“I want [my followers] to feel like they know me beyond the music,” singer-songwriter and actor Bryce Xavier told SoundExchange. “So when they’re listening to these songs, they kind of understand the perspective of what I might be talking about or where I’m coming from. It’s just being raw and vulnerable.”
Xavier shares glimpses of his life with his 3.3 million TikTok followers and nearly 600,000 Instagram followers, but he’s not one to overshare. He has no official website. Does he have siblings? Where’s he from? You’d only know his age by scrolling through photos on his Instagram, where this shirtless post announced his 21st birthday a day after Valentine’s Day this year. And on his LinkedIn profile, the sole entry for his work experience lists his management company and his position as “Singer Songwriter Influencer Actor Pasta Eater.”
Fans catch glimpses of his life through TikTok, the social platform he’s by far the most active on — everything from couples’ content with his boyfriend MJ and getting his hair done to opining on Black media, healing, and friendships.
Music doesn’t seem to be the focus of his online presence, although he said, “When I’m working on music, I’m also thinking about how I’m going to incorporate that music into my social media account.” He last promoted his latest single, “My Favorite Candy,” on its release date, June 1. Before that, it was “Bathroom Antics” on March 30. Yet, his Spotify 2022 Artist Wrapped shows a total of 2.4 million streams and 668,000 listeners in 178 countries. His most popular song, “Romeo,” has 3.7 million streams. Whatever his social strategy is, it’s working.
When he’s not making TikToks, the Los Angeles-based singer loves making music in his home studio with just his iPhone and a laptop. He wasn’t a complete novice to the music industry when he embarked on his musical journey.
“My mom’s been in the music industry since before I was born, so I kind of had that bit of perspective already going into the space,” Bryce said. “I did some research on other ways to basically monetize using social media, whether that was going to be music or any other goal or dream that I wanted to accomplish with having a big following on the platform.”
His catchy upbeat sound is quintessential pop and unapologetically queer. In “Forbidden to You,” he opens the track, by singing, “They told me in the Bible that I shouldn’t love a man. Guess that I messed up because I’ve done it yet again.”
The “Blue Valentines” singer uses his music and platforms to touch on topics important to the LGBTQIA+ community, and in doing so, he’s inspired teens and young adults looking for representation in music. His 2021 EP Beautifully Tragic told the story of a young man being raised by a single mother, chasing his dreams, falling in love, being his own hero by saving himself, being “19 in LA,” and finally, the beautifully tragic experience of having love then losing it.
“I love making music, I love writing songs, I love working at home and doing it all the time,” Xavier told SoundExchange. “I probably should take more risks, but I’m always thinking about the promotion strategies when I’m making a song. I try to separate that a little bit when I’m first putting those emotions up on paper, and I’m recording it because I don’t want to feel like I’m only putting out music that I feel like is going to do well. I want to put out music that I like and enjoy, and [that] I think my followers and fans would also care about too. So, I’m trying to make sure that I’m more authentic to that keeping the integrity of who I am as an artist.”
I probably should take more risks, but I’m always thinking about the promotion strategies when I’m making a song.”
Being vocal about his experiences as a Black queer singer has undoubtedly led to some of his partnerships with brands like NPR Podcasts, Pac Sun, and The Phoenix Brand, a sustainable street wear brand. And he doesn’t take it lightly. If he’s always thinking about social strategy and marketing, it makes sense that he’d also be intentional about his brand partnerships.
“We’re the ones that have to make these things sell,” he said about brand collaborations. “I also want to make sure that it feels authentic to my brand, my fans, and I’m not putting out something that’s just for that coin, you know? Just making sure that there’s the integrity there.”
I also want to make sure that it feels authentic to my brand, my fans, and I’m not putting out something that’s just for that coin, you know? Just making sure that there’s the integrity there.”
Another thing Xavier doesn’t shy away from is that going viral contributed to his success. He understands exactly the role it has played, but he’s wise enough to know viral moments are fleeting. It’s all about building community and authenticity. His advice to anyone looking to replicate his path to success?
“There might be a faster way to get to where you want to be, but if it is not the morally correct way of how you want to get there, it makes all the difference for your mental health,” he said. “It makes the difference for your work. Do not compromise that. Do not compromise who you are just for a quicker way to get there.”
And… “Do your research, read the contract. Get a lawyer, please.”
It makes the difference for your work. Do not compromise that. Do not compromise who you are just for a quicker way to get there.”