Am I Behind? – An EP by Globetown

My good friend Vincent Mann has released a self-exploratory EP called Am I Behind?. I’ve known Vincent for many years and he’s always been a big supporter of any Baha’i-inspired media we’ve produced, for example he participated in our Studio Sessions in Chicago (USA) with the song “The Voice that Calls Me”. Since then, it’s been amazing to see his musical and media talents flourish and become increasingly public for others to enjoy and be inspired by; he launched not only this album, but other initiatives as well, all under the name Globetown. I’m really excited about Vincent’s EP. Here’s what he shared with me about how and why it was important to him to put this album together, what the pandemic taught him, and what words of encouragement he’d like to share with other burgeoning artists:

Can you tell us a little bit about the album?

Vincent Mann

Over the last few years, I’d ended up with a backlog of songs that were sitting on the shelf that I had intended to record. I thrive when I’m collaborating with others so I decided to forego home recording and to work with a producer local to Chicago. I chose Brian Deck as I admired his previous work with bands such as Iron & Wine and The Counting Crows. In the song selection process, I ended up picking 3 songs that I’d written during the early stages of the 2020 lockdown, and the other 3 were selected from songs written over the last 10 years. 

How did the album come about, and why was it important for you to make this album personally?

During our time in lockdown, I’d realized that if I hadn’t finished and released many of my songs now, what else would it take for me to get these recorded and released? “If not now, when?”

The title track came about a year earlier, as I was feeling that I was behind in life, or had “missed the boat.” The thought continually ran through my head that if I hadn’t succeeded on achieving my goals during my 20s, that I must have failed. This song is titled “Am I Behind?”.

Several of the other songs deal with stories and ideas that had been floating around in my head during daily reflections. An example is the idea of never being able to possess someone, “You Can’t Possess Anyone”. Or “Alabaster Wallace” which deals with a man down on his luck who has never had a lover in his life, holding his cup up each day, and still maintaining hope while seeing the light in the darkness. “Bleed Liberty” deals with the current divisive climate where “every one is holding a grudge, like every one is holding a gun”. One of the final lyrics is, “We thought it was easy, to live free, in liberty”. 

What was the writing process for you like personally? Were there certain challenges you had to overcome?

The writing process has always been one of playing around on the guitar and then vocals and lyrics begin to rise to the surface, which I would then refine. Some songs come out 80% complete, others 20%. The biggest challenge was overcoming procrastination to find the willpower and determination to get to the finish line, and not resorting to old habits of trying to make something “perfect.” 

Can you tell us what spiritual principles informed either the creation of these songs or their lyrics or themes?

Absolutely. The EP explores the themes of unity, the continuation of our soul after we depart this world, detachment, and in “Alabaster Wallace”, not underestimating the heart of those around us, similar to not judging a book by its cover. For “Am I Behind?” I wanted to pose the question to listeners of the continuation of our soul after we leave this world of comparison and feeling behind. Years of overthinking and feeling stuck or like you’re not achieving the success expected of you by society’s standards, but in the end, we leave and it’s truly about what we have made of our soul. 

“Am I Behind, in this life?

I’ve done the time, in my mind

And when we die,

is there endless time?”

With “Bleed Liberty”, I wanted to explore the division within the US and how everyone holding a grudge… isn’t so different from holding a gun. Communities are fractured, people are kept at an arms length. We have to drop the grudge to be able to connect and heal. Otherwise we are one human body fighting itself. 

“I don’t wanna use you,

I don’t wanna lose you, 

please don’t let this anger settle in you”

The final outro goes:

“We thought it was easy,

to live free in liberty, 

…and all our problems,

the lies we believe,

the mouths we feed,

the misery, 

is all we need, 

to finally see,

that we all bleed.”

What do you hope listeners walk away with after they’ve listened to the album?

Ultimately, a reflection on their own creative impulses. I am of the belief that everyone has the ability to create and that there are many sides to each of us. As we discover our unique abilities, the creation process can teach you a lot about yourself and even expose the mindset you’ve been living within. Expressing yourself to then “see yourself”. 

I think back to all the times I was feeling down and saw someone else share their art, which then lifted my spirits. We owe it not only to ourselves, but to the shared reality of the world to express our unique voices. 

Do you have any advice to anyone one else who wants to publish/produce their own music?

Write. Record. Share. Put it out so you can learn from the experience. If you’re having trouble getting home recordings right, reach out to friends with more experience, watch online videos, or seek out a local studio engineer. You can do it all yourself, but if that becomes a barrier, find help. 

On another note, I have found that getting someone else to help finish your songs is great but shouldn’t replace taking the time to discover your own style and sound. It can feel good to be done but the recording may not reflect your vision. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Don’t be hard on yourself with unfinished projects. Be compassionate and remember that making music is a really amazing thing and a lot of fun. It’s easy to turn anything you love into a chore by applying too much pressure. Always realign with your WHY. You’re doing yourself no favours by feeling guilty about the time that has past and it’s never too late.

Thanks so much, Vincent!

You can find Am I Behind? on Spotify and other streaming platforms.

Here is the music video for the EP’s title track:

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Naysan Naraqi

Naysan is passionate about using the arts and media to explore the teachings of the Baha’i Faith. Back in 2011, Naysan started up the Baha’i Blog project, channeling his experiences in both media and technology companies to help create a hub for Baha’i-inspired content online.

Naysan Naraqi

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