Bryce Vine Talks 'Drew Barrymore' Explosion, His Upcoming 'Carnival' Album & More on 'Sound Drop' Set
Get to know the rising singer/songwriter better in the latest episode of Pepsi's The Sound Drop.
On a windy day in Venice, California, on the set of the latest installment of Pepsi's The Sound Drop, Bryce Vine sat down with Billboard in a red printed T-shirt and ripped black jeans to talk about his skyrocketing music career. He had the chart moves down: His "Drew Barrymore" has peaked at No. 21 (so far) on the Pop Songs airplay chart and remixes of the song are coming fast and furious, including an official Wale version that Vine was particularly stoked about. And that shirt he was wearing? “It’s like the one Leonardo DiCaprio wears in the Romeo + Juliet movie,” he says (appropriate for the Venice Beach locale, since the 1996 movie was set in "Verona Beach").
Vine hung around in his trailer before stepping out to the breeze that wasn't powerful enough to knock down the Bird scooters littering the sidewalk adjacent to the Sound Drop set. After “Drew Barrymore” took off, he said he never expected the rest of “this” -- The Sound Drop sponsorship, a live television debut on Late Night With Seth Meyers and Monday night's (Aug. 20) MTV Video Music Awards pre-show performance -- to follow.
“Did I think ‘Drew Barrymore’ would blow up like this?" he repeats. "No. I just never wrote songs expecting that. ... No, you just try to write good songs and then hope people hear it and then when something explodes, it’s like then you play catch-up.”
Now that Vine's VMA pre-show performance has wrapped, you can get more of the rising singer/songwriter by watching his full Sound Drop episode -- including a new "Drew Barrymore" cover by YouTube music star Andie Case -- below:
Writing his hit wasn’t so easy. Once the verses were written and the beat was made, all that was missing was the hook -- for months. Then Vine replayed a voice note left by singer/songwriter Julia Michaels, and the missing puzzle piece was found. “I went back and listened to a whole bunch of voice notes and that was one of them. And I was like ‘This might work.’ That was it.”
While he’s catching up to the song’s hype, listeners are catching up to the melodious quips interspersed in his “Drew Barrymore” lyrics. As he annotated on the song's Genius page, the lyric “right between your holidays” nods to an old pickup line: “If your right leg is Christmas and your left leg is Thanksgiving, can I come between the holidays?” Vine says he learned to pick up on that kind of banter from watching stand-up comedy.
“I have a list on my phone that I’ve been keeping since 2011 of just funny things that my friends say,” Vine said. “So I’ll just work those in the lyrics when I can. Like my friend helped me meet a girl by saying, ‘Have you met my dark white friend?’ And that’s where I got that lyric for a song.”
She said I look mixed.— Bryce Vine (@brycevine) May 22, 2014
I said I'm dark white#TakeMeHome
Vine’s remix of “Drew Barrymore” with Wale directly references the title actress and her many projects, from the Netflix show Santa Clarita Diet to her rom-com 50 First Dates with Adam Sandler. “I kind of just use her as an example of what I was looking for in a girl,” Vine says of his inspiration. “It wasn’t necessarily her, even though she is iconic and I mean she’s kind of Hollywood royalty at this point, you know? So she’s a good example to use. Her name stands with Audrey Hepburn and stuff like that. But my song was about a girl like that -- like she’s kind of cool, she’s kind of sweet, she’s cute, she’s got her own thing, funny. That’s what I like.”
Working with Wale on the new version trickled down to just one day at the music video shoot. “We shot in one day in Burbank while I was on tour,” he said. “And he shows up and my mom’s at the shoot too. ... I walk up, I introduce myself, I’m like, ‘What’s up, man? How're you doing?’ And my mom walks up and she goes, ‘Hi, are you Wally?’" Vine laughed at his mom's mispronunciation of the rapper's name. "I’m like, ‘Mom! No! No! You can’t do that.’ Ugh, yeah, but he was the man. ... He’s like, ‘Yo, you know what? I have this idea. You and me are like the new Martin Lawrence and Will Smith.’ I’m like, ‘I’ll take that, Wale! Yeah cool, bro!’ He’s so dope.”
Another Vine favorite is MAX, with whom he’s going on tour starting October 30 in Minneapolis. “That’s my boy,” Vine says of his fellow Sound Drop artist. “That’s actually kind of how this came about in the end, the Pepsi Sound Drop thing, because he had done it two years ago prior. And we write together all the time now.”
As he prepares to tour with MAX, Vine is also planning to release his Carnival album around January. “It’s kind of like how my brain works: It’s colorful, it’s loud, there’s a lot of different sounds,” he said. “It’s kind of like the soundtrack for my own life, but I want it to be the soundtrack for everyone else.”
When Billboard mentioned that his album’s vibe sounds reminiscent of Kyle’s latest Light of Mine collection, he recalled touring with the “iSpy” artist a couple of years ago. “I toured with Kyle, gnash, Hoodie Allen all on one tour. And then I saw gnash have a hit, I was like, ‘This is cool.’ And then I saw Kyle have a hit, I’m like, ‘This is cool. I guess that means I’m next, hopefully.’”
Part of what’s worked for Vine is his intimate fan engagement. “I repost fans whenever they tag me and my music’s playing -- and this kid was driving a 1965 red beautiful Mustang,” he said. “And it’s my dream car ever since I was a kid; I loved classic cars. I asked him about it and I was like, ‘Wow, man.’ And he was like, ‘It’s my dad’s, we’re trying to sell it.’” A brief Direct Message exchange between the fan and the singer turned into an in-person negotiation after Vine and his DJ took a 45-minute Uber from San Francisco -- where he had a show at YouTube that day -- to the San Jose residence where the classic car lived. Vine left with the car.
So a fan tagged me in his story the other day...he was driving his dads red 1965 #Mustang and playing my music. He told me the history of how his dad built it with his brother and best friends basically from scratch. Today i bought that car -- cheers @theonlywepod i promise to treat it with care & write many songs lounging in the backseat --
Vine still reposts “Drew Barrymore” covers daily on his Instagram story and shows them off to the world. “Kids studying in school, dudes fishing in the middle of Arkansas, this guy with grills on singing ’40 ounces and a pack of ranch sunflower seeds,’” he says. “I’m like, ‘Man, there’s not one type of person that the music misses.’”