We pick the hottest new live acts so you can tell your friends you heard them first. Meet LA singer-songwriter Wallice
With only three singles under her belt, Los Angeles singer-songwriter Wallice is turning all the right heads in her direction.
She started writing songs in middle school, contemplating secret crushes over instruments she learned to play in her school band and taking inspiration from the catalogue’s of everyone from Weezer to Lana Del Rey, The Drums and Vampire Weekend.
It is that warm mix of modern bedroom pop charm, sweet nostalgia, and a sharpened indie-rock edge – layered with unapologetic, funny, and often self-deprecating lyrics – that makes Wallice so hard to ignore.
Her musical drive led Wallice to the New School’s Jazz Vocal Performance program in New York City, but after a year she headed home to California ready to work on her own music. It was here that she linked back up with her childhood friend Marinelli, finding her own voice and style along the way.
Wallice’s first two singles – her debut ‘Punching Bag’ and its tongue-in-cheek follow up ’23’ – gained immediate praise from music industry and tastemakers including Zane Lowe, BBC Radio 1, 6Music, Spotify
Now she’s released her fiery third single, the self-described revenge anthem about the perils of modern dating and questionable friendships, ‘Hey Michael’.
“[It’s] for anyone who has encountered a gaslighting, manipulative person. It’s what I wish I would have said to all the ‘Michael’s’ I have met in my life…Sometimes it’s embarrassing to admit just how bad a friend, date, or romantic partner was and a lot of the time, I would just smile and laugh off stupid remarks but when I think back, I wish I had told them off. But…the whole song is funny because I am so focused on how shitty Michael is that I don’t even think about how shitty I might be as well,” Wallice explains of her latest tune.
Before her debut EP Off The Rails drops this June, we sat down with Wallice to get to know her better.
Check out ‘Hey Michael’ by Wallice:
The Wallice Story
From the beginning
Wallice: “I started writing music when I was 12. I sang about the boy who didn’t like me back in middle school. I started making music I was really proud of when I reconnected with my friend Marinelli who I met in middle school. He still produces all of my music. It’s only this last year that I found a ‘sound’ that I 100% connect with – it only took five years of working with Marinelli.”
What you’ll hear
“If we limit the description to just genre, it would best be described as Indie Rock. I would say it’s deceivingly upbeat – the instrumental is usually rowdy and fun, but the lyrics are often sad, sometimes self-deprecating, and a little sarcastic. I found this sound because I grew up listening to indie and alternative music. It’s just what I know best. Lyrically, I always love to throw in a couple of jokes.”
Influences & inspirations
“I grew up listening to Radiohead, Weezer, and in my early teen years, Lana Del Rey. I think you can find aspects of each of their influence in my music today. I also grew up with a very artistic mother who encouraged my creativity. She would paint on huge canvases and make pottery. I’m not so good at painting, but I do make pottery. I love whimsical, retro, and vintage art – because of that, I’m very hands-on with the visuals that pair with my music.”
Inside her new single ‘Hey Michael’
“I wrote this song with my creative partner/producer/best friend Marinelli back in November. It’s about the terrible men we encounter throughout life – on bad dates, or at parties, or just as friends. It was so fun writing this with Marinelli because he played on his worst characteristics, and I recalled the worst people I’ve met. We had a lot of fun with it, trying to sneak in a bunch of blatantly terrible stereotypes. I love the way it turned out.”
“Every day I can’t believe the reaction that my music has had so far! There is so much exciting news all the time. This music is something I’m super proud of, and I’m thrilled that people are listening and relating. I feel like that’s easily the hardest part of making music, finding an audience that it resonates with. I get messages almost every day from people who randomly came across a song of mine and related to it so much that they felt compelled to message me. That’s so cool because I’ve done the same to so many artists that I’ve been a fan of.”
On finding a creative outlet
“I grew up with my mom’s kiln in the garage, but fell out of the hobby a while back. Coincidentally right before the pandemic started, I started getting into it again. It’s been the perfect outlet and way for me to spend my free time. I definitely have too many hobbies, I just love arts and crafts so much. I recently made a couple of hand punched rugs and I sewed a couple of shirts, so my craft bin is currently bursting at the seams. But it is so important for me to create something every day.”
For the love of music
“I usually make music with my friends, and that’s my favourite part – collaborating. It feels like hanging out, but ends up being productive (sometimes). It’s also such a great creative and emotional outlet. When I’m feeling sad, or just emotional, I can make a song about it and feel better right away.”
“Hitting one million streams on my first song in less than six months after its release. It was the only song I had released, and it found an audience and got playlisting early on. I’m really proud that it happened completely independently. I don’t have a major label backing me, and we recorded that song in my friend’s childhood bedroom. I know in the grand scheme of things a million may not be that many streams, but it feels big to me. I’ve also been able to work with some of my favourite magazines and publications that I’ve always dreamed about being in.”
Overcoming struggle town
“I think it’s been a matter of persistence and continuing to make music, even though sometimes people weren’t listening. I had some earlier music with a much different sound, and it didn’t have much of an audience at the time. It was discouraging, but I kept making new music and writing, and finally it’s starting to resonate with people.”
The year ahead
“Right now I’m putting out singles leading up to my debut EP Off the Rails which is out in early [US] summer! Next week, I start writing for a second EP which I’m excited about because we’re starting from scratch. So who knows what direction that project will go!”
Wallice – 23
“The second verse is true. I dropped out of jazz college and my dad was not happy about that AT ALL.”
Wallice – Hey Michael
“Michael started as a general name, but then I realised there is a specific Michael I know with a Mad Men tattoo. He was not the greatest.”
Wallice – Punching Bag
“When I wrote the line “left my Hydroflask in the back of your car” I didn’t even own one– but I bought one a couple weeks after we finished the song.”
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