Jazz school dropout turned rising indie-rock sensation Wallice headlines debut LA show | new university
Indie-rock singer Wallice Hana Watanabe, better known by her stage name Wallice, is making her way to stardom at a rapid pace. After her single “Punching Bag” hit popular Spotify playlist Lorem, Wallice gained a big enough following to really kickstart the traction she was getting, and she took off steadily from there.
Starting acting and auditioning at the age of four, Wallice is no stranger to show business. Although her acting career never took off beyond a few commercials, her real heart and talent lay in music. The singer went to school in New York for jazz performance and vocals for a year before deciding to leave to pursue her talents back home in California with her friend and music producer, Marinelli.
“I think the pandemic was able to find an audience because I think a lot of people had time to listen to music and find new artists,” Wallice said in an interview with The New York Times.
Wallice finally got the opportunity to perform live as she briefly toured with Chloe Moriondo for five of her shows. The singer had an unparalleled stage presence, by far the most enjoyable part of the evening when performing Moriondo in Los Angeles at the Roxy Theater on October 15. Her voice was breathtaking, singing every note with perfection and ease. Additionally, Wallice’s ability to command the stage and mesmerize his audience was admirable and exquisite to watch.
Signed to Dirty Hit Records a year after the success of his first hit, Wallice’s latest release is a song titled “Wisdom Tooth” which was originally based on his own “traumatic tooth extraction”. However, she ended up changing the lyrics slightly to be closer to her audience, she told The Forty-Five.
Recognizable by his signature cowboy hats and boots, Wallice has a unique sense of self and style, while clearly grounded in normal young adult life. His songs are simple yet painfully relatable, with each song reflecting a common experience in teenage life, such as broken friendships, confusing romantic relationships, the desire to move house, and childhood nostalgia.
Even with her recent massive successes, fame doesn’t go to her head as she remains true to the passions she kept when she was younger. Wallice is a ceramic artist who grew up in Topanga, California, which she describes as a “hippie mountain” – her mother kept a kiln in their garage and she started pottery at a young age. The pandemic has reintroduced this talent to her and she has her own website where she sells her artwork, including mugs, plates, match holders, dishes, planters and ashtrays.
Wallice has recently expressed interest in delving into the indie-rock scene and deviating from his indie-pop debut.
“For so long, I grew up listening to Radiohead, Weezer and Dr. Dog. It’s all more alt rock, and I wanted to make songs that sounded like that,” she said in an interview with Nylon. .
A chance to debut her changing new sound, Wallice had her first headlining show at the Moroccan show on December 7, which was a resounding success. The venue was intimate and the energy in the room was encouraging and exciting. Musician CARR opened for her, which was very fitting as their styles fit together well.
Dressed in teal cowboy boots, a matching dress and a cowboy hat, Wallice looked adorable as ever. She entered the scene with a bit of nerves; however, as the concert progressed, she really settled in and got to know the audience. The close relationship she shares with her band members was evident; their mutual trust made it possible to carry the show and to evade the small technical difficulties which quickly presented themselves.
Her fans clearly adored her, constantly shouting their love for her on stage. A fan even passed her a canvas they had painted of her in a desert landscape. Devoted listeners filled the small room with Wallice’s lyrics as she sang each song, only calming down for an acoustic guitar solo performance of Radiohead’s “Exit Music (For A Film)”. Transparent as always, Wallice humbly confessed to her audience that she had just made up her mind very late at night before singing this rendition to give her band a much needed break.
Playing old songs as well as new, unreleased ones, her focus on indie rock was clear, and it was fascinating to see her evolve so much since the Moriondo gig just two months before. Crawling off the side of the stage in a light-up cowboy hat, her producer Marinelli even joined her onstage at the end of her set, performing the song “Hey Michael” with her for the cheering crowd. Wallice even threw his own cowboy hat into the audience to close the show.
The Moroccan lounge slowly cleared when she was done as fans wanted more, but the singer waited outside for photos and autographs long after the show was over.
Wallice’s energy is humble, authentic and unique. She’s a beautifully adorable performer, and no one is quite like her. His quick claim to fame mixed with his attitude towards this success is hugely indicative of what is to come in his career; in fact, the New York Times wrote an article in late December that described her as a rising artist.
With an angelic voice and surreal music video direction, there’s not a single aspect of the singer that’s less than normal. Wallice’s overall sense of style and looks are noteworthy, and we can expect her to be just beginning her promising career.
Lillian Dunn is an Entertainment Intern for the Winter 2022 term. She can be reached at [email protected].