LaVoyce’s LV Tape, Vol. 1, self-released in April, is a testament to her musical and lyrical expertise. With just nine tracks, the tape is a succinct portfolio of work that draws on sounds from funk, R&B and soul (she likes to think of her niche as “soul pop.”) It is hard to believe that LaVoyce — first name Demi, although she keeps her last name private — is just 24.
LV Tape, Vol. 1 is LaVoyce’s second full-length project since her album, Bloom, self-released in 2018. With tracks such as “Privilege,” “Think of Me” and “Busy Bee,” she gives us a window into her coming of age, both as a woman learning her worth and as a musician finding her own voice. As the name suggests, this is only the beginning for her.
LaVoyce confirmed that most of the songs on the tape came out of her experimentation in the studio, and originally, she didn’t intend to release them. She decided to compile a mixtape because she knew that so many people were stuck inside and looking for new art to enjoy. “It just seemed like the right time to be releasing music,” she said over the phone. “It’s been a difficult time for a lot of people, and I wanted my work to be a source of positivity, hope, and enjoyment.”
This goal informs much of LaVoyce’s lyrics. Themes of female empowerment and self-confidence fill the mixtape. She admonishes a lover: “Don’t you know touching me is a privilege?” “I want people who listen to my music to walk away feeling super empowered,” she said. “I want to be confident in a way that makes other people feel confident.”
Issues of love and sexuality are also key on the mixtape. Many of the songs talk of somewhat disappointing partners, dealing with infidelity, heartbreak and general flakiness. This element is distinctly engaged with our contemporary culture of hook-ups and “situationships.”
The effect is a vulnerable, authentic exploration of what it means to love another person while honoring one’s boundaries and values. She longs for a deeper intimacy with both herself and her partners. “It’s cool, but I’m not impressed,” she sings, “I’d rather see that thing that’s beating inside of your chest.” The assorted nature of the mixtape prevents it from finding a resolution, but by “4 U,” the penultimate track, she seems to land on something resembling a way forward: “I won’t give up on you / if you don’t give up on me.”
LaVoyce’s willingness to be vulnerable, along with her varied musical chops and her commitment to her craft, make her a young artist to note. Last year, she was included on the Dallas Observer’s “DFW Artists to Watch” list of 2019. She’s received praise from the Dallas-based podcast Banned From Society; one host, who goes by the name of Prince, said she’s on the precipice of much greater success. “She just needs that one person to notice so she can go to the next level,” he said.
In the future, LaVoyce hopes to find new ways to foster community with her fans, especially knowing that it will likely be a long time before she can play live shows again. “I love hearing from people who enjoy my music, and I want to continue building those connections. I want my music to bring people together.”