“I don’t write to make hits – I never have. Hits come from writing good songs, and I try to write good songs,” says rapper and singer Bryce Vine. “I think that’s something important for people to stick to: you started writing songs because you love songs and you want to write one that you love. And if they don’t exist, then you make them.”
Vine knows what he’s talking about: he began playing in bands in his native Los Angeles when he was only thirteen years old, and then he attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. Vine released his debut EP, Lazy Fair, in 2014. In 2018, he made his first appearance on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with the single “Drew Barrymore,” then hit that same chart again last year with the single “La La Land,” off his full-length debut album, Carnival. He just released another EP, Problems, on August 21.
Much of this success, Vine says, comes down to being disciplined: “The best thing that you can do for yourself is find a routine that works for you,” he says. “Most of us [songwriters] are super right-brained, which is why we’re so creative, and that makes it hard to keep on schedule.”
Vine also believes that constantly absorbing new information – from a variety of sources, not just musical ones – is also a key component to staying inspired. “When I wrote “Drew Barrymore,” I was going to the gym every day,” he says. “I’d bring a book with me to the gym. I’d put it in the locker and then after I was done [working out] I’d go in the sauna and read for 20 minutes. Sometimes it was a Stephen King novel, and sometimes it was a history novel. It doesn’t matter” you’re just training your brain to take in new information.”
If you do this consistently, Vine says, “the wheels start turning and you start coming up with new stuff. You’re more creative because you’ve read things that weren’t your own ideas, that you’d never heard before, and sentence structure in a way that you wouldn’t have thought of previously.”
Finally, Vine advises, “Learn an instrument. That never hurts. I taught myself to play guitar using tabs on the internet when I was 13 years old. Now I can take it anywhere with me and write a song. If I’m sitting at the beach or if I’m driving in the car with friends, I can capture a moment right when it happens, instead of trying to recall it later.”
Visit https://www.brycevine.com/ to stream the Problems EP.