like-minded friends to form a hip-hop/dancehall group, the first of its kind in Antigua. Da Rock 1761 travelled as far as Europe, opening for a number of major acts including Stevie Wonder, Mary J Blige, Shaggy, Morgan Heritage and Wyclef Jean.

logiq2In 2012, Pryce became the first male vocalist to be signed to LA-based music project Sweetbox. A collaboration with Japanese singer Miho Fukuhara for the single ‘Zeitgeist21’, with its superbly stylish video, proved a major hit on YouTube. Earlier this year, his single, ‘All 4 Love’, featuring his compatriot songstress Asher Otto, was another internet smash. The fourth released from last year’s Sweetbox album, it gave viewers a glimpse into Pryce’s childhood through stunning cinematography laying bare the realities of growing up in Point, offset by some spine-tingling lyrics.

He is currently hard at work on his solo debut album, with a number of international producers including Antigua’s Justin ‘Jus Bus’ Nation. Since 2011 Pryce has been an official face of telecoms provider Digicel. Last year’s impossibly catchy Caribbean-wide TV ad featuring Pryce performing ‘Digicel makes you smile’ to the tune of ‘Gangnam-Style’ has further propelled him to household name-status. If he hadn’t been a musician, Pryce thinks he’d probably have been a full-time chef. The father-of-two recently launched his own high-end catering firm, preparing dishes such as his favourite steamed fish for luxury villas and cocktail parties.

But music is never far from his mind. “I am always making music, there’s always a song being created in my head. I could never explain it but even when cooking I’m rhyming. Sometimes I’m chilling on a hill or a beach somewhere or hiking with my friends, which is a good way to get the battery recharged, but we usually end up making music anyway.”

For Pryce, the fact that he is today making a living from what he loves to do most is a special kind of joy. “Not many of us get to do that so I am grateful for such a blessing.” He admits it hasn’t been easy pursuing music as a full-time career. “It takes a lot of patience and sacrifice. In the music business, success doesn’t come overnight. I have lost money, romantic relationships, friendships, time and energy. But if you want it bad enough you will find a way; you just have to believe in yourself.”

Despite a string of awards - best ambient song in the 2012 Hollywood Music in Media Awards being one - Pryce has remained true to his roots. “I am a humble, down to earth individual. Despite the flashing lights and TV cameras I’m really just a lover of life and all it has to offer.”

Out of all the rave reviews and accolades, when asked for his proudest achievement there’s one that stands out like a beacon. “When my mother told me I did a good job on my last music video and single,” he says. “I’ve had a hard time convincing her that what I do is not just a hobby but my way of life, so that has to be it, that compliment from her.” And that, he adds, means more than anything.