Los Angeles, CA – The story of how recording artist Bryce Vine landed on Rani Hancock’s Sire Records roster could be described as an uphill battle. Part of his journey begins in 2014, while Vine was attending Berklee College Of Music and had just come off of a major appearance on the reality television show The Glee Project. That same year he and his producer, a fellow student of Berklee, Nolan Lambroza, released Vine’s first project the Lazy Fair EP, featuring the breakout track “Sour Patch Kids.”
The Hip Hop infused, pop-leaning, multi-genre bending track garnered millions of views and put Vine and company in a position to break into the mainstream. “Sour Patch Kids” is very evocative of Vine’s sound that utilizes the juxtaposition of lyrical verses, catchy melodies and heavy instrumentation in production.
But timing for a record contract wasn’t on the clock. And though Vine had a number of releases over the years that help him build a lot traction, like his 2016 single “Sunflower Seeds” and his Night Circus EP featuring the millennial traveling anthem “Nowhere Man,” Vine admits notoriety hasn’t come easy.
“Yeah man, it has been a long road to get to this point,” Vine tells HipHopDX.
“And, I’ve had many labels over the years — in fact, I even had an offer from a major label like two years ago and then I met the president of the label and we just didn’t click and then he took the deal away from me, and at that point I was like ‘Why am I still doing this?’ Like I was frustrated, I was annoyed I thought I wasn’t getting the recognition that I hoped I deserved, and maybe I didn’t, and it was fucking with my whole brain — and then I started saying, you know what, fuck it, like, I’ll just keep making the stuff I want to make and hopefully at some point, you know, something will happen but I am not looking for it anymore.”
Things changed fairly quickly, though, after the rapper released his now platinum single “Drew Barrymore” in 2017. The track was initially distributed by Vine and Lambroza’s independent label, Kiva House Lambroza, and nabbed the No. 47 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 before shooting to No. 19 on the Pop Songs chart. It currently sits at nearly 40 million plays on the official music video on YouTube.
“I put out “Drew Barrymore” independently and then a couple of labels that week all of the sudden just wanted to sign me. And then I met Rani Hancock, who was friends with my producer or had a business relationship with my producer, and I knew this was who I wanted to build my career with,” Vine says.
“And over the years of being independent, it’s not like I didn’t want to get signed, it’s just we didn’t want to, and I say we like me and my team, we didn’t want to just sign to anybody, we wanted to be believed in and have someone that was going to fight for us and a label that was going to really believe in the project and not just put it on the shelf.”
Now poised to share his debut album Carnival via Sire Records, Vine asserts that though his new music is evolving, the content remains true to his roots.
“It’s just more mature I think,” Vine comments on the album.
“I just keep trying to evolve and try to find different things that inspire me and use them to create new stuff. I mean, I think my music all has a very similar sound to it, even the newer things like “Drew Barrymore” and “Sour Patch Kids” are very different songs that I made at very different times in my life, but, I can’t see anybody else making either of those songs, which is what I always try to do — I try to keep my music where nobody else could’ve done it.”
Along with “Drew Barrymore” his “La La Land” collaboration featuring YG will appear on the album. According to Vine, his goal for the track was to create a “California anthem.”
“As of now, the only feature I have on the entire album is YG (laughs). Everything else is just my songs,” he jokes.
“My buddy JP and I just started writing that (“La La Land”), maybe, last summer just over the guitar. It was supposed to be just kind of a fun, tongue-in-cheek, making fun of Los Angeles nightlife culture song. After it was produced and everything we were like, ‘You know what would be really cool is to have this be like a California anthem,’ you know, there hasn’t been one in a while. But we wanted to get somebody that represented a different side of the culture. So, YG was really my first choice.”
Apparently, Vine had issues making the collaboration happen, at first. He and his team were worried because they couldn’t get the Stay Dangerous rapper to hear the song, and likely “couldn’t get to him for a couple of months.” They had almost lost out all hope and had even shopped the track to a few other artists before Sire somehow made the track happen ad surprised Vine with the feature.
“We had some other people who were down to do it and it was just like, we were kind of excited but not as excited as you would be — you know YG is from Compton,” Vine says.
“One day I came back right after New Year ’s after my very short vacation and my team surprised me with a verse already on the song from YG.”
Out of respect for Nipsey Hussle, the rapper initially pushed the video back earlier this month to stand in solidarity with YG and pay his respects.
— Bryce Vine (@brycevine) April 4, 2019
Vine expects to deliver Carnival this summer, and though he and his team made the decision to make the debut a solo affair, Vine is confident of both the integrity of the work and his ability to collaborate with a wide-ranging group of artists in the future.
“If the first album does well and people respond to it the way I think they are going to — the second album is where I get to have a lot of fun,” he remarks.
“The first album, I have to give people a body of work, let them see what kind of artist I am and decide if that’s the kind of artist they want to follow. Then the second album, once they establish that they’re apart of my fan group and that they’re down for the ride, then I am going to take the lead singer of Young The Giant, I’ll have a song with like Frank Ocean, I’ll have a session with the guy from Rancid and see what comes up — like I want to work with so many people, but this is a debut, it needs to be focused and it needs to be, not feature driven, so that’s what it is. It’s just who I am and what I wanted to make.”
Check out the full video for “La La Land” above.