At Cornerstone, Bryce Vine expresses identity through music, builds friendship with fans

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LA-based rapper Bryce Vine embodies an amalgam of different backgrounds, ethnicities and sounds. In spite of this, or perhaps because of it, he manages to bring people together into one connected group through the bonding power of music. Vine’s work aims to speak to all the different aspects that make him who he is.

“I don’t have to fit any box. I was never an obvious stereotype. I just sing from that perspective as a human of the world,” Vine said in an interview with The Daily Californian.

Vine’s music career took off with his 2017 track “Drew Barrymore.” From there, he rose in popularity and is now signed to record label Sire Records. Vine’s work generally focuses on sultry hip-hop sounds and songs that bring in all the different components that make him so unique.

Vine explained that he performs comfortably because of the strong familial bond he feels with his fans. “Being in a room with people that feel like my friends, the energy at every single show has just been amazing,” Vine said. “(The fans) clearly feel comfortable in front of me to dance and sing and scream at the top of their lungs and relieve whatever stresses they’re going through in their own (lives).”

The tenacious artist has an implicit dedication to only produce content of which he feels he can be proud. “Fans can just keep expecting me to try to write good songs. Songs that evoke your intelligence, that like mean something — at least a little bit. I enjoy what I do, and it’s really hard for me to settle if a song’s not right. By the time people hear it, it’s usually because I’ve thought on it in my own brain and with other people to make sure that it’s what it needs to be before it gets to the fans.”

Vine’s commitment to his art form and his sense of closeness with fans were clearly seen at his recent performance at Berkeley’s Cornerstone on March 5. The appearance left a diverse group of fans in agreement: Bryce Vine is a fantastic performer and musician.

Throughout the show, Vine worked to interact with audience members — less than two minutes in, he had already taken a fan’s sunglasses and worn them onstage. He went on to pass the mic back and forth between fans, and not one audience member missed a single lyric when given the responsibility. This displayed Vine’s impassioned trust in the audience to both popularize and inspire his future musical career.

The audience reciprocated Vine’s openness with enthusiasm. While most fans arrived about 8:30 p.m., Vine didn’t actually perform until 10 p.m. For many artists, fans might have grown tired and impatient. But Vine’s fans clearly felt a similar bond of friendship and welcomed him with open, swaying arms and dozens of smiling faces.

While the audience was enveloped in enthusiasm, the stage was covered with color; brightness exuded by not only the disco ball and flashing lights that Cornerstone shows are known for, but also by the bold fashion statement worn by Vine. Clad in a jean shirt with rainbow embroidering and a bright red collar underneath, Vine’s sense of style was both fun and streetwear classic, matching the casual upbeat tone of his songs.

At the end of the show, Vine left with one plucky statement, “I cannot wait to come back here.” And what does Vine’s future hold in store? When asked, there wasn’t much he could say; it’s unexpected yet highly anticipated: “I just keep trying to reinvent the wheel. I think that maybe there are just a lot of nice people in the world that there’s no voice for. I don’t know how many artists talk about just having a normal life and just trying to work things out.”

Despite the fact that fans cannot pinpoint exactly what direction Vine’s music will move to next, it’s clear that he will receive unwavering affection and support from the new “friends” he made at his sold-out Cornerstone performance.

Contact Samantha Banchik at [email protected].