He was born in New York and went to school in Boston, but Bryce Vine’s home is Los Angeles. He grew up in LA and lives there now, and when he started working on new music last year, he realized that there hadn’t been a great Golden State anthem in awhile, maybe since Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Californication” in 2000 or even Tupac’s “California Love” in 1995.
So he decided to fix that with the YG-featuring “La La Land,” which is now a top 20 hit on our Pop Songs and Rhythmic Songs airplay charts and is currently on the Billboard Hot 100. “We were just sitting there one day like a year ago in the summer like this, just writing about LA lifestyle in kind of a satirical way, and one thing led to another and it kind of became an anthem,” Vine tells Billboard‘s Pop Shop Podcast (listen to the full interview below). “People come here because it’s glamorous and full of beautiful people pretending to do things sometimes that they’re not really doing. And it’s like there’s nowhere else that’s quite like LA, so it needed a new anthem.”
Even though Vine was writing satirically about his hometown, he has nothing but love for the City of Angels. “I remember seeing G-Eazy play The Roxy like five years ago and it was the first show he sold out,” he says. “This is the place that you get to watch history happen for entertainment, you know? Like in the ’20s it was Paris for writers, and now it’s Los Angeles for 2019.”
Once Vine had the “La La Land” idea nailed down, he still needed a little something extra for the song. “Me and my buddy wrote it on guitar at his house in like two hours, but the song was really short,” Vine recalls. “It was like two minutes and 12 seconds, which we were thinking, ‘It’s just too short,’ but we liked the song so we added drums. … We knew that we wanted someone to hype it up a bit, and we were like, ‘Well, this is a song about California; we should probably get somebody from California to feature on it.’ And the first person we thought of, we were just kind of joking, but kind of serious, was YG.”
Next up for Vine is his debut full-length project, Carnival, coming out Friday. So far, we’ve heard “La La Land” and the singer/songwriter’s breakthrough single “Drew Barrymore,” and he says the two songs are a pretty good taste of the vibe of the project, “but it’s even a little more all over the place.”
Vine is happy to be making music when fans are hungry for all different genres and not just “rock fans” or “pop fans,” and that’s it. “It’s reaching the golden age of music in a way, because we went through an era where it was all four-to-the-floor stuff for a little while, and then it was all trap for a second — everything was trapped,” he quips. “And now there’s everything, and I listen to [the] New Music Friday on Spotify, and there’s no correlation between all the songs. It’s just: Are they good or not?”
There are nine tracks on Carnival, but one isn’t a song. Rather, it’s a voicemail message from “somebody — you have to figure out who it is,” Vine teases. “It’s a very prominent person.”
There is one Carnival song in particular that Vine is particularly excited about playing live once he starts rolling out the new material on the road, likely starting with his date this weekend at LA’s Fonda Theatre (find all Bryce’s tour dates here). “The song called ‘Classic and Perfect’ I think is pretty groovy,” he says. “It’s probably the smoothest song I’ve ever made.”
Mostly, he’s just happy to tell his story via songwriting — which is something he started doing when he was just 13 years old, but now there’s a fanbase waiting to hear it. “They always say saying things out loud makes you feel better, and music was therapy when I was growing up so I just started writing my own,” he says. “So I just always talked about things that I was going through at the time and it made me feel better. And I didn’t realize that was going to start making other people feel better, but that’s the feedback I get from fans more than anything, is that my songs make them feel better about what they’re going through. But I remember that feeling, so it’s big, that’s like a big win.”
Also on the podcast, we talk about Lil Nas X’s record-tying 16-week run atop the Billboard Hot 100 with “Old Town Road,” featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, thanks in part to a new remix and music video with Young Thug and Mason Ramsey. Plus, Ed Sheeran’s No.6 Collaborations Project debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
The Billboard Pop Shop Podcast is your one-stop shop for all things pop on Billboard‘s weekly charts. You can always count on a lively discussion about the latest pop news, fun chart stats and stories, new music, and guest interviews with music stars and folks from the world of pop. Casual pop fans and chart junkies can hear Billboard‘s senior director of charts Keith Caulfield and deputy editor, digital Katie Atkinson every week on the podcast, which can be streamed on Billboard.com or downloaded in Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast provider. (Click here to listen to the previous edition of the show on Billboard.com.)