Joyce Wrice has quickly become one of our favorite R&B artists of this generation. Her debut album “Overgrown” was met with glowing reviews from R&B fans as her work with D’Mile was a breath of fresh air for the genre as it blended the nostalgic sounds of the 2000’s with what’s happening today. Joyce recently released her brand new EP “Motive” and it’s another look into her journey and progression as an artist. We had a chance to talk to the singer about her creative process when creating the new album, her experience working with KAYTRAANDA in the studio on the current single “Iced Tea” as well as her experience opening up for Lucky Daye on his “CANDYDRIP” tour earlier this year.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Reflect back on your tour with Lucky Daye earlier this year.
Joyce Wrice: Oh wow, yeah! That tour was really amazing and it was an opportunity that I’m super grateful for because at that time, I really wanted to develop my live performances. I want to be a better entertainer, so that was such a perfect opportunity for me to do it and it was very challenging because there were a lot of shows back to back and I had never done that before. I know that’s the kind of the lifestyle that comes with touring. It really made me more skillful and prepared for the future of my career.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Your desire to get better is always something that has always stood out us. Where does that come from?
Joyce Wrice: I think that comes from me caring about the craft. I really care about what I do and wanting to be the best artist that I can be. I’m such a music lover. I grew up during a really iconic era, so it’s important for me to make those artists proud. I need to just focus on doing my best.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Your debut album “Overgrown” was one of the best R&B albums that came out last year. Coming into this new EP “Motivate”, what was the mindset when creating this project?
Joyce Wrice: I feel like this whole journey has really allowed me to become more confident, comfortable and embrace who I am and know that people enjoy it. For this new EP, I really wanted to showcase what else I could do and what other sounds I could do. As you know, choreography is so big for me so I wanted to make a project that would allow me to thrive in that dance world. Linking with KAYTRAANDA and Osinachi and working with Mack Keane again, we were able to make something that is an extension of “Overgrown” in a sense where it’s still R&B, classic and feel good, but has more edginess and flirtiness to it. I feel like a bit more bounce and tempo as well. Creating this has allowed me to dive into that world and and it makes me excited even more for my sophomore album.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Was it a challenge for you to work with these different sounds?
Joyce Wrice: I would say that the Afrobeat sound is new for me which I love and I’m really happy about. KAYTRAANDA production and “Bittersweet Goodbye”, I’ve always loved sounds like that. I think my headspace now compared to “Overgrown”, I was leaning towards mid-tempos but now I’m revisiting uptempos and gritty, edgy stuff that I dabbled into prior to “Overgrown”.
YouKnowIGotSoul: The song “Lookin For Ya” is the one that stood out to us. Talk about creating that song.
Joyce Wrice: I love that one. I made that one with Anthony Watts and Miraa May. I really love that beat a lot. When I first heard it, I was like “This is definitely a sound I want to hear myself on and I think would be exciting for others.” I wanted to go for a Britney Spears and Neptunes “I’m A Slave 4 U” type of song. That song is really inspired by that. At the time when I was making that record, I was in a place where I was wanting romance in my life and I wasn’t experiencing much of it at that time, so that song is kind of reflective of that sentiment.
YouKnowIGotSoul: The second verse of that song is amazing.
Joyce Wrice: I love that second verse. That’s the second verse that I wrote with Miraa May. I feel like it really strengthens the song because we had a second verse before, but I didn’t feel it was strong enough. When I had a writing session with her, we worked on KAYTRAANDA beats but she also asked if there was anything I could play her. I played her some records and with “Lookin For Ya” in particular, she was like “I think you need to come harder on the second verse”. That’s when she helped me with that second verse and she was totally right about it.
YouKnowIGotSoul: The song “Pace Yourself” stood out to us as well.
Joyce Wrice: That one is so sweet. That one has a special place in my heart because when I first heard the beat, I was like “This is the grittiness that I want and I can add my sweet vocals to”. I wrote that with Trey Campbell. We have a great relationship because he does so well with embodying my spirit. I feel like that song is super flirty, sweet, cute and pure but it also allows me to talk my shit. I feel like we perfectly embodied that. It reminds me artists I grew up listening to. It gives me Beyonce’s “B’Day” and Keri Hilson. That one is one of my favorites as well.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Talk about the music video concept for “Iced Tea” as well as the song.
Joyce Wrice: So that song I made with KAYTRAANDA and Mack Keane during our first in-person session. He played the beat and I fell in love with it. It really inspired me to really make more dance music, uptempo and feel good music. I’m really happy that session happened because it really put me in a new headspace which is what created “Motive”. In regards to the video, I made it with my creative director Ashley Bone and she actually provided a deck for what she thought would work for “Iced Tea”. That deck had this Kill Bill, Aaliyah “Try Again” and Lady Snowblood inspiration and she also knows that I really love to showcase my Japanese heritage. When she first presented it to us, we were not expecting it for “Iced Tea”. We were thinking a summertime type video, but we loved how unpredictable this idea was. I don’t want to predictable, so we were like “Let’s run with it”. Fortunately people love the video. I know they weren’t expecting it, so that’s why it worked. I also wanted to do something more narrative based because I haven’t put out something like that before. We wanted to try something new and different and I’m really happy with the feedback.
YouKnowIGotSoul: I know you’re currently working on your sophomore album as well. We recently saw you in the studio with James Funtleroy, so talk about what we can expect in the future.
Joyce Wrice: I’ve been working on it at a slow pace. I’m really making sure that I live life. I did a lot of sessions last year and this year. I had a great session with James Funtleroy and I can’t wait to get back in with him as well as other people that I’ve been working with. I would really love for the sophomore album to be an extension of the feel that “Motive” is because that’s that space that I’m at. I’m really excited to get back in with D’Mile and KAYTRANDA. I can’t wait to surprise myself as well as y’all.
YouKnowIGotSoul: You’ve found great chemistry with both D’Mile and KAYTRAANDA. What makes great chemistry for you in the studio?
Joyce Wrice: I just love when shits not forced. I love it when things are just organic. If you want to work with me, let’s work. If I want to work with you, do you want to genuinely want to work with me? I just want it to be for the love and fortunately, just like D’Mile was down, KAYTRAANDA was down as well. He’s so sweet and chill. He just wants me to let go and be the diva that I can be. It’s just two people wanting both parties to be great and to thrive into what artist they need to be. That to me is what allows me to have these great collaborations. It’s just people believing in me.
YouKnowIGotSoul: I know James Fauntleroy was on your bucket list of producers and songwriters you wanted to work with. Who else is left on that list?
Joyce Wrice: The Neptunes, Sean Garrett and The-Dream. I recently worked with Bryan-Michael Cox at an Issa Rae writing camp. He’s really sweet and told us some great stories about Mariah Carey. Rodney Jerkins would be fire too. I saw that he worked with Alex Vaughn on her album.