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17 Apr 2018

Beyond Being Lee's Brother: Lewis Brice, a Late Stagecoach Addition, Makes His Own Style of Country Music

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Lewis Brice. Lewis Brice.

If you’ve never heard of Lewis Brice, stop what you’re doing, and check out this new country-music artist.

Brice—he’s Lee Brice’s brother—not long ago left South Carolina for Nashville, and he’s determined to make a name for himself in country music. He will be at Stagecoach on the new SiriusXM Spotlight Stage on Sunday, April 29.

During a recent phone interview, we discussed his music video for “Best Ex Ever,” which may be a first in country music: It’s a song actually praising an ex-girlfriend.

“When I was writing that song, I thought, ‘I have a few exes, and they don’t hate me,’” Brice said. “I told this one story that’s half true where I got into a sticky situation and had one phone call on a pay phone to use, and I remembered my ex-girlfriend from a couple of years before—and she picked up a collect phone call from Lewis Brice. That got me out of my sticky situation, so I wrote a song about it.

“The video was so fun to make. It was my first video where I got to be the actor. We shot it right in Nashville, where a lot of our friends ride by. I was all done up in makeup like I was beat up, so a lot of my friends were stopping in the middle of the shoot, asking me, ‘You OK, man?’ and I was like, ‘Can’t you see I’m shooting a video? Don’t you see all the cameras?’ It was a fun day. I did all my own stunts and had the bottle broken over my head and all that.”

Growing up in a musical family in South Carolina, Brice sang religious music during his upbringing.

“I have my own beliefs, and I think everybody has their own beliefs and whatnot, but when it comes to music, I think it’s a very broad form of having fun,” he said. “Whether it’s singing for religion or singing about the good times and the bad times you’ve been through, I think music is an all-around universal language. Just sing, and have fun.”

While country star Lee Brice—performing at Stagecoach on Sunday, April 29, on the Mane Stage—is his older brother, Lewis Brice is determined to make music his own way.

“When I moved to town, I had my whole life in the back of my truck,” he said. “I was a young kid, and my brother had been up here for a couple of years and had some success. When I pulled up, they were having a little party for me, and before I could get out of the truck, he came up and said, ‘Lewis, I love you, and you made a great decision by moving here, but you have to make your own way up here. I’ll help you in any way I can, but you have to take initiative and do it yourself.’ I thanked him for that. There are a lot of politics here, and people told me being the little brother would haunt me a little bit, but I think it drove me more. My brother is very hard-working, and I learned a lot from him, but he does things his own way, and I have my own way. I’m persistent, and I’ve been lucky with the relationships I’ve had in the business. Between networking and lucky passes, this music business can work out—it really can.”

Brice released his self-titled debut EP last year with six songs, and he said he’s preparing another one that should be out soon.

“I’ve got so many songs. When I play an original set, I can play up to two hours of my own music,” he said. “I really pride myself on that. I played a lot of cover songs, but I got to the point when I got here that I wondered how far I could get if I just sang other people’s songs. It’s worked out well, and I think I’m making that turn and learning a lot from it.”

Country music is one of the genres that continues to do well in the United States; Brice sees that as an opportunity.

“Country music is already a huge platform, and I see it going to an even bigger platform,” he said. “Right now, country music is very accepting to different types of music like pop, deep-rooted country and Southern rock, and I see it getting bigger, because the audiences are accepting country music. I turned on a pop station the other day and heard four country music songs from artists I normally hear on just country stations. That’s a great thing for a country artists when they cross over. I think it’ll just get bigger and bigger, with a broader audience.”

Brice was a late addition to Stagecoach.

“I’m so excited, and I love playing in California. The crowds out there are really awesome,” he said. “When I got the email a couple of weeks ago, I was like, ‘Stagecoach? Wow, that’s a pretty big deal!’ I’ve heard it’s a crazy festival, and I’m honored to be a part of it.”

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