Grammy-Winning Songwriter Wil Guice on Why Denver Inspires Him and What R&B Needs
Grammy Award-winning songwriter Wil Guice launched his Love Money Music tour from the Roxy Theater late last week. Welcome to Guiceland was the start of the next step for a vocalist who wants to bring back the roots of R&B -- he feels that talent is now trumped by image and perception.
"I want to give the fans raw unfiltered soul music, not R&B the way it is, the way it has been presented in the last fifteen years or so. I want to give them something that soul music used to be," says Guice. "What they think R&B is, is not what it is. It's what it has become."
Guice feels like singers now days are not judged by their talent alone, "Now a-days, If you get panties thrown at you on stage, it's because you're cute, you're light-skinned, you got a six-pack, or a cute smile, not how you sound," says Guice, "Back in the day it would be the ugliest darkest nigga that would get panties thrown on the stage, because he is making it so uncomfortable for a woman to sit still because of his voice, the strength of his voice, the way he annunciated his words, every word was making her skin crawl to just make her want to take off her clothes."
Guice definitely sings with a deep, profound sound and tone that seems to be lost in a digital world of Auto-tune and sound enhancers.
"The whole fusion of rappers singing and the distinction of who is a singer and a rapper is kind of lost," the crooner said, citing artists like Wiz Khalifa and Drake as examples who classify themselves as singers, because they are creative and interesting, but aren't technically singing in a classic sense."
But Guice isn't loud or outspoken -- attributes his introverted personality to his childhood in Ohio. A blue-collar mindset was ingrained in him along with the hardships of life, an aspect that shines through in his music.
"When I first heard Curtis Mayfield, it was a wrap for me. He didn't just sing about love, he sung about the streets as an observant for that street life and just had an encounter of things that go on in the streets and in the ghettos. I picked up on that more then the love aspect," says Guice, "Writing about that and singing about that seemed so easy to do. People can't grab onto that and sing about that like they can love."
Struggle is a theme Guice has lived through personally but he has been able to persevere with the help of his music. After dropping out of highschool in the early 2000s, his music was presented to Boyz II Men right before the Nathan Michael Shawn and Wayna Album. He was fortunate enough to contribute songwriting on four songs, but the official credits lack any accreditation to Wil Guice.
"It was like all those stories that you hear 'Oh they going to steal your songs,' and all that, but I just didn't know anything about the business at the time," says Guice. "But it's crazy how God works, because after that I moved to Philly and got in the rooms and rubbed elbows with the right people."
The right people landed Guice a songwriting gig on Usher's 2004 Confessions album with the song "Bad Girl," that eventually landed him a Grammy for songwriting. Not long after that he moved to Denver, around the same time he landed his second major songwriting gig with 2 Chainz and John Legend on "Ghetto Dreams."
Guice was instantly drawn to Denver and began working with a slew of artist in town.
"The music here really does have its own sound. It's like a mixture of Midwest and West coast-fused. I think it's going to grow out in the future, eventually reach out to the world," Guice says of Denver music, "I was really welcomed from day one. A lot of people can't come to someone's city with a lot of talented people who have already been here and get all that love and appreciation the city has given me."
Wil Guice kicked off his Love Money Music Tour with DJ Shadoe at the Roxy Theater Thursday night featuring songs from his latest release R&Beast: The Diary of a Gemini Vol.1 along with unreleased material.
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