There was a buzz around Irving Plaza last Sunday night and for a couple of reasons. First, Quinn XCII was preparing to headline his first of two sold-out shows at the venue. Second, the rumor-mill was swirling that there would be a special guest in attendance: Bill and Hillary Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea.
Quinn, who of course was well-aware of both situations when I sat with him in his dressing room prior to the show, seemed excited but not fazed.
“It just gives me so much more confidence I think, as an artist, and it reflects I think when you see the show,” the Michigan-bred emcee, nee Mikael Temrowski, responded when I asked about the audience’s reaction to his tour so far. He noted that the crowd sings along for most of the set, including the finale of “Straightjacket.” “I’m super-blessed to be in the position that I am and the shows have been going great.”
Quinn is in the desirable position of being able to practice what he preaches; while his album deals with his vulnerabilities and relationships, his stage-name is derived from an acronym he created – and that wasn’t always something he felt comfortable sharing. Temrowski attributed the phrase to a professor he had at Michigan State until his tour’s opening night in Detroit, when he revealed that it was all his doing.
“It just stands for ‘quit unless your instincts are never neglected,’ and I think I wanted to tie in the professor because it was more of like a likely story but I was nervous to tell people that it was my mantra,” he explained. “I just urge people to pursue (your passion) because life I think is just way too short to let other people follow their dreams and see them succeed when you kind of regret it inside.”
That message is allowing Quinn to resonate with an ever-growing audience. And on Sunday night, there was surely at least one person in the crowd that appreciated the artist using his platform to spread positivity.
Amazing show tonight @IrvingPlaza by @chelseacutler & @QuinnXCII – thank you both for an unforgettable night! pic.twitter.com/i6f6SH0ZKX
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) February 26, 2018