A former professional musician who first started playing drums at 5 years old, V76 founder Vaughn Acord has always considered music his first true love. Music provided Vaughn with his first paycheck and he spent much of his youth traveling from Ohio to NYC doing session work and performing—he once opened for the Runaways at the iconic club CBGB. At first glance, music and hairdressing may appear to have little in common, but to Vaughn, these two art forms are cut from the same cloth.
How is being a musician similar to being a stylist?
I’ve always trusted my hands, and both allow me to use my eyes, my ears, and my hands. When you join a salon, it’s a lot like joining a band. You’re putting together groups of people who feed off of each other to make something strong and unique. You have to be on brand—a reggae band has a different look and aesthetic than a rock band. V76 has a definite aesthetic and you have to be on board with what I’m trying to communicate. It's no different than putting together a band of musicians.
How do the worlds of music, style and beauty intersect?
One of the first things a band does is to define its aesthetic. As a musician, how you look and how you project yourself to your audience is important. When trends are set and a movement is starting—it could be coming from Madonna or Lady Gaga or David Bowie—people can cut a path not only with their music but with the way they look.
How is styling an art form like music?
It’s how you express yourself. There’s so much nuance and detail in music and it’s the same with hair. The details are what make a look work or fail. There are a few hair artists out there whose work is instantly recognizable—it’s what sets them apart. If you can be recognized for what your sound is or what you created, it doesn’t get any better than that.
Is music still a big part of your life?
[As a stylist,] I’d be doing Springsteen’s hair or Lenny Kravitz’s hair and I’d be having such wonderful conversations with these guys about music because I was a player too. Now I’m in Connecticut and Hudson Valley surrounded by musicians. A teacher from my kids’ school who was a professional bass player, got all these parents together and had them come out to play one night. We played five or six songs that night and we were booked for two private parties. Since that night—ten years ago—we’ve formed a side band called The Harlem Line Band. We’re having fun keeping that part of ourselves alive.
Is there a tempo to styling and if so, what is it?
There is a tempo to it; it’s a calm one. You have to breathe and go with the flow. You have to listen to the words of your client. There are times when you’re incredibly excited and then there are times when you’re just keeping a song together.