Growing up in north Tallahassee, Royce Lovett dreamed of being a boxing champion. It was an activity he shared with his father, who outfitted him with gloves, tape, and weights and trained him at the Lincoln Center in Frenchtown. Lovett believed it to be the greatest sport in the world, enjoying the stamina and intellectual skills that the game sharpened.
“Most people think about taking out aggression when they think about boxing,” explains Lovett. “It’s all about learning how to not be afraid of what’s in front of you.”
Boxing was as unlikely a profession as the one he ultimately found as a musician. Lovett is a philosopher and thinker, translating his fearlessness into original song lyrics and compositions. He finds musical inspiration everywhere, especially from his 3-year-old son’s sense of wonderment. Radiating warmth and energy, he peppers conversations with quirky “Walking Dead” and “Transformers” references. Lovett’s passion for life is palpable as he strives to spread a singular message: love.
It’s even in his name. After making six albums independently and touring overseas, Lovett caught the attention of Motown Gospel. He recently signed with the label and is ready to release his most recent album “Write It On The Wall.”
Lovett aims to make music that all generations can enjoy with topics falling under his “the umbrella of love,” including brotherly, romantic, coming of age, and heartbreak.
“I couldn’t be where I am right now without someone else wanting to invest their love in me,” confesses Lovett.
His new single, “Show Me Love,” came out of this appreciation for his supporters and fans who have given their time, patience, and ears to his music. Lovett recites the lyrics in the hook, “When you show me love I can climb any height, I can fly, I can take on the world.” The lines seem to perfectly sum up his goals for creating positively impactful music.
When it comes to influences, Lovett pulls from an array of artists. Inside his childhood home, albums by Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Boyz II Men, and more could be heard, along with his mother’s gospel and worship music.
Lovett is an accomplished singer, songwriter, composer, and guitarist and he doesn’t stop there. Drums, bass, and piano fill out his repertoire and add to his creative flair. Sound-wise, he’s been called everything from reggae to hip-hop, but his favorite term is cerebral soul.
“I want my music to be food and have something tangible that people can take back with them and learn,” says Lovett.
Lovett’s journey to becoming a full-fledged artist began in 2003. It was a spiritual time for him on his path to finding purpose. That’s when he decided, and was encouraged by his wife, to pursue music full-time. Lovett began hanging out with musicians, sharpening his ear, and honing his craft in order to find himself as an artist.
“If you find your identity, then you know who you don’t want to be and you can find your purpose,” explains Lovett.
He’s a proponent for traveling as a way of opening the mind to new perspectives. He recounts eye-opening experiences touring in countries like Slovakia during an international conflict.
“Russia was trying to take back part of their country so there were refugees running, army in the streets, and planes were grounded,” recalls Lovett. “I got to see that part of the world in that crisis and that [Facebook] newsfeed.”
As a result, Lovett describes his newest album as being message driven. The title, “Write It On the Wall,” is derived from the very literal Facebook wall or Twitter newsfeed. For Lovett, he wants to write a message of tolerance and acceptance.
“I want to reach and talk to as many people as I can,” says Lovett.
In his quest, Lovett often finds himself in conversations with strangers. He remembers trying to catch the last train after a show in Vienna, Austria, when he noticed someone staring from across the platform. After approaching her to sell a CD, they realized they were both from Tallahassee.
Hoping for more chance encounters, Lovett describes the “authentic” tour he envisions which will revisit music’s roots by reaching out to individuals.
“I think it’s an old approach like when music first started,” says Lovett. “Money comes and goes, but the thing that’s going to be around for a long time is people.”
The tour will be fluid enough that if he can’t play any of the typical stadium or college venues in a city, he would welcome sharing his music in churches, bars, and backyards, or even around a kitchen table. “I used to think music could change people,” says Lovett. “Now I know that people change people.”
By: Amanda Sieradzki writer for the Council on Culture & Arts.