Local musician auditioned for American Idol, looks toward opportunity in Nashville

Vinny Saj. Photo by Emily Baldwin.

Vinny Saj (pronounced “sigh”) is a regular 18 year old kid with a special gift for music. Born in Amsterdam, New York and currently residing in the Broadalbin area, he has been singing and playing guitar for several years now. The past few months have been eventful ones for Saj and have included a trip to Massachusetts to audition for American Idol, a series of shows at McDonalds’s and most recently an opening slot for the popular Christian band Unspoken which helped open additional doors for his music career.

Saj traveled to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA on August 2, 2013 to audition for the television show American Idol. While he did not come away with the coveted “golden ticket” to get to Hollywood, he did make it through several initial rounds before getting to sing in front of the celebrity judges. Saj recounted, “I made it to the round before Hollywood and went before the three judges Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr and Keith Urban. I got three great compliments. Nothing bad was said and Jennifer Lopez said she wants to see me back this coming year to see what else I can offer.”

Photo provided by Tim Cox Jr.

After returning, Saj performed at a handful of mini concerts dubbed “McJammin” on Sunday evenings at the McDonald’s in Gloversville, NY. The last McJammin was held in December because according to Saj, the crowd had “grown too big” and was unable to fit in the McDonald’s location.

Saj also serves on the worship band at Love City Fellowship in Gloversville NY. In regards to his role at Love City Fellowship, he explained, “I’m just a guitar player, and a worship leader every once in a while. There is a difference between being a worship leader and lead singer. Being a worship leader is not about me, it is about God. But when I am entertaining the focus is on me.”

Tim Cox Jr., pastor of Love City Fellowship and who also accompanied Saj to the American Idol audition said of him, “He is still young so there is still a lot of room to grow. I love the heart behind what he wants to do and I’m really excited that God is really using him to spread the Gospel and to present an awesome message of hope. I think it is awesome that Vinny is striving in this direction, so I am excited to see what God has in store for him.”

Photo by Matthew Elton

After opening for the band Unspoken at a concert at Gloversville Middle School on December 8, 2013, Saj reports he caught the interest of producer Jay Speight and was offered a “Production Deal” to further develop his music. According to Saj, “The production deal is a deal where I work with professionals who help me refine my style and find other musicians to work with me. They help to get my music to how it should sound and will be responsible for coming up with a plan of how to get my music out there.” The deal will require Saj to travel to Nashville, Tennessee.

In order to raise funds for the trip, he is holding a concert titled “From Nowhere 2 Nashville” at Broadalbin-Perth High School along with local performer Beth Zaje on Friday, February 28th, 2014 at 7pm.

In regards to the concert title, Saj added, “When we named my concert we weren’t naming it meaning that this place is nowhere, we were naming it because of where I started in music (nowhere) and now I’m going to Nashville.” He went on to say, “I am proud of where I come from. ”

To attend “From Nowhere to Nashville” you can pre-purchase tickets from Vinny Saj (you can contact him on Facebook), at Love City Fellowship, or at Broadablin-Perth High School. Tickets cost $8.00 in advance or $10.00 at the door.

Wendy Kissinger

Wendy is a mother of five children. She is a photographer/ writer for the Compass. She owns Wendy Kissinger Photography and resides in Johnstown.