DMV's Reesa Renee: Amateur Night at the Apollo Winner
Reesa Renee is an artist, musician, songwriter, and lyrical poet from the DC Metropolitan Area. Her voice skims through the soulful sounds of the jazz era and then fast-forwards your musical clocks to the more modern sounds of the R&B greats of today. Add that to an energetic ensemble of musical harmonies and undertones and you get an amazing experience. Reesa Renee made her musical debut as “Sis” with the underground band Achosen Generation. Now she is launching her solo career working with various artists and producers on an album entitled “Reelease”.
What gave you the courage to pursue your music and sense of calling?"Some things in life feel right. Meaningful words like courage, honestly, didn't even cross my mind at the time of me stepping out. The timing felt good and honestly things just kind of fell into place. I never saw the initial pursuit as such a big "aha" moment. It just felt like the next step and I've been moving forward in my career. Only in looking back do I realize the progress made in my journey and the courage it took to step out and pursue it."
What are your historical influences? What traditions have shaped you as an artist?"I learned my free spirited angle and view of expression from Jill Scott. I look up to her music and most importantly her expression. To be a free-flowing poet with such a beautiful voice and aura is inspiring. I've studied a meriade of genres and artists, including Sara Vaughn, Ahmad Jamal, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Jean Luc-Ponty, Noel Pointer, Bill Withers...the list goes on and on. I am of course inspired by the more modern expressions of music by the likes of Erykah Badu, N.E.R.D and Lauryn Hill as well.
I couldnt tap into historical influences and not mention the godfather of GoGo Chuck Brown. The DC GoGo scene has so much energy so much heart and feel. Mixing the passion behind the musicianship and artistry of the DMV music scene really elevates the experience. An acoustic heavy set underlaying crucial vocals really brings the soul to the forefront. I'd have to throw James Brown in there too and absolutely can't forget to throw in Michael Jackson.
Music is all about entertaining. It's all about bringing the music to life. It's forever morphing. It's all about expression and freedom and past generations of artists have shown just that. This is my expression with purpose of making timeless music and sparking more change and more inspiration. Keep the ball rolling you know?"
What sets you apart from other artists, particularly other black female entertainers?"I despise this question [laughs]. Just coming from an area stained with the "crabs in a barrel" mentality, I'm super anti "setting myself apart," on purpose at least. I stand hand in hand with any and all Black females and entertainers; I offer the same amount of transparency as the next artist. Again, music is all about expression, and for me it's an inner cry to be understood. It can be the sweetest sounding method of communication, coming from a background where my words were automatically muted because yelling was my avenue of being heard. Anger is only understood in one way- disrespectful. I am glad to have a voice that is finally digestable. I am glad and grateful that I finally able to belt the pits of my heaviest emotion and have something so painful, ironically, manifest to be something so beautiful. Anyone (male/female, old/young, whomever) has the courage to step out and share such things stand hand in hand with me. They have my utmost respect and blessing."
What are you trying to create/ build? What do you want your legacy to be?"I learned quickly that allowing things to be created and "be" is one of the best principles in accomplishing. I have goals and aspirations in terms of where my music can take me. Most importantly, I can only hope that my life, expressions, passions, and journey can spark change and make a difference in someone's life. All I need is one and having this platform has definitely insured that I've at least accomplished that much. I will allow history to write itself. I'm just living my life and not taking anything for granted, as I document my life's journey (past and present) through my music!"