John Vincent -- who will be channeling the voice of Frank Sinatra on Monday night as part of the Big Band Sinatra show with the Benny Hollman Orchestra -- grew up and never wanted to be a singer; he wanted, he said Monday, to be a football player.
Vincent's parents, however are Italian and always listened to Italian music, so it was only natural that when Vincent first heard Sinatra in college, he used to sing along with Old Blue Eyes. At one point, Vincent added, he realized he sounded like the Chairman of the Board.
When Vincent sang "Under My Skin" at his sister's wedding, he realized he wanted to pursue a career in singing. So he quit his day job as a headhunter and started singing in Chicago nightclubs. These days, John has mastered 16 voices, including those of Otis Redding, Louis Armstrong, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and Harry Connick Jr.
On Monday, he said that one of the most memorable performances early in his career was at a charity event held by legenday Bears coach Mike Ditka. Jamie Foxx was there and asked him to sing “Blame It on the Alcohol” with him. Not knowing the words, Vincents said, he just repeated the line, “Blame it on the alcohol,” while Foxx sang everything else.
These days, Vincent has a huge following in Chicago, even traveling to Copenhagen with Mayor Richard Daley as part of Chicago's bid for the Olympics. In addition to the current tour, he also sings at Cubs, Bulls and White Sox games.
John Vincent performs Monday night at Anthology at 7:30 p.m.