"I think one day I'll be one of the biggest, but I want to be the bridge in a world full of gaps”
Since emerging onto the scene in 2013, with his hyper-charged hooks and nimble wordplay, Los Angeles multi-platinum singer-songwriter has left his mark on the pop scene. Vibez spoke to Bryce Ross-Johnson about his new song 'Stay' with Cheat Codes, music in the works and everything in-between.
Described by his best friend as “what would happen if Kid Cudi, Gorillaz, and Blink-182 got drunk and had a jam session.” Bryce Vine’s sound has continued to evolve, he said: "I think my music has changed as I’ve changed and matured." His debut EP 'Lazy Fair' and his smash hit 'Drew Barrymore' led to his first full-length album 'Carnival', which he agreed with us as one of his breakthrough moments. Vine added: "For the majority of artists out there, this shit doesn’t happen overnight. One thing I always try to remember is that making music should be fun - even when it seems like no one else cares or loves it except you."
With the pandemic looming over our shoulders, it hasn't been easy for Bryce as he admits: "I spent the first few months of quarantine just trying to wrap my head around everything that was happening. I got depressed for a while, as a lot of people did." Even though he can't travel to some of his favourite places like New York and Barcelona, Bryce has found comfort within the confined spaces of the quarantine. He’s reconnected with a past girlfriend and bought a house.
Vine has experienced turbulence and joy in this unprecedented time we live in but didn’t refrain from treating listeners with his latest pop-electronic infused track 'Stay' with Cheat Codes. He talked about the story behind it: "Last summer Sire wanted me to go, spend a week somewhere to write new songs. I picked Miami because I love the energy there and brought two friends who I write a lot with. Four days into a five-day trip, we realised we’d done a lot more playing than working and we knew we couldn’t go back to LA with just party stories! We wrote ‘Stay’ the morning we were supposed to leave and ended up missing our flight. A year later the song still felt special, especially because of how much the world changed." Including a special Cheat Codes element, Bryce added: "I decided to send it to Cheat Codes, knowing they would give it that extra party energy that we all miss in our lives. They nailed it!"
As a young kid, Bryce Vine aka Bryce Ross-Johnson was always devoted to music. It saw him feature on The Glee Project to attending Berklee College of Music. However, it was his first-ever influences that really stuck with him, he explained: "As an awkward only kid, music was therapeutic for me. From listening to jazz at my dads' apartment to reciting Disney movie songs in the car with my mom, music was my association with happiness. I was 13 years old when my mom bought me an acoustic guitar for my birthday. From then on, I was writing my own songs, whether it was with my high school punk rock band or my Berklee roommates. The most important thing I’ve learned on this journey is that the more authentic the music you write is to you, the more relatable it is for other people."
Whilst Bryce was enjoying his time surrounded by music, just like everyone else, he still faced challenges he needed to overcome. Talking about being diagnosed with depression at the age of 13, he said: "Self-doubt is something I battle with every day and, now even after all I've done there's still a little voice in my head to remind me I'm not good enough". But, added: "It makes the wins almost more enjoyable though. I remember being a guest on the Kelly Clarkson show. I was sitting next to her and Jay Leno with my mom beaming in the front row. Then I turned around and, Drew Barrymore pops up on the screen to tell me how much she loves my song. That was a golden moment."
Following his EP 'Problems' that saw him delve into a five-track project about being stuck in lockdown and the release of his party anthem single 'Stay'. Bryce Vine is now staying true to his influences of Tupac –– who he described as “still one of the most iconic artists of all time” –– and Kendrick Lamar in his next chapter of music. With 2020 coming to a close he stated: "Shows are starting to come back, though not the same way they were. I’ve been doing a lot more virtual college shows and youth seminars over zoom."
Among new music in the works, Bryce hopes to see himself recognised across the whole world. He admits: "I think one day I'll be one of the biggest" but notes: "I also want to be known for helping and being kind to people. I want to be the bridge in a world full of gaps."