Local Singer Wants People to Know Delayed Does Not Mean Denied
MIAMI – Ever since he was a little boy watching “Showtime at the Apollo” with his grandmother, Terrance “VesSoul” Cribbs-Lorrant knew he was called to sing on that stage. Now Miami’s resident “Songbird of the South,” is heading to New York’s 125th Street to represent his city at the iconic Apollo. On June 26, VesSoul will experience a moment he has been preparing for his entire life.
Originally from St. Louis, VesSoul (pronounced Ves•Soul) has always cultivated his gift of song. Whether leading solos in church, competing in talent shows or performing for the Queen of England as the first Black person to be accepted into the prestigious Riverdale singers at his high school – VesSoul sang any chance he got. And in many instances, all he needed was an audience of One. For him, music was a therapeutic escape from the harsh realities he faced early in life.
“Singing on stage became my escape from the horror the streets, the in-and-out appearances of my father, and a way to cope with the downfall of my mother, who had begun abusing alcohol to self-medicate her pain. Music just simply made sense out of nonsense to me,” VesSoul said. Driven by his grandmother’s reminders that his voice was a gift from God, VesSoul persevered through life’s circumstances and overcame a mental health breakdown to audition for the director of Bethune Cookman College’s (now University) Concert Chorale. He received a full scholarship and grew in his craft while attending college.
In 2003, VesSoul moved to Miami to attend grad school. After being assigned a research project about Overtown, he fell in love with the neighborhood’s rich history and culture. He worked a lot in the community helping youth and others, but not many knew the musical side of him.
When the Historic Lyric Theater reopened and ‘Lyric Live’ – an amateur night competition similar to ‘Showtime At The Apollo” – began, VesSoul knew it was time to get back to his true love.
The first time VesSoul auditioned, he didn’t make it to the finals. After waiting a year, he auditioned again. Not only was he selected to compete during Lyric Live’s third season, VesSoul became the overall winner. It was then that Dr. Dorothy Jenkins-Fields, founder of The Black Archives, dubbed him the “Songbird of the South.”
Believing it is his duty to share the love of God through music, VesSoul credits his students and mentees with pushing him to take the leap of faith.
“It was actually a conversation with students that motivated me to audition for Lyric Live. I not only needed to encourage them to go after their dreams, they, in turn, encouraged me to do the same,” VesSoul said.
Fast forward to April 20 this year and VesSoul decided to take another leap. Armed with his faith in God, his grandmother’s legacy, a Lyric Live championship and a desire to carry Overtown on his back, VesSoul made the trek to New York to audition to sing on the stage where legends are made.
After waiting three hours and singing several songs, he received word that he would get to rub the tree of hope. He said it was a reminder to him that God will always fulfill His promises.
“I want people to know that delayed does not mean denied. This is something I have wanted my entire life. When my name was called the tears immediately started to flow down my face,” VesSoul said. “I walked down to Central Park and gave thanks to God for allowing yet another one of my dreams to come true. And just before my 40th birthday. Wow!”
He encourages people to keep the faith even when life gets rough and hopes to make Miami and Overtown proud!
“Through all the challenges and ups and downs life has presented me, I still believed! And I went after exactly what I wanted. It may not have happened how I wanted, but I made sure I didn’t let that stop me. I look forward to making the community of Overtown and all the people who have invested in me proud to say I know Terrance VesSoul,” he said.