It’s a spring night in the lovely state of Michigan. In a college town North West of Detroit lays a sold out venue erupting with anticipation as fans patiently await the show lights to turn on. The house lights are dimly lit and the Victorian balcony becomes an elevated show floor of admirers and aficionados. Indeed the energy is intense, and it continues to build with every passing minute, conversations begin to increase in volume, “11six” chants become louder and more frequent. The clock marks 9:20; show time is set for 10pm… However, tonight the multitudes are in for a surprise.
Backstage El Vow wraps up a face time conversation with his wife and two children, briefly asks for prayer, and then closes the call. The stage lights remain off, the giant LED walls hover over the people like storm clouds waiting to burst. On to the dark stage walks the Fort Worth native; counting every step he takes starting from the dressing room on to the designated stage located in the center of the platform. A scarce amount of fans notice, but no one seems to care. A few minutes pass by, suddenly, the stage manager throws a thumbs up and the room goes black. The enthusiasm immediately explodes, an early show? Perhaps.
The Lone-star latino swiftly takes the mic and regulates the crowd all while surfing on a wave of EDM music. Behind him rises a tsunami of fog, LED’s and lasers. With little warning, the beat drops… and the crowd goes wild. It’s a party, and the fans know exactly what to do, they paid to see Lecrae but to their surprise received an added bonus. For half an hour El Vow exercises his twelve years of live performing expertise to create an unforgettable experience. The crowd hears snippets of familiar songs in ways they’ve never heard them before, nonetheless, they sing at the top of their lungs, energy leaves the mic and circulates the entire auditorium returning 10 fold to the stage. Vow throws a right hand up into the air and the people immediately follow, an art often referred to as “crowd control”. Vow remixes, mashes, and moves the music in to the direction of the energy, an art that can only be done live, and not pre-recorded. “Everywhere I go I try hard to connect with culture, I can usually tell what the crowd wants just based on what I see before I step on stage, the rest comes from the response I get from when I actually start” says El Vow.
Although expectations have grown high in recent years for El Vow, he is no stranger to the stage or the art of performing. “I got my first pair of turntables when I was twelve… the rest is history” says Vow. Born and raised in the Dallas sister city of Fort Worth, he is the product of two immigrant parents and a plethora of inner-city influences. Vow clearly remembers playing his fathers disco records on their home turntable. “I started recording at home with a rebuilt emachine using Kool Edit and a radio shack microphone I bought for $10.” Unfortunately for the party enthusiast, juvenile life was far from a perfect one. “I didn’t grow up in a good home, there was always trouble in my house…” Vow explains that growing up with an alcoholic father was troublesome and still haunts him at times. In the midst of a dysfunctional home life, a series of events took place that would eventually place Vow at a church on a Sunday morning, “I was a young teenager, but that day I made a vow to serve the Lord”. A “vow” he claims, can only be lived under grace.
To date, El Vow has been featured in several national tours along with renowned artists such as Social Club Misfits, Derek Minor, Tedashii, KB and Grammy award winning artist Lecrae. The resume doesn’t stop there; in fact, El Vow travels extensively as a solo artist, stretching performances as far as Mexico City and New England. It’s the solo performances that have driven El Vow to continue to raise the bar and utilize other gifts that have been otherwise hidden from the public. These talents include videography, photography, design and many others. “I don’t believe I should limit my creativity to just live performances, I’ve always enjoyed writing and recording”. El Vow began releasing exclusive music out for purchase as well as streaming, all of which carry a distinguishing style for his distinctive listeners. “I wanted to leave people with something more than just dope beats, I wanted to give them more substance” says Vow. These hidden talents have now placed El Vow on radio rotations in several major cities across the country, a move that has positioned him outside of the box. Vow’s musical influences include Hip Hop (CHH), EDM (CEDM) and deep latin roots, which he claims to slow cook and season with faith and humor. It is no wonder El Vow continues to leave audiences hungry for more.
Although the ingredients in Vows secret recipes may seem to be requesting a slice in today’s music industry. El Vow also concentrates on other important things aside from the creative arts. “I just want love my wife and kids before anything, serve people and love them to Jesus, art is just a fun way God has allowed me to do that.” Only time will tell if the up and coming artist will survive all the rigors of the road and the pressures of the music industry. Nevertheless, it is obvious that the young Texas Hispanic is causing panic throughout the nation and abroad. He sits on a solid foundation and owns a crate full of experience that will better equip him for tomorrow’s journey.