Joyce Wrice is a 24 year old singer/songwriter/dog lover from San Diego, CA. Currently based in Los Angeles, Joyce effortlessly exudes that refreshing ‘90s RnB cool, and has the warm, sultry sound to match. To be exact, 1998 was the year a young Joyce Wrice stole her father’s Tamia CD and began mimicking the vocal stylings of what would become one of her biggest musical inspirations. Joyce also credits Brandy, Monica, Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Christina Aguilera, and Usher as key musical influences.
At the urging of several high school friends, Joyce began posting Hip-Hop and RnB cover videos to YouTube when she was 17, alongside her friend, Ariel. Unexpectedly, their videos caught the attention of some of the artists whom Joyce and Ariel covered. This led to subsequent recording sessions with LA-based producer Polyester and Dom Kennedy. Through these experiences, and after graduating from Soka University of America with a degree in Liberal Arts, Joyce decided to relocate from Orange County to Los Angeles and transition from a YouTube cover singer to a solo artist with her own original material After a steady stream of solo releases on Soundcloud and YouTube over the last few years, 2015 marked the first commercial single release with a Mndsgn and DJ Harrison-produced song titled, "Ain't No Need." It was released independently and brought with it Joyce's first-ever official music video. The "Ain't No Need" music video received critical acclaim from Ebont magazine, illroots, and tastemaker extraordinaire, Questlove.
For the past 2 years, Joyce Wrice has been working on her debut EP, Stay Around, with producers SiR, Mndsgn, J. LBS, and Chuk de la Garcon,. The project is slated to drop Spring of 2016. You are all encouraged to stay around and see what happens next!
You and your best friend Ariel got your start in music singing cover songs on YouTube. What brought about that idea?
He was playing the ukulele and making covers on his Youtube page. We always got along especially because we both loved what a lot of LA artist were doing around 2009-10. So one day he brought his instrument to school and I was humming along to what he was playing and then he asked me if I wanted to do a cover with him and at that time I was really shy so I said no but he convinced me and we did it and the responses were unexpected and that’s what kept us going. Through that we covered LA artists such as Dom Kennedy, Pac Dive, Polyester, and that lead me to recording in the studio and collaborating with some of their producers. It opened doors for me. Ever since then I went to college and was still doing covers. I was living in Orange County and would commute to LA once in a while to meet more artist and go to events and become more involved in music. In 2013 I moved to LA alone and was it a struggle in the beginning. When I moved, I was renting a room and it wasn’t the best living situation and looking for a job. I didn’t know how huge LA was. I got a job in Encino far from where I lived so I was taking public transportation three hours both ways working at a restaurant that was fairly new. When we didn't have customers I was sent home early. It was tough but I had the support of my buddhist community, family and friends. I learned to survive and figure out what worked for her. After a while, things started moving in the right direction. I also started meeting with MNDSGN.
Do you have any future projects that you’re working on in and outside of music?
I would like to create a full length project. I have a few collabs in the works with other artists who have asked me to do features. I'm doing some photoshoots with cool female musicians for a brand. I have a vinyl record releasing of Good Morning. We haven’t announced that yet though. I have performances coming up in LA, the Gear Up tour in Australia and NZ so, I'll be traveling and performing. I just want to meet everyone who enjoys my music. So there's a lot of things coming up and I just want to do everything, but for now my main focus is my full length project.
In reference to your “Ain’t No Need” video and song, it holds a nostalgic vibe, how does your music bring back memorable times in your life?
A lot of the things I write about comes from my personal experience. Each song has a memory. This song is about a guy that I met in LA, and he told me that he was jaded. That line stuck with me and we created this conversation in this song. Whenever I hear that song I think of him. Take it Easy is also about that same guy as well. It's about me kind of really challenging myself to this day to really open up more and allow people to come into my life and see me for who I am and to be vulnerable and learn how to trust and not worry so much of what they’re going to think of me. It's about me wanting someone to understand those insecurities about myself and cut me some slack. Even when I listen to these songs aside from content, it also reminds me of the feelings I get when I listen to other people’s music. I want to make music that I can enjoy as well. I want to carry on the legacy of other artists. Also just growing up, as much as I loved singing, I loved the feeling I got from listening to music and want to have that impact on people.
What are three things you love about yourself?
I love that I am open to trying new things especially different foods. I love that I’m always curious and that makes me adventurous with a love of challenging my fears. For example, I'm terrified of heights so, I tried skydiving and it was a lot of fun. Another thing I love about myself is, I guess I’m a very compassionate person, I'm very empathetic towards other, I like taking care of people and building new relationships. I love learning about other people and creating friendships. I work with a lot of artist and most of those came from just being friends with them.
Describe your genre of music.
I would say more on the classic R&B side. I grew up listening to a lot of Mya, Brandy, Monica, Usher and Jermaine Dupri. My sound comes from all of those artists and it kind of has a little funk to it as well like 80’s R&B or New Jack Swing. It’s so funny because it’s not different, it just naturally comes out of me.
Who are some people that have influenced your musical journey?
My best friend Ariel definitely played a role. We started out together, you know just playing around and singing cover songs on the internet.
You attended Soka University of America working towards a degree in Liberal Arts, if not music what would you have done?
I enjoy working with young kids on a pre-school, and elementary school level. I'd want to work with children who have special needs. I would love to be a dog trainer. I also like designing. There’s a lot of clothing styles I like. I'd make my own shirts, dresses, skirts line. I don’t know how to sew, but my mom is good at it. I can see myself being a clothing designer. My mom is an artist, and my dad is a photographer in military.
How is your music a reflection of you and your cultural identity?
Well, I guess growing up I listened to a lot of black artists and so did my dad. It’s always been in my environment. I admire the courage, honesty and confidence that a lot of black artist have so that inspired me to want to do the same and not be afraid to be myself. As far as being Buddhist, a lot of my recent songs are inspired by the buddhist philosophy of knowing your potential, being optimistic, not giving in to doubts or being defined by your circumstances. There's a bigger picture, so, even if it’s not in my music, as far as being an artist and wanting to do it as a career, I think my buddhist practice has helped me to not give into the doubts I have, social media and in LA everyone’s wanting to do the same things which can be very discouraging depending on where your life state is at and you sometimes can't help but compare. So my faith helps to keep myself in check. I chant in the morning and at night.
How have you held true to your style while working with MNDSGN and SiR?
I think for me, I just naturally do what I feel like doing. I never feel pressure to do something that I feel isn’t going to work for me. Things just works out the ways they do for me honestly. Working with SiR for example, there was a lot of writing and vocal production. I wanted something a certain way and he wasn’t feeling it, but he knew that I wanted things to be real for me. Knowing what you want helps too because it can lead to you doing a different style if you don't. Sometimes if I had an idea I would be at home making demos and recording ideas and then he would help me develop them.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with readers?
I want to say thank you BGM for supporting and sharing music. Working on expanding clips into full length songs. I want to say thank you to my listeners and say when we uplift one another we win together. Whatever our goals are, whatever we want to achieve in this lifetime, we’re together in spirit.