Meet model and singer-songwriter REN

Born in Los Angeles with an extensive background in ballet and theater, REN now lives in New York City, where she models full-time, most notably for Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Revolve and Estée Lauder. Immersed in the arts from an early age, REN recently decided to delve into a new artistic passion: music.

Now that her single ‘Rendezvous’ is out, we took some time to hear more from REN. Read more about REN below, the story behind her latest single and what’s to come.

Hello REN! Let’s start with how did you get your stage name?

Hello! REN is actually a game of the last three letters of my first name, Lauren.

What city are you from and where do you live now?

I grew up all over Los Angeles and moved to NYC in 2019 to start modeling full time. I have lived here ever since.

At what point in your life did you decide to pursue a career in music? How did you get started?

Although I’ve been involved in the performing arts since I was 8, when I started ballet, I didn’t get involved with music until much later. I studied with LACHSA during high school and in my senior year I branched out into musical theater. Still, I knew my job was acting and dancing so I honestly synced my way through that haha. Growing up, my family encouraged my talent in theater and dance, but they always told me that singing was not my forte. It wasn’t until I was admitted to a cognitive-behavioral center after a nervous breakdown during COVID isolation that I began to believe that I could really sing. An elderly patient and I became fast friends, and he happened to have a guitar, so every night after dinner he taught me how to play a little. I confided in him that I always wanted to sing and he encouraged me to pursue that dream. Fast forward, my then-boyfriend dumped me as soon as I got fired, so I moved to LA, where I met my neighbor and quickly befriended my neighbor, who happened to be a Grammy-nominated producer. He recorded my first cover and a few months later my first original song in July 2021.

Did your upbringing play a role in shaping who you are and defining your sound today? If so, how?

Growing up dancing, music has always been a prominent art form all my life. So, from expressing myself through movement to expressing myself through music felt like a smooth transition. Plus, my mom always had the best taste in music, so it wasn’t uncommon to wake up with Amy Winehouse, drive to school and listen to Robin Thicke and eat dinner with Nora Jones, all of which helped shape my sound.

How would you describe your sound to readers who may not know you?

I’ve found my voice, but I’m not sure if I’ve found a sound yet. For now I’ll just keep making music and wait for the sound to reveal itself.

Do you have any hobbies outside of music? What do you do to stay creative?

As a full-time model, each job brings a new creative team with completely different visions than the last. Being able to interact with these unique creatives and act as a canvas for their work keeps my life very interesting. In addition, I’ve been dancing since I was 8, and it’s a skill I still maintain, along with writing and acting.

What is your favorite part of the recording process?

I always go to the studio to imagine what a song will sound like to fit the lyrics I’m putting in, but after I show my favorite producer what I’ve got, his brilliant mind takes over. I’m leaving with something completely different melodic, and I love it.

Who are some of your main musical influences?

As basic as it may sound, I love the pop princesses: Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, and Britney Spears. Amy Winehouse’s soul and vulnerability also inspire me, as does Lorde’s. I look up to Beyonce in every way from her talent to her work ethic to her kindness, and I think Rihanna is pretty bad, something else I aspire to be.

What are some of your future goals in your music career?

Being an independent artist is great, it gives you complete control and creative freedom; however, since I am fairly new to this industry, I would think I would benefit from signing with a label that could guide and fund my future endeavors. I plan to release a full EP one day, followed by an album, and my ultimate goal is to tour. Performing has always been my favorite part of acting, dancing, modeling and singing is no exception.

Now on to your release, “Rendezvous.” What inspired this song?

After a friend showed me my ex’s birthday post with his new girlfriend, I burst into tears and calculated our relationship overlap. Although they tried, my friends couldn’t comfort me, so I started writing. Starting out as an emotion-fueled journal, 45 minutes later I had a complete song, which I took to my good producer friend who turned the sad ballad into a happy bop. I couldn’t resist the irony of releasing it on Valentine’s Day.

What is “Rendezvous” in your own words about?

“Rendezvous” offers a glimpse into the mind of a heartbroken girl, where her ex is permanently residing. It’s a tragedy when the love of your life leaves you for another girl, and no matter how hard you try to get the images out of your mind, all you can think about is that they are together on that honeymoon. Meanwhile, our protagonist is improving herself, hoping to rekindle the flame with her former lover. Sadly it’s pointless as he “stopped too fast and fell” [for someone else] too soon;” however, as she zooms out, she realizes that the monumental heartbreak tormenting her is just a blip in the grand plan of her life, nothing more than a “Rendezvous” with much more to follow.

How did the music video for “Rendezvous” come about? What was your take on the video?

The concept initially started when I connected the 80s-esque beat of the song with Jane Fonda’s aerobic video era of the 80s. From there, I started thinking about crime passionnels. I was reminded of Stephen King’s “Misery,” a story that follows a zealous former nurse who nurses her all-time favorite author after his near-fatal car accident. When he lets her read his latest manuscript, in which he kills her favorite character, the caretaker loses her shit by stumbling upon him and then forcing him to make a version to her liking. She’s a good person at heart with her version of true love for her kidnapper, it’s just buried deep, deep under her psycho, and I like that. For those unfamiliar with the “Hot Crazy Matrix”, it is essentially a scale of how crazy a woman can be relative to how hot she is (e.g. a 9 hot can be a 7 crazy but equals “woman material”, while a 6 hot + a 7 crazy equals a “no go”). With that in mind, I thought of Barbie, the doll who sets unreasonable standards of beauty believed to represent the “perfect woman.” Well, if she’s a 10/10, that b*tch is probably batsh*t! Enter the general “Barbie” motif of the music video. Since Barbie is known for her countless careers, it seemed like a no brainer to have an 80s Aerobic Barbie along with a Nurse Barbie and finally a 50s housewife Barbie who was tired of keeping her mouth shut. . Freaky, I know, but that’s just my opinion.

What message do you hope fans take away from your music and from “Rendezvous?”

Emotions are transient. The heartbreak that seems insurmountable now will pass with time. I also hope to provide perspective and remind listeners that they will have several great loves in life. Let go of the pain of the last one so they can open their hearts to the next.

What has been one of your proudest moments in your music career to date?

When I conceived, co-choreographed and directed my first music video, then watched the views soar to 20K. I felt quite proud, and it was extremely rewarding.

What do you think are the biggest lessons you’ve learned so far?

Preface: Thank you to my patient musician friends who take the time to explain and guide me, you are all genuine. The most basic, yet pretty important lesson I’ve learned so far is that it’s imperative to mix and master a song… in that order (oops).

What’s next for you? Are you working on future projects that we should keep an eye out for?

Although I have written and recorded an entire EP, I plan to release singles with visuals for now until I have a concrete intention for my new-found career.

Where can we follow you on social media?

Follow this link to all my socials, along with a GoFundMe set up to raise money for Sad Girls Club, a nonprofit that aims to provide therapy to women who otherwise couldn’t afford it.

Read more music press releases at Cliché
Image provided by Lauren Forge

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