Liz Vice and her musical journey

Published 2:20 pm Friday, September 7, 2018

Despite the weather proving to be an almost constant challenge this year, every Levitt AMP Middlesboro show goes off without a hitch.

This week, soul, R&B, and gospel singer Liz Vice was the guest of honor.

Vice spoke to the Daily News about her journey to the stage, and her perspective can be considered somewhat atypical compared to other musicians.

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Vice spoke over the phone, walking home on the streets of Brooklyn, New York when she laid out her path up to this point in time. She stated that being a singer/musician was something she did not want to do. She grew up in a musical household, but the path her parents took was not the one she envisioned for herself.

Vice’s real passion was for film. She wanted to tell stories that moved her and moved other people. She worked behind the camera in Portland, Oregon for a handful of years.

In 2010, Vice attended a new church were the gospel singing struck a deep chord with her.

“The worship music was so incredible it just caught my attention. I felt this urge to sing background vocals at the church. But, I hated singing in front of people. I didn’t like singing in front of people at all nor did I think I was a singer. I just loved harmonizing, and I just love music,” she said.

Despite her dislike of singing in front of an audience, the love for the music itself kept her on the stage singing two nights a week at the church.

One night a friend of Vice’s asked her to sing lead vocals on a song, and her talent took many people by surprise. Before she knew it, Vice was invited to lend her voice to vocals on records and other gigs.

All the while, Vice was continually asked about pursuing a solo career, to which she was reticent towards.

“It was too vulnerable. I didn’t want people staring at me or watching me and to be honest, when you do something like that in a leadership role, it kind of separates you from the rest of the congregation,” said Vice.

Vice was given the opportunity by her church pastor to make a solo record. After some self-deliberation, she recorded the album.

“The whole time in the studio I thought I was going to be found out; that I was a poser — that I didn’t know what I was doing. It’s just something that I loved,” she said.

Vice then performed a live show in Portland and from there her musical journey took off with interviews from local newspapers, an interview with NPR and general buzz for her music.

Over time, Vice landed opening gigs for prominent artists as well as the Portland Blues Festival — which she stated is a huge event for the city.

Vice has been writing and performing music since.

To this day, Vice views her musical career with a sense of responsibility with a pure love for the music and not something she is pursuing for notoriety. Her outlook on her career is ever evolving. She has had a tumultuous time with keeping a consistent band with her, and with people in the industry being callous and insulting about her knowledge of the craft and business.

“I have to be protective of this gift. I have to be protective and would be held accountable for how this music is used,” she said.

Vice also struggles with severe performance anxiety, but it all goes away when she’s on stage sharing her music with the audience.