LARUICCI X JOYCE WRICE IN LISTEN MAGAZINE
Digital Cover: Joyce Wrice
No one seized the year 2022 quite like Joyce Wrice; whether it was the success of a country-wide tour with frequent collaborator Lucky Daye, or the release of her highly anticipated KAYTRANADA-produced EP, there was no deterring the LA-based singer’s trek to her well-deserved accomplishments. Since the release of her critically acclaimed debut album, Overgrown, Wrice has established herself as a refined songwriter — penning feelings of maturity and growth in the most vulnerable yet accessible way — in return gaining a loyal fan base that supports and awaits her every move. In 2022, Wrice was certainly inescapable — you might have watched her remarkable NPR Tiny Desk concert, or heard her vocalize Disney’s Proud Family theme song — in just the past year, she achieved feats that were long overdue yet rightfully earned.
One of the highlights of Wrice’s grand year was the release of her EP, Motive — in close collaboration with KAYTRANADA and his ear for dance and electronic sounds. A project built around evolution, Wrice steers away from traditional and thematic R&B to bring us to the dance floor, with production inspired by Afrobeats, dance/electronic, and funk. In a pleasant and welcoming surprise, Wrice floats effortlessly over the dance-infused production on Motive, making her presence known and distinct on songs like “Iced Tea,” and “Bittersweet Goodbyes.” In an industry where artists are prone to become complacent and comfortable, Wrice’s striking confidence in experimenting with her voice and innovating her sound only translates as a star quality, sealing her longevity in music and beyond. We had the opportunity to wrap up the past year with Wrice, discussing all her accomplishments, her motive behind Motive, along with her goals for the new year.
Laruicci Tiger Claw Ring
Laruicci Heartbreak Hotel Ring from FW22 Collection
Congrats on having another successful year! Overgrown is one the finest R&B albums of the past few years. But on Motive you took a different route, influenced heavily by dance, what inspired that transition for you?
Thank you so much! It makes me so happy how much Overgrown has resonated with people! I learned a lot about myself as an artist and performer after performing Overgrown. I realized that I wanted to dance more and felt bolder than ever before. This is what led to the creation of Motive. I’m single and really know my worth and don’t have time for the bullshit!! That’s the energy I needed to channel and express during the making of Motive.
You’ve said that including choreography in your performances also made you want to get into dance-fused music. How important is that aspect when you’re creating an album or EP? Do you make songs keeping in mind how they would sound live?
After performing at festivals and going on tour with Lucky Daye last year I started to see what connects with people and reflected on how I want to connect with an audience. So now I’ve gotten into the habit of creating whatever feels right and also creating for certain types of audiences. Right now I have ballads in my pocket as well as uptempo and mid-tempo which is really fun.
What is your favorite song to perform off of Motive?
I haven’t really performed any of those songs yet! I was just in Japan for 4 headline shows and was able to give a sneak preview of “Bittersweet Goodbyes” because the EP wasn’t out yet. I think “Lookin for Ya” might be my favorite though… we will find out. I’m training and rehearsing for my LA and New York headline shows next month and the choreo for that song is so incredible.
Motive’s sound is more freeing, like you were having the time of your life making it whereas Overgrown is a journey and more thematic. Is it hard to find the perfect balance between those two parts of you and reflect that in your sound as well?
Motive is definitely more experimental, confident, and liberating whereas Overgrown is a reflection of a tough time in my life where I was giving someone too much power and all I wanted was for them to want me. It isn’t difficult for me to find that balance. I really just try my best to listen to what my heart has to say, what stories I want to tell, how the production is making me feel, etc. I’m working on my second album right now and there isn’t anything particularly going on in my life like for Overgrown so I’m just creating with friends and new artists, living new experiences, and studying other music and artists to see what’s next.
As an artist who’s constantly creating and has a loyal fanbase, is there ever a fear of becoming complacent if you don’t try to evolve in your music? How do you overcome that?
For me, there is sometimes a fear of not fulfilling fan expectations. My goal is to make music that I love and hopefully, it will resonate with everyone else. As well as wanting to outdo my previous works and continue evolving and elevating. Realistically, all I can do is my best and stay focused and disciplined while having fun! What helps me is to embody that mindset and always have gratitude for my gift and passion. It’s truly a blessing to wake up and be able to do this every day.
2022 was somehow the year of non-traditional R&B/dance albums and made us see just how much potential that genre actually has. As a long-time songwriter and singer, are you excited about the extension of the genre and what do you think is the future for R&B?
I’m so inspired and elated by the current state of R&B. I want for it to be whatever artists feel that it is for them. I want people to just create what feels right and good for them and not even box themselves into a genre if that makes sense. Everyone has a story to tell and only they can tell that story and that is what I see happening right now. People are unapologetically doing them, challenging the industry and each other and I feel like that’s going to allow the continuation of the success of music and art.
Your friendship and creative relationship with KAYTRANADA gave us gems like “Iced Tea” and “Pace Yourself.” How important is the process of collaboration for you? Not only in terms of production, but even songwriting and coming up with concepts, etc.
I’ve been so blessed to have a great A&R and management team as well as living in LA where the music scene is blossoming. There’s so much talent. Two heads are better than one a lot of times! So I love collaborating whenever I can. Everybody has such great ideas and we all thrive from each other’s experiences and wisdom. KAYTRANADA for example has such tasteful production and whenever I can get my hands on em’ it’s gold! Haha, I also have been writing with Mack Keane, for example, and we were able to create such strong songs like “Iced Tea” and “Bittersweet Goodbyes” as well as songs from Overgrown.
What’s one creative or life lesson you learned while making Overgrown, and one you learned while making Motive?
From Overgrown I learned to enjoy the creative process and not judge it. It was a long journey and there were a lot of songs that I made that I didn’t like haha But that’s okay! I had to really be patient and trust the journey. For Motive, I learned to be more vulnerable. I experimented a lot with this EP and challenged my sound which was a bit uncomfortable. It was a great experience and training for me as I enter this sophomore album stage.
From a very successful tour to the release of Motive, your NPR tiny desk concert, Fashion Week, first red carpet at the Soul Train, 2022 was a movie for you! How would you sum up the year, did you accomplish all your goals?
Man, 2022 was a dream. It felt like more than a year had gone by. I accomplished all my goals and more! Haha I’m so proud of my team and feeling very motivated for this new year. Looking forward to doing my best to be comfortable in the uncomfortable and enjoy this new journey of album #2! Can’t wait to share it with y’all :)
What are you most excited about in the new year? Can we expect new music and possibly a tour in 2023?
I don’t really like to share too much. I want to do my best to keep it a mystery. But just know that there’s so much coming and definitely you can expect new music, new collaborations and so much more!
Lastly, who are you currently listening to?
I’m currently listening to Peter Collins, NxWorries, Outkast, Yebba, and my unreleased shit haha!
Photographer: Ashley Zhang
Stylist: Marissa Pelly
Hair: Monae Everett
Makeup: Karina Milan
Studio: vns studios