Nick Vibbert grew up in Newburg, Ky., in a neighborhood he recalls as being tough. Swept up in a desire to prove his worth to his peers, the teen soon found himself in trouble with the law and began heading down a path toward destruction, and even death.
Yet, from a young age, Vibbert also had a passion for poetry and music, eventually developing a connection to hip hop that would help him escape his rough past.
Now a well-mannered, smooth-talking, 28-year-old, Vibbert – better known as Nick Vibes – is making waves in the music industry as a successful rapper, singer, songwriter and producer.
“I thank God for (my upbringing) because socially and culturally it’s shaped me to become who I am,” said Vibes. “I wouldn’t be Nick Vibes without that influence.”
In 2004, Vibes’ big break in the industry occurred when he was introduced to producer-director Andre Greene.
“It wasn’t until I met Andre back in late 2004 that I got serious about music,” said Vibes. “I was working with some youth at a church at the time and helping some inner city youth out, and I heard this guy was a great producer and artist and he had heard of me and we just connected the dots.”
A few days before introducing himself to Greene, Vibes had written a rap on a piece of paper, which he tucked in his back pocket before heading to the studio for their meeting.
“I pulled (the rap) out and started spitting, I think it was like 16 bars, which is like a verse, and (Greene) stood up in his seat and (said), ‘Hold on I think I’ve got something for that,’ put it on a track, and it was uphill from there,” Vibes said.
But it wasn’t until a woman by the name of Mama Jan entered Vibes’ life, that he reached a new level of stardom in the industry.
“She’s probably the biggest vocal coach in the world,” Vibes said of Mama Jan, (real name: Jan Smith), who was Justin Bieber’s first vocal coach.
Vibes wanted to take his vocal abilities to the next level, so about a year ago, he attempted to contact the Mama Jan. Despite knowing she had an eight-month waiting list for major artists wanting to work with her, Vibes figured it was worth the long-shot to try connecting with the songstress.
“I ended up sending some videos and some songs and about a month went by, I didn’t hear (anything),” Vibes said.
Then, one late evening, while Vibes was in his studio on Main Street in Louisville, he received a phone call from a lady with a deep Southern accent.
On the other line was Mama Jan calling from her home in Atlanta to ask Vibes if he wanted to be her student. Vibes, of course, agreed to the offer and began traveling once or twice a month to the ATL to perfect his pitch.
“From that situation, we grew,” he said. “We had a lot in common in terms of our spiritual life and other things that kind of went beyond just music so she became more than my vocal coach. Then the door started opening to Justin Bieber and Usher and her introducing me to them.”
Vibes had the opportunity to showcase his skill in front of Bieber when Mama Jan asked him to create a rap video exclusively for Bieber’s private 18th birthday bash. Since then, Vibes has begun writing and submitting songs to Bieber, as well as Drake, Keri Hilson and other notable figures in hip hop and R&B.
But his music career, isn’t all he has going on in his life. Vibes also spends time with a “significant someone,” as well as his organization, Agape Community Living, which has grown to about 40 employees. Agape Community Living serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities by providing care around the clock to help them thrive in the community.
“That’s very rewarding,” he said. “That’s a big part of who I am. They’ve been more of a blessing to me than I’ve been to them. They’ve showed me so much more about life.”
Now that his professional life is starting to blossom, Vibes said he’s ready to push his influence further in the community and beyond. He’s also eager to establish his mark on the music industry, whether as a solo artist or a songwriter for other chart-topping singers.
Vibes ultimate goal: “Take over the world,” he smiled. “With the opportunities that we have now, we’re in a really good place. I think as an artist, from an artist’s standpoint, I’m definitely excited about being an international artist and that’s going to be fun touring. But, at the end of the day, I want to touch and influence people with this music.”