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Bryce Antonio Lowery Takes Us Through His Career Of Shrek, Coca-Cola, and Fairy Lights

by Gabel Strickland

Photo: Courtesy of Bryce Antonio Lowery

“Let negativity affect you, but don’t let negativity control you.”

That’s the philosophy that Bryce Antonio Lowery lives by, one that has guided him through his unique career as an actor and musician.

“I have very bad days, I had a bad day like last week, and that was a lot, but I'm not going to let that control me as a person and let it bring down my mood the whole time and not have any fun,” Lowery explained. “So, just let the negativity affect you, feel it obviously, but don't let it control you as a person. I think that's my philosophy that I'm going to be living by for the rest of my life.”

If you don’t get that from the image of Bryce Antonio Lowery singing you his sweetly somber melodies while clutching a sicker-studded guitar and wearing a rainbow paper crown, then maybe you’ll get it from a brief look at career as a musician and actor.

Lowery's childhood creativity was cultivated by his multi-talented family. His family members introduced him to their passions, which would become his passions later on in life. Chief among those passions were music and acting.

“For the most part, it was my dad who really got me into music. My dad used to be a singer himself, was under a major label for a little bit, actually released an album,” Lowery said of his father, Bret Lover, whose songs can be found on YouTube. “He's been showing me his songs since I was born basically, so that's how I got into music and singing. I didn't start songwriting until about seventh grade, maybe, where I wrote my first few songs...and ever since I've gotten better until I started releasing my own music.”

Lowery's whole family is musical: his mother and grandmother are singers and dancers, his grandfather played trombone and clarinet in his own band, and his nana was part of her own family group. But his family is more than just musically gifted. Just as Lowery's father introduced him to music, his mother introduced him to acting.

“I've been doing theater since I was born. My mom does a lot of plays and a lot of musical things that she just put me in, so I've been in theater for a long time." Lowery said.

At this point, talent is in Lowery's blood. But inheriting his family's talent doesn't necessarily mean inheriting all their artistic tastes.

“When it comes to music itself I'm kind of the black sheep of my family. My family is very much R&B related. My dad can be a little bit more on the rap side, but for the most part they’re mostly R&B,” Lowery said. “I would say my sound as an artist kind of fluctuates a little because it goes from pop to like alternative to kind of a mixture of the two, so I'm kind of like the black sheep of my family when it comes to my music taste in general.”

Photo: Courtesy of Bryce Antonio Lowery

But though he may be the black sheep of his family, those relationships are extremely important to him, since it’s his relationships that inspire a lot of his music.

“I do find a lot of inspiration obviously in my relationships, not only about love but also friendship, family, stuff like that,” Lowery said.

For example, his friends and his ex directly inspired his most popular song “Dumpster Fire Fire Fighter" in a pretty unique way.

“I kind of just wrote it because my friends made the joke that I never write angry songs, which is true; all my songs are usually either pretty sad or pretty lovey dovey or pretty happy, so I never really wrote an angry song. So, I said ‘you know what? I’ll try my hand, write this stupid little song about an ex I have, whatever,’ and then it blew up and I was like ‘...oh no,’ because then I had to work on it," Lowery joked.

He does something clever with that song, too, which is called, make no mistake, "Dumpster Fire Fire Fighter."

“I kind of just wanted to play with the idea of, you know, fire fighting and how I don't want to come over and fix all your problems for you because I have my own problems to deal with.” Lowery explained. “It’s really funny because the name of the song is Dumpster Fire Fire Fighter but all the words are split up, and lots of people are like ‘Um, that’s not how you spell firefighter’ and I was like 'Don’t worry, I know.' That was the point of the song; I’m not a firefighter. That's why the lyrics split up. It’s not supposed to be, I'm not this sort of person that you think I am, and so that was a little wordplay on my part.”

Relationships inspire a lot of his songs because they inspire big emotions, and big emotions are a theme in Lowery's music. Not only do his songs relay emotions in a very raw, personal, and impactful way – they oftentimes take these powerful, complex feelings and frame them within the context of something minuscule and random. For example, his song “COCA COLA” turns the popular soda into a metaphor for a passionate love, and his original song “Fairy Lights” frames a love story around fairy lights.

“It wasn’t intentional, but I do do it a lot. Also, with songs that I haven't even released yet where I took these kind of minuscule ideas that revolve around complex emotions." Lowery said. "It's kind of fun to look at such a simple object or idea in general and put my own feelings onto it and be like ‘how does this make me feel?’”

Lowery writes about love, sadness, and even anger, but Lowery also captures mental states that can be hard to express. For example, "Starkid," which Lowery started writing in the tenth grade, describes the distant, foggy, “spaced-out” mental state Lowery sometimes finds himself in as a creative with mild ADHD. Though difficult to put into words, he knew the sound he wanted to go for.

“I basically just found these two loops on GarageBand,’” Lowery said. “I was like ‘oh these are interesting and it gives me space kind of vibes, space themes, so I already knew the song was going to be space themed in some way.’”

Originally, the song was meant to invoke a whole different emotion. However, once he got to writing the lyrics themselves, the song morphed into something else.

“The lyrics for me weren't it, they just weren’t doing it for me, so I put [the song] down and when I came back to it I was like ‘okay what if I tried this lyric instead’ and it kind of just went on and on. And that’s happened with a lot of my songs.” Lowery said. “Originally it was going to be a dance song, Starkid’s just this kind who doesn’t care. Obviously, it's not that now. I'm a person who has a mild ADHD problem so it kind of became a song about ‘oh I'm always spaced out, I'm always thinking about different things,’ and so the galaxy is like my mind basically.”

Expressing and feeling these emotions with his audience is Lowery's ultimate goal, one that feels especially rewarding to reach.

“Yeah, so for me at least and I know a lot of songwriters and artists say this but it's basically like a therapy for me, kind of just like getting my emotions out there and how I'm feeling basically. And I really love it when people come to me and they're like ‘Hey, this song really impacts me’ or they’re like ‘Hey, this reminded me of that thing” I really like that I really want my music not only for people to enjoy my music but also to just impact them and make them feel something.”

Photo: Courtesy of Bryce Antonio Lowery

Lowery attends NYU Tisch as a Drama major, so it's clear that theater is just as big a part of his life as music. While Lowery is definitely a star, he enjoys ensemble roles because they allow him to embrace the imagination that he loves about theater.

“I think it's just about imagination and bringing characters to life and how to you get to make your own spin on it even if you’re not a lead." Lowery said of his love of acting. "It's actually really fun to be ensemble sometimes because you get to create your own character, your own being. It's really fun and interesting.”

In fact, one of his favorite roles - well, multiple of his favorite roles - were ensemble parts in his school’s production of Shrek, which he remembers fondly.

“I was originally this random knight and dancer and I was not happy about it. I was like ‘ugh okay’ but then I went to rehearsals even though I didn't have to.” Lowery recalled. “I would just sit with them and talk to them and my two minor roles became bigger…”

Eventually, he was called on to play Papa Ogre, Head Knight, and a dancer in the performance. That was just the sort of theatrical range that he was ready to play around with.

“It was very stressful as well with a bunch of quick changes, I was like where is my costume, it was really fun genuinely I had a great time.”

Lowery has done good enough on his high school's stages to move on to the stages of NYU Tisch, getting accepted into the prestigious university and even attending their Future Theatre Artists Workshop.

His passions as an actor and musician have spilled onto social media in various ways.

Tik-Tok is a particularly special place to get to know Lowery and his music. There, he posts videos of himself performing snippets of original songs. Sometimes the music is freshly improvised, other times it's being showcased in development, and other times Lowery is simply expressing himself emotionally.

“So, most of the time I kind of write the beginning of songs and I’m like ‘Oh, this is nice. I really like this. I’m going to continue working on it, but for now let me just put it on Tik-Tok.’ Recently I have been making songs more to vent, so it’s kind of just like I improvised it on the spot and then I just wrote it and put it on Tik-Tok." Lowery said. "[For] A lot of songs I just show the snippets that I already wrote and if people like it or if I like it I just write the rest of the song, and maybe I’ll work on it and record it.”

In any ways, Lowery’s Tik-Tok page, @bryceantonio, is a collection of all the artistry that makes him unique. However, every clip is only a taste of the music he creates. For full-length musical songs, you can subscribe to his YouTube channel. One such song is “Fairy Lights,” which follows his tradition of lyrics recounting emotions attached to small things, like fairy lights, to the somber melody of his guitar strings.

But he also discusses his musical interests with his best friend, Lucas, on their podcast, Head Empty, which you can listen to on YouTube. Music is far from their only topic of conversation - they talk about school, influencers, and more - but it’s also inadvertently the reason the podcast got started.

“For years we were like ‘what if we just started a podcast?’ And we kept on saying it and saying it, we never did it, and then finally I got a microphone for my music and he was like ‘do you want to start it?’ and I was like ‘yes, obviously yes,’” Lowery said.

So, if you’d like to be emotionally charged by either a soothing song or an intense performance, keep up with Lowery’s blossoming career through these channels. There’s so much more to come from Lowery - an album, new remixes of old songs, and an adventure into his more theatrical side - and that is the best way to keep up with it. That is, until you’ll be buying tickets to see him onstage.

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