Handley first came across Pricie three years prior when her demo landed in his inbox. The gospel-infused funk-pop tracks were “completely left” of the dance-based demos he typically received. “Instantly it ticked everybody’s boxes,” says Sweat It Out director Jamie Raeburn. “It was one of the easiest, ‘Yes, we want to sign you’ conversations we’ve had.”
That said, he admits there were concerns over if the label was the best fit for Pricie, because of its storied past with breaking and supporting dance acts, from A-Trak to Rüfüs Du Sol. “But one of our founders, [dance legend] Ajax, who has sadly passed away — he always used to refer to records with shtick, and that’s exactly what this [demo] had. It had shtick — and she had shtick. It didn’t really matter what style it was.”
Pricie’s debut single, “Too Dang Good” — a sassy, soulful hit with rapped vocals and glimmering pop production that she wrote just as COVID-19 hit — had so much shtick that before it was even properly released, Australia’s government-funded alternative radio station, Triple J, added it to the rotation. (The release date had moved at least four times due to the pandemic, before the team finally decided to start fresh in the new year with a new rollout plan). By early February, as the song officially arrived, Triple J’s sister station, Unearthed, named Pricie as a featured artist. Over on Spotify, the track was added to a wide-range of genre-based playlists, from Front Left to House Party.
Beyond her music, Pricie had the look and feel of a star, too. Sweat It Out’s head of publicity, Amanda Jenkins, says from the first time the team met her she came in with “these really strong ideas about visuals and photo shoots. It just felt straight away like she was going to be the whole package. We’re not trying to create any story — we’re just facilitating hers. I think that’s when you get the absolute best results of any artist, when they really know themselves.”
Pricie, 26, was raised on gospel music while growing up in Nigeria, particularly CeCe Winans, and would often dance and harmonize with her sisters at countless Nigerian weddings (current favorites include Anderson .Paak, Cardi B, Saweetie and SZA). “Rhythm, grooves, vibes, it’s always just been there,” the singer says. She asserts there was never that moment where she was like, “Oh shit, I can really sing,” but rather a moment when she realized, by the age of 16, that she had the ability to tell stories through music that connected with people she didn’t even know.
Pricie soon started posting covers and original songs on YouTube and social media, and still remembers when two of her Facebook friends affirmed her path by direct-messaging her that she needed to pursue music more seriously. Not long after, her demo landed in the hands of Handley and by Feb. 2018 she signed a recording contract with Sweat It Out. “We don’t have a lot of artists, and we tend to focus quite heavily on [the ones we do have] from quite an early stage,” says Raeburn. By the time Pricie visited L.A., she and the team agree the way in which everything else came together was, simply put, “God’s plan.”