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Singer/songwriter Vincent Poag talks Rafael Nadal, John McEnroe and the New York Giants 

EXPERT COLUMNIST
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192   //    13 Aug 2018, 23:55 IST

Singer/songwriter Vincent Poag
Singer/songwriter Vincent Poag / Photo: Chuck Fishbein, Crazy Duck Productions

Native New Yorker Vincent Poag started his career as a singer/songwriter before attending college. However, it would be decades before he released his debut album Circling Back. That first full-length reached #5 on the FMQB/ACQB chart, alongside artists like One Republic, Kelly Clarkson, Adele, and Coldplay.

Poag's third album is Heroes And Demons, as released back in June. Comparisons to songs on Heroes And Demons have been made to Randy Newman, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, and Leonard Cohen, while Poag still manages to maintain his own style.

A lifelong sports fan, I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with Poag about his histories with tennis and American football. More on Poag can be found online at www.vincentpoag.com.

Word has it that you're a big fan of the New York Giants. When in your life did you become a Giants fan?

Vincent Poag: As a young boy, my dad took me to a few Giants games. We sat in the nosebleed section, drank hot coffee from a thermos, and literally froze our asses off. I guess those miserable experiences sealed the deal. I’m a fan of all the New York teams and appreciate the athleticism of all the talented players on all the teams.

How do you feel about the Giants' 2017 season?

Vincent Poag: Other than poor coaching -- no offense or defense -- great.

I've heard that you are a bigger fan of tennis than football. Who is your favorite player?

Vincent Poag:Roger Federer has the most beautiful tennis strokes. He makes tennis look like ballet. He’s such a class act and wonderful role model for kids. I think he’s the greatest ever. I also love Rafael Nadal. He fights the hardest for every point. Opponents end up scratching their heads, wondering what they have to do to win a point. The answer is they have to beat him, as he never beats himself. He has tremendous heart.

Have you ever attended the U.S. Open? Or any other New York area tennis tournaments?

Vincent Poag: I’m an avid tennis player myself. I try to get to the U.S. Open at least once each year. The early rounds are terrific as you get to see many players in smaller venues. I’ve been fortunate to see many of the great players over the last 25 years.

Do you have musician friends who are tennis fans?

Vincent Poag: Not that I know of.

So were you yourself ever a competitive tennis player?

Vincent Poag: I still play singles and doubles competitively a few times a week but only friendly games. I’ve had numerous surgeries due to tennis, but intend to keep playing until they run out of replacement parts.

Blending together the musical and tennis worlds, have you ever heard John McEnroe play guitar?

Vincent Poag: No, but his style of serve and volley tennis was really exciting, though it’s nearly become extinct. His personality on the court was disturbing, but he’s become a great announcer. Very insightful.

Sports aside, what is coming up for you career-wise?

Vincent Poag: I’m always working on new songs. I’ve got several hundred unfinished ideas in various stages. Thank goodness for notes and memos in iPhones. I’ve lost so many good ideas, as well as melodies, that I failed to write down or record. Now I don’t lose them…I just don’t finish them.

Do you have a favorite song on Heroes And Demons?

Vincent Poag: That’s a tough question. I can honestly say I like them all even after hearing them a million times during the production/ recording process. I’m attached to each song for different reasons. If I had to pick, I’d say “Piper Play” and “And The Ocean Rolls” are two I’m particularly proud of. Artists are usually not their own best critics.

Finally, Vincent, any last words for the kids?

Vincent Poag: Never give up on a dream. Just get a day job.


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EXPERT COLUMNIST
Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 15 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. In the years following, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Downtown Magazine, Guitar World, TheStreet.com, Format Magazine, Businessweek, The Improper, the L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. He is a member of the SATW and the IFWTWA organizations as a food and travel writer. Darren is also the host the recently-launched "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" podcast, as co-produced with PureGrainAudio.
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