Singer Bryce Drew poses for the cover art of her new single "21." (Photo courtesy of Bryce Drew)
Mission Viejo High School

Singer-songwriter Bryce Drew grapples with love and expectations on new song ’21’

As a songwriter, L.A.-based Bryce Drew is constantly capturing her life’s moments and weaving them into carefully told stories. Her new single “21” narrates one of the less glamorous moments, a realization that her personal life expectations had not been met.

Her parents met at the age of 21 and her favorite artists found love at 21, so the number lingered in her mind as she navigated young adulthood, she said in a press release. The song was written on a night where her friends were all out on dates and wrestles with the idea that she had not yet felt the love she was seeking by 21 years old.

Despite the struggles portrayed in the lyrics, “21” sounds optimistic as Drew’s crisp vocals are supplemented by a warm, syncopated acoustic guitar melody, subtly influenced by her Caribbean background.

The song not only allowed Drew to express her frustrations, but it also helped introduce her work to acclaimed producer Greg Wells, her main collaborator on her upcoming EP. They met on a writing trip in L.A. in 2018 and “21” was the first song she played him.

“Before I started working with him, I was writing songs every day just to write… Once I met him, it changed so that every time I sat down I was thinking whatever I’m writing is for my record. It made me center in my identity, what I want to say, and what feels sonically unique,” she said about how Wells has influenced her creative process.

The more the songwriter collaborates with other artists, her confidence grows accordingly.

“I know that I write really rhythmic and melodic guitar parts, so when I hear that in a song with someone I’m working with, it allows me to identify what I do,” she said.

Although “21” is only her second release, many of Drew’s fans have already been able to connect with her through YouTube and live performances.

Now 24 years old, she began covering songs on YouTube at age 16 and met other songwriters on the platform. Soon enough, she flew from her hometown of Miami to London to open for Lauren Aquilina, an artist she said she developed a bond with online.

Seeing Aquilina cultivate and perform for her fan base inspired Drew to seriously pursue her own career in music. She went to Belmont University in Nashville for songwriting where she learned to write with other artists.

Now that Drew is beginning her professional career, her YouTube covers have been deleted — except for one. A cover of Ray LaMontagne’s “Let It Be Me” still remains online.

“I feel like this is a song that has influenced my artistry. I had a lot of people saying that they played it at their wedding and that nobody can cover Ray like I can. Over the years it’s gotten a response and it didn’t feel right to take that away from people,” she said.

Drew has made the transition from cover artist to original singer-songwriter as her debut EP is set to release in June. “21” is now available for streaming.