As a producer, Bryce Wilson has worked with some of our generations best entertainers including Beyoncè Knowles, Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton, and Whitney Houston. His production sales have exceeded 50 million and earned him two Grammy Awards. As an actor, Bryce appeared in nearly a dozen films like Beauty Shop, Trois, and most recently, Guilty by Association. It’s obvious that there is nothing that Bryce can’t achieve. Although Bryce admits he has nothing to prove, he says that he does what he does because thats what he likes to do; not because he has to. In speaking with us, Bryce explains his further plans with music, his association with Jimmy Henchman and Czar Entertainment, and why hes chosen to stay low-key within the industry.
AHHA: A lot of people know you from the group Groove Theory and arent necessarily familiar your background as an actor, rapper, etc. What happened to Groove Theory?
Bryce Wilson: Me and Amel Larrieux began not to see eye-to-eye. When youre in it, you dont understand what you have, so you dont fight to protect it and fight to keep it. I think that Amel had her views of what she wanted, and I was like I started this. I had produced a lot of things. It just got to the point when she wanted to go her way and I wanted her to go; it wasnt working anymore. The only real crime wasnt giving people what they wanted. We were selfish by only looking at our issues without understanding that her words changed lives and my music I brought to it helped open up their ears to her words. That was our biggest crime.
AHHA: Do you all still have a good relationship with her [Amel]?
Bryce Wilson: Yes, were cool. I see her husband all the time, and I speak to her all the time. Weve been speaking about doing another album for a long time, but I dont know about that. It’s not that I dont want to, its just that its been dragged on Groove Theory is practically forgotten about. Thats our fault. Its like, do we give the people what they want to hear or do we go down with the Roots and Lauryn Hill? We didnt make a big enough statement, which is out fault. At the end of the day, Ill put up a mallet against any one of these singers or producers because I have nothing to prove. Ive already proven myself as a producer. Im only producing now because I like it. We were so ahead of our time then, even a head of albums now.
AHHA: Definitely. Personally, I believe that Groove Theory set the tone for the “Neo-Soul” genre way before people began labeling it.
Bryce Wilson: I agree. I think neo-soul went terribly wrong. Its not genuine. Its really arrogant. Neo-soul reminds me of jazz from back in the day. It was a great art form, but arrogant. Neo-soul is the same way. Its gotten to be a Look at me” type of thing. I dont like the fact that they steal things from other types of music, and then say they went through the struggle for Hip-Hop. Its like Hip-Hop is more than our saving grace more than anything. Dont ignore Hip-Hop because you think youre above it. I just dont like it. Groove Theory was none of that. We had Hip-Hop throughout our album. Spoken word gets on my nerves because its too much its so arrogant. I love Musiq Soulchild though.
AHHA: So you think some neo-soul artists have an uppity attitude?
Bryce Wilson: Yeah, theyre like, “I take a stand,” but two months you see one of them on a Wal-Mart commercial. It’s like, “Where did that come from?” You want to diss mainstream culture, but now youre their little horror.
AHHA: Will we ever see you emerge as a solo artist?
Bryce Wilson: Im thinking about doing a compilation album with people Ive worked with as in Mary we have unfinished business. Kind of like Groove Theory except for whatever theyre known for and just to take them far left. I took six years off from the studio. I did a couple of Beyoncè and Amerie records, so I wasnt hurting for money. There are so many people who are talented, but just do what they want to do and dont care.
AHHA: Do you still host the show Weekend Vibe?
Bryce Wilson: No.
AHHA: How did you end up scoring that job?
Bryce Wilson: I did that to help me act. It was like if I got used to the camera then I could act. It was all planned.
AHHA: Out of all the career paths youve gone down, which one do you gravitate toward the most?
Bryce Wilson: I would say acting. Ive enjoyed it the most. I have to be creative. I like marketing and branding too, because its a good way to create, especially with the new technologies.
AHHA: Tell me about the new movie youre in, The System Within.
Bryce Wilson: Its a good independent film with a new cast with relatively new actors. A lot of the actors brought a lot of really good energy to it. They had a lot of passion about what it is that they do. The vibe on the set was really good, which is great. Sometimes on the set of small independent film sets, that doesnt always happen.
AHHA: Chingy is in the movie as well correct?
Bryce Wilson: Yes, he is.
AHHA: What was it like for you to work with him? Were your characters side by side throughout the film?
Bryce Wilson: No, were not side by side. Actually, were on opposing sides. Yet, we were both bad guys its all good.
AHHA: What do you think about rappers transitioning into the acting world?
Bryce Wilson: I think its a good thing, but I think that they just have to remember that music is filled with ego, and acting is egoless. You cant just come in there with that state of mind. You have to be prepared to do whatever it takes. I also think its a good thing that rappers know how to navigate their career and learn how to self-promote. There is a certain drive that you have to have, especially to even have your music heard in the first place. I definitely think that Hollywood should show some type of discretion to keep the craft as being what it is, instead of just attaching names to something to sell.
AHHA: You are one of the co-founders of Czar Entertainment. How do you actively participate in the company?
Bryce Wilson: [Jimmy “Henchman” Rosemond] built the company while we were kind of at a fork in the road. I went onto film school. I moved out to L.A. and learned how to act. At the time, I was kind of frustrated with music and its state of being. He was really into getting Czar started. He started and built the company. Then about a year later, the company was doing really well, so I came back to do my job. Thats when I came in and started to bring in different types of deals to the table. First, I started with the DJ squad that we have. I brought Brandy in for a while. I brought in some movie deals for Game, and things like that. Like I dont have to be there do to the day-to-day things, because Ive been in this business long enough where I have an understanding of it. I have an understanding of marketing and branding. People dont understand what true marketing and true brand services are. Needless to say, it all comes into play and its fun.
AHHA: How are you and Jimmy acquainted?
Bryce Wilson: Jimmy and I started out together from the very beginning from when I had Groove Theory which was a project that I was funding out of my own pocket before we got the deal. We became really cool; we had a common ground that we understood, and you dont see that a lot of times. I dont really want to call it a crew, but there is no other way to describe it. I liked his code of ethics and things like that. You know when my money got low with Groove Theory, he picked it up and helped motivate me to keep going.
AHHA: How do you feel about the allegations with Tony Yayo and Jimmys son?
Bryce: I think that its really foul. I think that its the perversion of where music is right now. There arent any boundaries to how far someone will go to stop someone else. There should have been some ego sat aside to stop that from happening. The boss of that camp should have stopped that. It should have never happened. I dont think any self-respected man would agree with that. It has nothing to do with music except that music has corrupted their mind, and that theyre above all and youre not. This music – this is a business. We need to keep it as such.
AHHA: Youve produced millions of records, and yet youre still low-key. Is that by choice?
Bryce: I think that if I would have stayed in music, it would have made me so closed- minded about a lot of things, so its helped shape my values into better places. Instead of being just an urban producer, Id rather have a career like Rick Rubin. I want to have a rich career; I want to be consistent. I want to remain relevant to the culture. A lot of people in the industry are following the trend instead of being sincere. Ten years ago, nobody wanted to go to Africa; but now, everybody is following the white actors. Rappers werent going over to Africa before, but they went after they saw white actors go. Its nothing wrong with educating, but dont pretend like you care.
AHHA: Well recently in the news I read that Nelly was going to be doing work over in South Africa with his energy drink, his clothing line, and to do another version of Pimp My Ride.
Bryce: Thats fine. I can respect that if someone chooses to go over there for business and education, but when you want to act like you care
AHHA: So youre not stating anyone in particular then?
Bryce: Yeah, you get it now? Thats some bullsh*t.
AHHA: Are you maybe referring to Jay-Z going over to African countries regarding the water crisis? Bryce: [sighs] Man I aint saying no names, but it becomes a cliché or a fad to me. Well never know whats in another persons heart, but it just seems trendy.
AHHA: As a producer, have you ever sold a track to someone and didnt really care for the content of the song?
Bryce Wilson: Yes, it just happened recently. Within the past six years that has happened too a lot. I regret not actually producing and monitoring the records to see what the initial content consisted of.
AHHA: If you could do it all over again, would you be more hesitant, and try to evaluate what youre contributing to what someone else chooses to put on what youve created?
Bryce Wilson: Yes, definitely.