People always seem to ask Vince the same questions about looking like Prince so he
decided to try to answer the most commonly asked questions here.
How long have you been impersonating Prince?
I started impersonating Prince professionally in 1998.
What made you want to impersonate Prince?
I always knew I looked similar to Prince and I had a lot in common with him, but
I never thought I would actually impersonate him until I was touring through Laughlin,
NV in 1994. That's where I first saw a Legends In Concert show. It was a great show
and my band members kept telling me I should do that since I reminded them so much
of Prince. I was already performing several Prince tunes on the road with our band.
The audiences always loved to hear me sing the Prince songs. So after speaking to
some of the cast members in that Laughlin show, such as Trent Carlini (Elvis) and
Lori Mitchel Gay (Whitney Houston), I decided to give it a try. My band members were
really excited for me.
Prince in 1977
(19 years old)
Vince in 1977
(15 years old)
Why didn't you start impersonating him then?
Because I was too busy writing my own songs and doing my own thing. Impersonating
Prince was the last thing in the world I thought I'd ever do.
Was it easy becoming a professional celebrity impersonator?
Not at all. It was very difficult for me at first. Just looking like someone famous
is not enough. I had to start studying Prince in greater detail than before. I had
to have Prince clothing tailor made because you can't just buy Prince clothes off
the rack, well... at least not when I first started. But now that Prince is older,
he wears mostly colorful, flashy double-breasted suits. That makes things a lot easier
for me these days.
I also had to learn how to do splits like Prince. Oh my God!!! That was so hard at
first, but I kept practicing everyday until I could do them without even thinking
about it. I could already sing like Prince, but now I had to sort of "over-exaggerate"
his singing and his movements to really create a show. It was a lot of hard work.
After you did all that hard work... is that when John Stuart hired you for his award
winning tribute show Legends In Concert?
Nope... I actually first auditioned for John Stuart in '94 with the hopes of working
for him. John was very nice and told me I had a lot of talent, but my act was not
developed enough for a Legends in Concert tribute show.
Wow! I bet you were disappointed. What did you do next?
I told myself I couldn't wait on John Stuart to give me a job anymore so I reconnected
with my old band and headed off to Asia. That's where I started working on my impersonation
act even more. I kept working in Asia for 4 years until I got homesick. When I did
return, I auditioned for John Stuart again and I've been working for him ever since.
Have you ever met Prince?
Nope, I've never met Prince. I came real close at his concert in Oklahoma City in
'97. I met his entire band. They were so nice, especially his bass player, Rhonda
Smith. She took my phone number. I gave her an autographed picture of me as Prince.
She said she was gonna show it to Prince on the bus later that night. I told the
band that I impersonated Prince professionally and asked if I could meet Prince.
They said that was not a good idea. According to his band members and bodyguards,
Prince hates people who impersonate him. So, if that's truly how he feels, then I
don't ever want to meet him.
Wow!!! How did that make you feel?
Well... it did bother me at first. I never understood how a person could not like
someone who pays tribute to them. That is the biggest form of flattery there is and
it benefits the celebrity too. I am like a walking billboard for him. When people
are watching me perform, you can guarantee they are thinking about Prince and his
music. Many people have gone out and bought Prince cds after seeing my show. It's
a win-win situation. No need for him to be bitter.
Will that make you stop impersonating him?
No way! Just because he doesn't understand the impersonation business doesn't take
away from his talent or his great accomplishments! I am still honored to be blessed
with enough talent to pull off a Prince show and not have people walk away feeling
What do you think about Prince's new look and his new music?
I like it. His look has matured very nicely. I like the shorter hair on him and the
suits he wears now are very cool. He also doesn't do splits anymore so I have slowly
weeded them out of my current shows as well. When I first heard "Musicology" I didn't
like it, but after hearing it on the radio so much, it grew on me. Now it's one of
my most favorite songs to perform in my show.
Do you have any advice for someone wanting to get into the impersonating business?
Yes. There are many different levels of being a celebrity impersonator. To make the
big bucks, you must concentrate on 3 major areas:
One: You must try to look like the celebrity as close as possible. Two: You must try
to sound, talk (and sing if they are a singer) as close as possible to the celebrity. Three:
You must get their special mannerisms as close as possible.
So those are the big 3 areas you must be strong in if you want to make the big bucks.
Look, sound and mannerisms. You can never get too much practice. There's always something
to improve on. The better you are, the more $$$ you can demand.
Being a celebrity impersonator is a great way to make good money on the side or great
money as a full time gig. If you do get lucky enough to work for a company on the
level of a Legends In Concert, count your blessings! My advice is not to wait on
Legends In Concert or American Superstars (Las Vegas productions). Perfect your act,
get some really nice photos and audition for as many gigs as possible in your hometown.
The more you work, the more work will come your way. Good luck!
When did you first realize that you looked like Prince?
When I was a teenager. In 1978, Prince's first single "Soft & Wet" hit the airwaves
and everyone was talking about this 18 year old kid from Minneapolis who was writing
his own songs, playing all the instruments and doing all the vocals on his album.
I was 16 at the time and I was doing the very same thing in Chicago! I wanted to
see who this guy was because I loved his song "Soft & Wet." Prince was really 20
at the time but they lied about his age for publicity. When I finally saw a picture
of him, I was shocked to see how much we looked alike. He was short, light skinned
and had a big afro just like mine. He looked like he could be my brother. It startled
me, seriously. You just didn't see young people who looked like us (Me and Prince)
with major record deals back then.