Los Angeles-based artist Wallice may be new in the music scene, but she has all the makings to become the next Ms. Big Shot.
Wallice, whose real name is Wallice Hana Watanabe, first burst into the music scene at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 when she released her debut single, “Punching Bag,” which landed her on Spotify’s Lorem playlist.
Soon after, the 25-year-old singer-songwriter continued to release one hit after another. She even went on to release her first EP in 2021, “Off The Rails,” which caught the attention of independent record label Dirty Hit Records (home to the likes of The 1975, No Rome, beabadoobee, and Rina Sawayama) and eventually landed her a deal.
Little did Wallice know, that was the beginning of her journey to stardom.
Following her signing to Dirty Hit Records, Wallice quickly ascended to success with her whimsical lyricism and songs that truly encapsulate life experiences that every Gen Z can relate to. The singer released her second EP, “90’s American Superstar,” with her third EP, “Mr. Big Shot,” slated to be released on June 23 this year.
Wallice had also gone on tour, opening for some of the rising artists as well. She brought her spunky charm in Australia and Asia as she opened for The 1975 for their “At Their Very Best” world tour.
More recently, Wallice performed in front of thousands of Filipinos when The 1975 brought their tour on May 3 and 4 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
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Wallice’s stage presence was like no other. Even though her time on stage was short, the singer-songwriter was able to own the stage and show off her musical prowess with back-to-back performances of her hit singles.
According to the “90’s American Superstar” hitmaker, those two nights—which was also her last time opening for the band—were the biggest shows she had been in.
Speaking to POP!, along with select members of the press, a few hours before the show, Wallice said: “I can’t believe I get to play and share my music all the way here. I think not many artists get to come here [in the Philippines] and play, especially for someone [a rising artist] like me.”
“I think this will be my biggest show ever. So, I’m very excited,” she added.
Before touring with The 1975, Wallice had the opportunity to hit the road with Chloe Moriondo, Still Woozy, and JAWNY. Back then, the biggest show she had was performing in front of 5,000 people. So, when the tour with the UK-based band began, she was shocked and nervous upon finding out that she would perform in front of 10,000 people.
“The first show on this tour was like 10,000, and like walking into the empty room with all the lights on, I was so nervous,” she admitted.
She then added that along the way, she became used to performing in front of many people and the idea just excited her.
“[Manila] is the biggest show so far, but it doesn’t feel scary. I’m just more excited than nervous,” she said.
Wallice also gave a glimpse at her touring experience with The 1975 throughout Australia and Asia, saying that the entire crew welcomed her with open arms.
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“Something that I really respect about them is that their entire crew is extremely nice and completely welcoming. That’s not always the case on tour,” she said.
“We have opposite schedules. Whenever I’m working, they have their free time. When they’re on stage, I’m free sometimes. So, I didn’t get to see them that much, but every time I do and interact with them, they’re very sweet to me,” she continued.
She then shared how The 1975 experimented with their setlist for different shows. This inspired Wallice to do the same thing on her show in the future.
“I really love how they change up their set a lot. It’s not the same set for twenty shows straight. They change a song here and there, and make up a little bit of something special during the show, which inspired me to do with my setlist moving forward,” she added.
Aside from her life on the road, Wallice also talked about her most recent single, “Best Friend,” which was released on April 4.
When asked about how the single came about, the singer-songwriter explained that the “Best Friend” was based on her experience with a best friend that she grew apart with.
“I kind of have like three friendships throughout my life that I was drawing from when I was writing that but specifically, my best friend from when I was like 10 years old. We don’t really talk anymore,” Wallice recalled.
“And I think a lot of people can relate to that: to losing a friendship or a relationship in your life that you keep thinking about. You want to reach out to the person, but it’s just not something you can do anymore,” she continued.
She added that the most recurrent theme in her music has always been friendship as she hasn’t experienced too much heartbreak in her life.
“These [the pain from losing a friendship] are real feelings… [Losing a] friendship is as similar as [losing a] romantic relationship,” said Wallice.
Apart from “Best Friend,” Wallice is also set to release her third EP, “Mr. Big Shot,” on June 23, which is said to be her “most personal work to date.”
“With Mr. Big Shot, it’s a little bit more personal, like [it’s more about] personal stories,” she explained. “And I still love to incorporate humor within my lyrics and visuals and even song titles. So, this was more like serious songs that are very personal. I was able to kind of bring in that element of humor that I liked.”
Wallice also teased that “Mr. Big Shot” contained the sequel to her 2021 single, “23,” a song that captures the anxiety of growing up and going through adulthood.
“I think ‘23,’ which was my second single, definitely is very autobiographical. And I have a new song on ‘Mr. Big Shot’ called the ‘Quarterlife’ that is kind of like the sequel to that,” Wallice shared.
When asked about what song should fans tune in to first to get to know her, Wallice said “23” and “Best Friend” right off the bat as she felt that the theme and lyricism of both songs are personable.
“I would definitely say ‘23.’ I just turned 25 last month, but [it] still [has] very real feelings that a lot of young adults can relate to,” she said.
“I also think ‘Best Friend’ would be great to listen to as well because [it has a] very specific sound that is the direction that I’m moving towards in my future music,” she added.
Wallice also expressed her interest to collaborate in new music with fellow Dirty Hit Record artists and Joji in the future, as well as to perform in festivals in Japan and at Coachella.
“I really would love to play festivals in Japan, like Fuji Rock, or Coachella,” Wallice said with a beam. “I’d also love to work with The 1975 on an actual song. Rina Sawayama, beabadoobee, I really love them. And I also really love Joji, that would be really cool to have a song with him.”
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