Felice LaZae’s artful discipline

How the Sacramento native went from high kicks to high notes

Arms open to love.

Arms open to love.


Catch Felice LaZae at 9 p.m. Wednesday, August 24, at Torch Club, 904 15th Street. The cover is $5. More at www.felicelazae.com.

Felice LaZae didn’t always create vision boards depicting a career in music. Before the R&B powerhouse dedicated her life to singing, she dreamt of winning an Olympic medal for taekwondo.

At just 13 years old, the Sacramento native won gold in the U.S. Open taekwondo championships. At that point, martial arts was her life and singing was just something she enjoyed. LaZae didn’t truly fall in love with singing until she spent a week with a cousin who only spoke Spanish—being able to exchange cultural beats and sounds surpassed any language barriers between them. That was when LaZae realized how she’d leave her mark on the world.

“I want people to listen to my music and see my journey and know it is OK to be different,” she says. “These songs are me and are saying things that I believe about the world. … My purpose is to empower people.”

Now, LaZae is fully immersed in the lifestyle of an up-and-coming soul singer and all of what that includes. From multiple city relocations to channeling past bullying experiences as motivation, she has overcome the sort of obstacles that discourage most—particularly those who, like LaZae, entered the industry without any connections. Starting in Sacramento, she found it difficult to see a serious career in music. It wasn’t until high school when her family moved to Long Beach that she was able to see her dream become a real possibility.

“Coming down here to Southern California, everybody wants to be in entertainment,” she says, laughing. “The difference is like, ’Oh, this can actually be a career versus just a pipe dream.’”

Using some of the same skills she learned in taekwondo, LaZae became extremely disciplined with her artistry and tested out of high school to fully focus on music. At 15, she enrolled into the music program at American River College to study audio engineering. From there, she connected with the manager of the prestigious Studio at the Palms in Las Vegas. As a production assistant at the multi-million dollar studio, she worked with artists like Prince, Michael Jackson and other legendary creatives who fueled her determination to build her singing career. Her bluesy, grassroots sound has taken her around the world performing, though she is still striving to reach her standard of success.

“What keeps me motivated is thinking I don’t want to be an old person and wish I would’ve done something,” she says. “I want to live without regrets. I want to live the life of my dreams.”

Prologue, her debut EP dropping in October, involves these same themes of motivation and self-love. The song “Give It Away” is a prime example of what LaZae wants to see in her life and also recommends to others: pushing yourself forward, living your life, not being afraid of new experiences and being open to love. She’ll sing off of Prologue when she performs at the Torch Club on Wednesday, August 24, with the goal of making sure everyone leaves feeling strong, confident and ready to create their best lives.

“I want to leave a legacy that you can do whatever you want to do,” she says, smiling. “I want people to listen to my music and see my journey and know that, no matter what happens, even if you fall, you can be whatever you want to be.”