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LaVance Colley: ‘Continue to Grow and Evolve No Matter How Much People Try to Make You Feel Like You Don’t Matter’

By Cynthia Gross

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Los Angeles-based artist LaVance Colley is gifted with a voice that has the power to immediately stop listeners in their tracks. His interest in music began at age three, and since that time, Colley has honed his talents to establish a sound of his own, described as “the fervor of a gospel vocalist with the versatility of jazz and the heart of rhythm and blues.” Learn more about this exceptional vocalist and songwriter with contributing writer Cynthia Gross, including LaVance Colley’s favorite celebrity moment, advice for aspiring musicians, and the special message he would like to share in honor of Black History Month.

Anyone who is deeply acquainted with gospel music knows that it is a one-of-a-kind genre. Colley is grateful for his gospel roots, noting the widespread influence of the genre on rock, funk, soul, country, rock, and more. “Some of the greatest singers on the planet came from gospel, including the late Whitney Houston,” he explained. “I don’t think I would be the singer I am today if it wasn’t for gospel music.”

LaVance Colley
LaVance Colley – Chase Hanssen

Take one listen to LaVance Colley’s latest single, “On Top of the World,” released last month, and you know you’ve encountered an exceptional talent. Colley knew early on that he was meant for a career in music. “Well, I knew I had a special gift when I was a child singing in church, and the audience would stand up and scream when I would sing,” he shared. “I would always enter into talent shows, and after I sang, people would always stop me to tell me how amazing they thought I was, and over the years, I just kept getting better and better.”

Colley’s powerhouse voice combined with his classy, sensual style allows audiences to feel every emotion in a truly captivating, cathartic way. To experience his music is to witness the personification of joy – the kind of rejoicing that only comes from someone who has witnessed the other side.

“On Top of the World” celebrates the joys of life that stem from choosing to remain in the present. Colley explains the song is about “learning how to stay in the moment, and not let things distract you, and learning to be still and feel the wind blowing through your hair, watching a golden sunset, and just enjoying nature and life.”

While this positive energy certainly radiates from “On Top of the World,” Colley’s decision to release the track during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was a bold and intentional one. The message behind Colley’s new single challenges audiences everywhere to rise up out of their pain and uncertainty to see the light that still exists around them.

LaVance Colley
LaVance Colley – Chase Hanssen

“Man, COVID has really been hard for a lot of people, including myself, but for me, I just had to learn to live in the moment and really take the time to analyze my life and figure out what is really important to me,” he shared. “It also gave me time to spend with my family, and I used to work so much that it was hard to really do that, so in a sense, that was a blessing for me.”

In addition to his solo work, LaVance Colley is perhaps best known for his collaboration with legendary artists of his generation, including Beyoncé Knowles, Pharrell Williams, Diana Ross, John Legend, and Mary Mary. Colley also serves as emcee and lead singer for the musical collective Postmodern Jukebox. The collective’s vintage Motown cover of Beyoncé’s “Halo” featuring Colley has more than 10 million views.

When asked about his favorite celebrity moment, Colley said that he most enjoyed working with John Legend. “He was super professional and fast. I literally recorded 13 songs with him in two days for his Christmas album. He sometimes even came in the booth and did some of the background vocals with me.”

Colley may be soaring high at the height of his music career now, but he is no stranger to hard work and dedication. He has put in his time to learn the business and grow in his craft while staying true to his roots. During his songwriting process, Colley enjoys moments when things come together quickly, which is not typically the case. He joked, “Sometimes, I think, why can’t I write a song in 15 minutes like Sia does. Lol. Patience is truly a virtue.”

LaVance Colley
LaVance Colley – Chase Hanssen

His advice to aspiring musicians is both timely and timeless, a testament to the grounding beneath the star who continues to win over audiences with his dynamic voice and vibrant personality. “I would tell any aspiring artist to always focus on just creating good music that you feel good about,” he shared.

“Don’t do it to make money, get a Grammy, or anything of that sort. Just do it for the love of music, and continue to do that, and all the other blessings will flow after that. Stay true to your art, and also take care of your instrument,” he added.

LaVance Colley represents greatness not only as an artist, but also as a Black man. In the midst of a society that attempts to forge a persistent erroneous narrative against Black men, Colley counters the negative forces with messages of love and equity. He is an exemplar of what it means to be courageous and resilient, and his story is one that continues to inspire many.

In honor of Black History Month, Colley shared this special message. “I would like to encourage my community to continue to strive for excellence, and continue to grow and evolve no matter how much people try to tear you down and make you feel like you don’t matter. Never let go of your dream, and always keep your head up, and try your best to be a light in this dark world.”

Go see LaVance Colley with Postmodern Jukebox on March 27 at Hippodrome at France-Merrick Performing Arts Center in Baltimore, Maryland, as part of the U.S. leg of their worldwide tour.

Cynthia Gross

Cynthia Gross is a freelance writer and award-winning spiritual pop artist based in Maryland. With more than a decade of experience as an executive ghostwriter, she understands the power of each individual’s voice to create positive, meaningful change.

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