Watching the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings in April made Houston R&B singer TJ Boyce think of his son, Thomas.
"I was watching the news one particular night," Boyce says, "[and] there was one boy..."
The boy was Martin Richard, an eight-year-old who was cheering on the marathon runners when two bombs exploded within seconds of each other. With him were his mother, Denise, who suffered injuries to her brain, and his sister, six-year-old Jane, who lost a leg. His father, William, got hit in the legs with pieces of shrapnel. Father, mother and sister survived; little Martin did not.
The news story prompted Boyce to write "I Believe in the Dream," an uplifting, three-and-a-half minute tune Boyce says he patterned after Michael Jackson's part in "We Are the World."
Boyce has also recently released "It's On," the second single from his upcoming EP, The Life. "It's On" reveals a very different artist from the one above: It is a club banger that, unlike its counterpart, is highly suggestive and cuts right to the chase of requesting a woman's private affections.
"Guy meets girl at the club and lets her know, 'It's On,'" he says.
A slight variation is found in upcoming single "No Panties." Despite its cheeky title and rather demanding lyrics -- "I don't wanna see no panties tonight" -- "No Panties" is a gentler tug on the eardrums. The background club chatter used in "It's On" is done away with, allowing a soft synthesizer to blend well with Boyce's voice.
Boyce describes "No Panties" as "sensual, sexy, R&B," something that would play on '90s R&B radio, while he calls "It's On" "futuristic hip-hop and R&B," the kind one would hear in the '80s.
All three songs, with marked differences in sound and theme, demonstrate an artist who can balance pop and patriotism with dexterity.
"I'm not a guy that sings about one thing," Boyce says. "I'm 360 degrees of a man. There's times I wanna party. There's times I wanna make love. There's times I wanna fight. There's times I wanna fight. There's times I wanna show love and care. I think my music will show and represent [this]."
The Houston native started singing in his church at three years old, and got serious about the craft of professional musicianship in college. He has been working as a professional artist, he says, for about five years.
"I'm a very versatile musician," he says. "Very soulful and very honest with my music."
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Soulful, honest, and selfless. Despite some who may see "I Believe In the Dream" as a ploy to generate listeners and funds, Boyce has partnered with the American Red Cross. All proceeds from "I Believe in the Dream," which is available on iTunes, will be given to the organization.