Singer-Songwriter Megan Vice – Bringing the Glamour, Grit, Pop & Funk
Megan Vice is a New York-raised singer-songwriter with a signature style inspired by musical genres ranging from pop to glam rock, disco and funk. When I first heard Megan Vice on her track, “Nobody Freakin”, the sound transported me back in time to 1996 and the release of Spice Girls’ first album, “Spice”. (Thus, I was not surprised to see that Megan included the Spice Girls on her list of all-time favorite artists!)
“Spice” was the first CD I ever owned, and it brings up a musical memory of my impressionable 10-year-old self jumping up and down on my twin bed, singing breathlessly to sassy, sultry anthems like “Who Do You Think You Are” and “Love Thing”, the songs I played on repeat until the cd was hot to the touch. It’s crazy to admit it now, but undoubtedly the Spice Girls — pleather chaps, pigtails, poorly executed karate kicks and all — shaped my budding understanding of what being a female could feel like.
For me, Megan Vice is a throwback to that girl power vibe that the Spice Girls were known for. It is a pop culture musical archetype (e.g., Beyonce, Pink, Rihanna) with incredible staying power, a brand of commercial female fierceness the carries the same influence and audience today.
-Meredith Reed, Editor-in-Chief
Name: Megan Vice
Location: Brooklyn, NY
How would you describe your sound?
I would describe my sound as funky, sexy and fun.
What is a quote or piece of advice that you try to live by?
Don’t come for me unless I send for you.
How did you come up with your stage name?
Megan is my real first name and my full last name is Vicente, so I just sliced my last name in half to make ‘Vice’.
Biggest pet peeve:
When people don’t say ‘thank you’ after I open or hold the door for them. I’m like, ‘YOU’RE WELCOME, BITCH. WHO RAISED YOU?!’
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
I always knew that I wanted to sing and be a performer. My earliest musical memory is my mother singing to me as I was falling asleep as baby. I’m one of the small percentage of people who can remember things vividly from before the age of 3, so that’s my first musical memory.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
My favorite artists of all time are Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Prince, Lionel Richie, ZAPP, Morris Day and The Time, The Beatles, Phil Collins, Daft Punk, Pharrell, 50 Cent, Eminem, Craig David, The Spice Girls, Christina Aguilera (nothing past her Back to Basics record), and of course, the most perfect boy band to ever grace Earth, NSYNC.
My favorite artists of today include Drake, Robyn, Breakbot, Disclosure, Chromeo, Tame Impala, Sam Sparro, Frank Ocean, Miguel, Mayer Hawthorne, St. Vincent, BANKS, Oliver, Childish Gambino, Maggie Rogers, MNEK, Dabeull, The Weeknd, etc.
Clearly I have very eclectic taste in music! I listen to and enjoy a wide range of musical styles and I always have.
What do you hope is the larger message of your music?
I hope that what listeners take away from my music is that we’re all going through it. We all deal with shitty relationships. We can all feel insecure and like a queen simultaneously, and it’s ok to be who you are.
Could you describe your music-making process?
I collaborate with different co-writers on my songs — sometimes I work alone, but it is usually a collaborative effort. I mostly write top lines (the melody, lyrics and harmonies for the vocals). The production team will send a track to me and then I’ll vibe out and start humming different melodies over it to see what works.
Once I’ve found a melody and flow that I like, then I figure out lyrics to fit in the pocket of what I’ve just come up with. Sometimes you just spit out a random phrase while figuring out a melody, and you’re like, ‘Wait – that’s kinda fire…I’m gonna build off that!’
On occasion, I will collaborate on the creation of the instrumental music production as well. I did this on my new song, “Nobody Freakin” with my production and writing collaborator, Kyle Kelso. I explained the vibe I was trying to go for — the tempo, specific synths, the slap bass — and we worked out the instrumental bass line together.
How has your music evolved since you first started?
I’ve definitely become much more confident and have fully developed my sound and style. When I first started writing and performing my own music, I was kind of all over the place style-wise. I wasn’t working with the right producers and I was listening to what other people were telling me I *should* be doing. I was not being the true, full version of myself that I am today.
What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?
I’m usually thinking one of two things while I’m driving alone in my car. One is pretty dark. I think about my own mortality and how I could just die at any moment — how anything could happen. Otherwise I’m probably thinking about a creative project and how to make it poppin’.
What’s your favorite 90s jam?
There are honestly too many to name, but one of my favorites is “Be My Lover” by La Bouche.
What were you like in high school?
Oh noooo! First off, I had a horrible sense of fashion, I liked to switch up my look — everything from wearing suspenders to chopping off all of my hair! (I still switch up my look a lot, but back in high school I tried all of the worst possible ones!) I guess I was trying to figure out my own personal style.
I grew up on Long Island, so we wore a lot of Juicy Couture tracksuits and rhinestones. Fashion was centered around really tight clothing, leggings with Ugg boots, Tiffany & Co heart necklaces, tons of eyeliner and lip gloss, pin-straight hair, french manicured nails…it’s completely nauseating to think about.
I was also kind of a party/stoner kid in high school, so I didn’t really take life seriously. I didn’t care much about world events and I didn’t value my education. I would ditch class and smoke a lot of pot (which I don’t do much anymore because it fucks with my singing voice).
I was very insecure and angry all the time. I wouldn’t say I’m completely insecurity-free now, but as I have grown, my insecurities have changed and overall, I am way more confident with who I am. I respect myself and focus on important things. I take a genuine interest in what’s happening around me and in the world as a whole. I take my life seriously now.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to relax! I’m a lady of leisure, so I enjoy doing anything that involves self-care — lounging, meditating, face masks, spa time, watching garbage reality TV, or hanging with my girls. I believe that girl time is so important! I’m also into things like tarot, astrology and numerology.
How do you fund your musical career?
I have a part-time day job. I also write for other artists and do some freelance modeling and other side gigs.
If you could collaborate with any other musician(s), who would you choose?
Pharrell, Breakbot, Lionel Richie, Drake or Disclosure. I think that Pharrell, Breakbot, and Lionel understand the funk, the disco, the groove and the vibe, and I think we’d create some pretty amazing stuff together. Drake is bae and I fuck with literally everything he does. As far as Disclosure, I just really love their style and think they’d be a good fit for my voice and lyrics.
Tell us about one of your favorite performances
My best and favorite performance so far was performing with The Knocks at their sold-out show at Terminal 5 in NYC. It was a wild thing to perform in front of so many people at a venue like Terminal 5 that I’ve been to countless times to see my favorite artists perform.
Do you get nervous before you perform in front of crowds? How do you prepare for it?
I always get nervous before I perform, but it’s more of an excited nervous. I try to meditate for at least a half hour before a show, pick out a fire look, and warm up my voice.
Do you experience any gender discrimination working in the music industry? How do you deal with it?
All of the time. As a woman working in a male-dominated industry, I have run up against a lot of dudes that I’ve been interested in collaborating with, and they will seem genuinely interested in working with me — until eventually it becomes clear that they were only really interested in the prospect of having sex with me.
I also deal with a lot of mansplaining. Some men act as though I should feel lucky to even be in their presence and they totally ignore my suggestions and ideas. I’ve noticed that a lot of men do not give women the same opportunity to speak or they feel entitled to talk to me in a way that they wouldn’t speak to a man. Don’t get me wrong — not all men in the entertainment industry are like this. I work with plenty of guys that are wonderful humans. I just know firsthand that more often than not, this is the type of shit that we deal with as women who are trying to make a name for ourselves in a male-dominated field.
I deal with this type of stuff by refusing to work with the men who treat me in a patronizing, condescending or sexualized way. I don’t care if it might be beneficial to my career to be fake and act nice or whatever the case may be, because I DO. NOT. HAVE. THE. TIME. Even if cutting guys like that off is not a smart career move on my end, and even if it makes my journey harder, I really just don’t fucking care. I still won’t do it.
I will block anyone who treats me like a piece of ass who has nothing substantial to offer while we’re in a professional setting. Life is too short. It’s amazing how quickly a lot of these male producers, DJs and musicians will belittle a woman’s craft and chalk her up to nothing but a pretty face who won’t make anything of herself without their help the second that we *dare* to turn down their sexual advances or pass up an their offer to collaborate on a track.
What are 10 pieces of advice you would give to a woman in music who is just starting out?
- Hone in on your craft. Make sure that you really love what you’re creating, and that it represents who you are.
- Get some cool photos taken of yourself
- Be active on social media
- Study your favorite artists and read up on how they got to where they are now for inspiration
- Get out there and network. Talk to everyone.
- Collaborate with as many (good) creative people as you can. It could be anything from writing sessions, modeling for your photographer friends or styling fashion shoots. Working with as many creative people as possible in a variety of different fields will get you more connected to your goal.
- Record some cool cover songs, but make them different and unique. Only cover a song if you can really switch it up and make it your own.
- Don’t give up when shit gets hard, because it will get hard. So fucking hard. Trying to make it in the music industry will probably be the hardest thing you ever do — especially living in a place like NYC, which is so insanely expensive. Sometimes you’ll sit in your car and sob while Frank Ocean’s “Self Control” plays softly in the background and that’s okay. Let it out, but just keep going. Nothing in the world beats persistence.
- Learn the business side of the music industry.
- Get yourself a good manager and publicist
Are there any new/exciting projects you are currently working on?
Yes! I’ll have a new EP out soon. I’m also putting together a video shoot for my next single and performing live with my band!
The Megan Vice profile is part of Steereo‘s Emerging Artists Series in collaboration with Like a Boss Girls.
Featured photo: Mike Ruiz