This talented World Music/Pop artist first caught our attention with her infectious track Wanna Share. Renay writes from deep within her heart allowing every corner of passion to be fully visualized and heard. A mix of Bolivian and Dutch roots accent her professional song writing giving it a global appeal.
Interview Meikee Magnetic
Where were you born and where are you now?
I was born in New Brunswick, NJ to a Bolivian Dad and Dutch mom. I moved to France as an adolescent and then back to the States when I was 21, landing to start my life in the US in the SF Bay area, a region which has nurtured my musical journey.
Tell us who you are as an artist:
First, I am a songwriter, then, a singer, followed by musician, engineer, producer. I love to mash up all types of sounds and have a tendency to be drawn to what most people may find on the edge of dissonant or disjunct rhythmically. But, I have made real efforts to make songs that resonate with people, as the point is to make music that can move hearts and minds, not just make what pleasures me. This feedback process has moved my music into what can be described as pop – even though I really am all over the place genre-wise, and I think I will always be.
At what age did you pick up guitar and begin singing?
My first memories are of singing. I began taking singing seriously around age 9. I first picked up the bass, then the guitar at 12, but I have never became a virtuoso. All instruments serve primarily to permit me a harmonic and rhythmic structure over which to write songs. One of my goals is to become a virtuoso on some other instrument, at the moment I am focusing on songwriting, singing and producing.
Touch upon your music video Wanna Share and the lyrical meaning:
Wanna Share was shot with AfterThought Media in Berlin this summer. A whirlwind experience where I for the first time worked with a large scale team allowing me to pretty much just focus on being an artist! Wanna Share is about the journey we have in finding ourselves, loving ourselves, and being ready to share everything with another person. This song was co-produced by BTWN Music, Joe Pepe and Zacke Burke, from Los Angeles.
Did you go to Audio school or receive any training?
I started recording myself on an M-Box in 2004, and taught myself ProTools. In early 2018 I took a music production bootcamp at Cre-8 Music Academy (WestLake Studios, West Hollywood) and this filled in so many holes I had due to being self-taught. It exponentially increased my production toolkit. The director was Doug Fenske, a really awesome musician, producer and teacher. He still gives me feedback on my productions.
We see videos of your music career reaching back 8 years with lots of live full band performances. How have you grown as an artist?
I believe I’ve become a better songwriter, performer (recording and live) and engineer/producer. I feel like I am getting closer to making music that can have a really wide impact. I also feel like I am at the point that I can really help other artists in the producer/engineer role, and I’ve started to do so. At the same time I feel like I am only scratching the surface. I’m on the tip of the iceberg whose mass is incalculable.
What other music genres can we find in your work?
I’ve been classified as World music, in the Latin and Reggae genres. I have also been classified as Folkrock and alternative rock.
Who are some Bay Area artists you’ve collaborated with?
I’ve collaborated with a bunch of musicians and artists in the world music (Latin, reggae) and independent hip hop scene. Notably, Rahman Jamaal (rapper, educator from RedWood city), Fyah Squad Band (backing band for many touring reggae acts), Raleigh Neal (keys, Michael Franti Spearhead), Jayme Arredondo (drums, Don Carlos reggae), Jackeline Rago (Venezuelan percussionist and cuatro player), Sang Matiz (Peruvian world music group). Under a different artist name (Razteria, we had a collective of women in World and Reggae music called Empress Unification (Irae Divine, Queen Makedah, Amanda Sol, myself – Razteria). I have recorded and toured as a backing vocalist with Taj Weekes and Adowa (St Lucia Island reggae).
Outside of music what else are you passionate about and pursue?
I love being active, yoga, calisthenics training, running, hiking, biking, swimming… I cannot live without sports. I’m actively working on improving my strength and flexibility in order to be able to do certain movements – like the press handstand. I love to be in nature – anywhere. It’s where I source much of my inspiration. I also love to cook, and make most of my food from whole foods. Social justice and the environment (I know vast topics) are always on my mind and I try in my everyday life to put my little grain of sand… even if it is just helping someone find there way to their next destination, or a friendly face with a smile.
I plan on producing as much music as possible. I have another single “Inspire Me” out on Dec 13th, 2019 followed by a music video on Jan 17th 2020. I will release an album on Feb 21, 2020, called “Pure Love”, the title track features guitar playing by Emje, a young upcoming beautiful Colombian artist. It also features productions by Swede of 808 Mafia and a few Bay area musicians. The tracks range from dark, electronic pop to pop with more Latin and reggae flavors, in English and Spanish. From there on I hope to get some music licensed, and have a tour set up! We will see what happens.
What does Dark Beauty mean to you?
Subtle deepness. The beauty which goes far beyond the surface. True beauty.
Photography by Kerim Knight and Tim Haber
Dressed by Raki
Dancers Berit and Anna Frøysland