Texas High Graduate Stephanie Rice was living a double life as an aspiring musician and a burgeoning research scientist until two years ago, pouring all her energy into each wildly different pursuit. “Almost every night I’d leave work in my lab coat, run to my car and change into my leather pants, then get up onstage and sing all night long,” says the Texarkana-born singer/songwriter. “I’d get home at 2 a.m. and head back to work 7 a.m., and then just do it all over again.” Despite finding a certain thrill in that chaos, Rice longed to fully commit to her music: a genre-blurring blend of soul and pop and folk-rock, emotionally raw yet grace-fully composed. So, at the start of 2016—soon after publishing her groundbreaking HIV research in The Journal of AIDS—Rice left the medical field and threw herself into finishing up her debut album. With Dear Misery arriving in June 2016 and gaining lavish acclaim from local media, Rice next scored a spot on season 12 of NBC’s The Voice—later emerging as a top 11 finalist, and beginning her ascent as a pop artist of extraordinary impact.
Now based in L.A., Rice has recently teamed up with in-demand songwriters like Justin Tranter (Janelle Monáe, Imagine Dragons, Kacey Musgraves, Julia Michaels) to bring her sophomore effort to life. But while the album is deeply informed by the painful experience of getting kicked out of her house after coming out to her family at age 18, Rice’s forthcoming material also shines with an undeniable sense of strength and resilience. In working on her sophomore album, Rice has further sharpened her vocal presence by joining forces with her older brother, Grammy nominated Benjamin Rice (a music and vocal producer who co-produced a number of Lady Gaga’s songs for the soundtrack to A Star Is Born, including the chart-topping “Shallow”).
The Regional Music Heritage Center’s Young Musician Award is presented to musicians from our region we believe to have the talent and potential to have significant impact on American and world music.