Reesa Renee is an artist who’s going to be around for a while! She took the time to study and appreciate her musical forefathers and is eager to contribute her edgy-yet-funky sound to the industry. Renee already captivated music lovers with her energetic and enthusiastic musical style when she appeared on and won Apollo Theater Amateur Night. Music lovers recognized her profound lyrical content, distinct voice, and charismatic attitude on stage.
After the competition, she released her debut album, Reelease, and scored a Top 20 hit, “Got Me Loose,” on iTunes R&B/Soul list. She also headlined at various venues including Live Nation’s Historical Fillmore venue, House of Blues, Howard Theater, and Gladstone in Toronto. Renee shared a stage with Eric Robeson, Raheem DeVaughn, Chuck Brown, and Wale.
In summer 2015, Renee released her EP, Lover’s Rock, which received favorable reviews from fans. “Hello Mama,” a single from the EP, is an upbeat record that can be played while you’re cruising in your car. She recently released the video for “Guess Again.”
The D.C native spoke with Singersroom.com about her how and why music is so fulfilling for her, releasing new music, and her latest EP, Lover’s Rock.
How did you come up with your stage name?
Well, Reesa Renee stems from my real name. My name is actually Teresa Renee. Reesa was a nickname that stuck with me from when I was little. And I just thought it would be great to use as a stage name. Reesa is still a part of me, and it just fits.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in music?
I enjoyed listening to music growing up, and I was heavily influenced by my father. He was pretty much involved with music during that whole “funk” era. I was just around it; it was all around me so I couldn’t run away from it at all. But it was not my original career choice. I started off as an athlete. One of my friends lost their lives from drunk driving, and I didn’t want their death to be in vain. And from that experience, I was able to find my purpose in life which was music. It made me realize that life is short, and I have to make every minute of my life count. Once I decided I was going to pursue music, I started listening to music from my brother because he is a producer. Then I started writing poetry which became lyrics to my song. I started writing to my music and began singing. When I sing, I feel so free, and it is such a great experience for me. I feel alive, but I am able to watch how people respond and react to my music.
Let’s talk about your appearance on Apollo Theater’s Amateur Night.
It was at the very tip of my career. Village Underground, a nightclub in New York, had an open mic night, and I performed my song, “Got Me Loose.” While I was performing the song, the audience was standing to their feet and actually singing my song. I was so happy because I was witnessing their vibe and energy while I was performing on stage. After the performance, it was like I had a plug to the Apollo Theater. My live performance went viral, and it was sent to Al Sharpton’s wife. She was impressed, and I was encouraged to make my debut at the Apollo Theater. I gave it a shot, and I performed my original song. I was the second person in three years to win with an original song. When I won, it was an amazing experience for me because it felt so right at that moment. I was like I was performing at the arena where D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, and other great acts started before they had their big break in the business.
What was the creative process for your 2012 debut album Reelease?
The process was very new; I was just in a different place musically. It was like, how in the world did you get to this place? I was just very grateful, and I was ready to work. The movement was constant; I was in a confident place, personally and professionally.
What makes your EP Lover’s Rock different from Reelease?
On the first album, it was all about unicorns and rainbows. But on Lover’s Rock, things were beginning to turn around. In other words, the EP was more of a conscious album, and it was a way for me to challenge myself. I was able to analyze my strengths and weakness and clip away at myself. It was more of a point to prove to myself that I can grow as a person and artists. On the EP, the tone is kind of contradictory, but people can relate. We all know about the ups and downs in relationships and most of us are afraid to commit to another person. They are afraid to commit to a type of love, but then turn around and be there for that person because they are still in love. They are there for him because they’re afraid of moving apart. Also, the sound on the EP is different, and it’s more vibrant.
What made you decide to be an independent artist?
I didn’t oppose the idea of signing with a major label. However, it went in a different direction. I am proud of all of the work I’ve done as an independent artist. My music is not compromised. I just want to make history with my music with my team while staying true to myself.
What else can we expect from Reesa Renee in 2016?
Well, I also plan to do a few collaborations, but we shall see. I collaborated with Anthony David so look out for that soon. It’s a dope song, and we are still working on the details as far as releasing the single. There will also be more live performances so stay tuned. The best is yet to come.