The Vindys, a band originally local to Youngstown, continues to grow and succeed across the Midwest.
By Ayah Elsheikh, ’20 and Josie Stewart, ’21
Releasing their first EP in 2014, The Vindys, a fivesome from Youngstown, has slowly emerged in the Ohio music scene. Led by vocals and guitar player Jackie Popovec, the group mixes a lo-fi jazz sound with a rock edge.
The group, including guitarist John Anthony, drummer Ed Davis, guitarist Rick Deak and bassist Scott Boyer, started as a small cover band in Youngstown, Ohio and began to grow as Popevec introduced her own songs and style to the group.
“I saw these guys playing in a cover band and [jokingly said], ‘You need me,’” Popovec said. “So I was like, ‘Let’s do this, we’ll change the cover band thing by making it our own.’”
Starting with just a few Postmodern Jukebox-style songs, they transformed mainstream pop songs into a different genre. Popovec’s jazz-influenced voice and strikingly unique sounds have expanded into several large cities in Ohio, but the group still remains loyal to their native Youngstown.
Regardless, their ties to home have not created obstacles for touring and performing across the Midwest over the last four years.
“We kind of [travel] between Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Columbus [and] Youngstown. We’ll go as far as Chicago, New York, Nashville. We’re doing [Philadelphia] and Boston [soon], as well some new markets,” Popovec said.
After The Vindys began emerging as a new and upcoming band, the Pittsburgh Pirates asked to use one of their songs with reimagined lyrics to use as a gameday anthem. The group immediately got to work, and Popovec wrote their newest single, “Are You Ready?” The team temporarily leaned towards a rock and pop edge for the song, though Popovec says to expect more of their authentic sound in future albums.
“The [team] called us, and I [said], ‘I’ll write you a Carrie Underwood Super Bowl [song],’” Popovec said. “‘Are You Ready?’ is my version of [a] ‘get pumped up’ kind of song for game night.”
With a boost in popularity, The Vindys continue to perform many weekends on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, despite having their own full-time jobs during the week.
Other than Popovec, who owns a pottery painting studio in Youngstown, Anthony, Davis, Deak and Boyer are band directors, teachers, professors and IT city directors, most having masters degrees in music from Youngstown State University.
“[The guys being teachers] has a lot to do with how organized we are. I am the creative [side], so I’m painting and writing songs and this and that, but they are very professional— very organized and they will attend to every single email in minutes or at least that day. We are timely and all of the teacher qualities that you could want,” Popovec said. “They keep me in check.”
Besides these 30-40 hours a week at work and scheduling, the members also do their own marketing, promotion, booking and merchandising.
“It’s a lot for us to do everything—[working] and then coming home and then writing songs, doing business stuff and promoting—but we do it because we love it,” Popovec said. “It’s tiring, but we love it.”
As they expand, the fivesome remains a “personification of Youngstown” as described in their Spotify biography. Their bluesy undertones have created an Ohioan fanbase and have become associated with their own hometown. Even their name pays homage to Youngstown, being named after the local newspaper, the Vindicator.
“[The Vindicator] got swallowed up by another paper and lost a little bit of history,” Popovec said. “But it’s nice for us to have that name [and] to take on that name as well.”
Although the paper dissipated this year, the Vindys have grown and are on their way to become a staple of their town, just like the paper once was.
The Vindys perform on Dec. 7 at the 2019 Winterfest in Bicentennial Park starting at 8 p.m.
More music from the group can be found at their website and the links below.