Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Reni Lane: The Evolution of Pop

By Gamal Hennessy

On the eve of her first album release, up and coming artist Reni Lane discusses Tastemakers, wardrobe malfunctions and the King of Pop.

Vital Information
Hometown: Corvallis, Oregon
Latest Project: "Ready" scheduled for an early 2010 release
Next New York Performance:
August 21st at Le Poisson Rouge

NYN: I got a chance to catch your show over at Citrine. Do you always walk through the crowd and jump on furniture when you sing?

RL: (laughter) I’ve always been kind of a tom boy. Climbing on things is second nature to me. Once I started performing it seemed like a fun way to connect with the crowd and give them a fun time. Now I climb on furniture instead of trees.

NYN: Have you ever taken a bad spill or had a wardrobe malfunction during an on stage climb?

RL: (laughter) I’ve never had a wardrobe malfunction. I wear underwear when I perform so I should be safe. I haven’t fallen yet and I don’t really worry about it. If I fall, it’s just another fun experience for the crowd, as long as I don’t kill myself.

NYN: You get to perform all over the East Coast. How is a New York crowd different from a Philly or DC crowd?

RL: When I play for crowds in Philly or DC, it feels like I’m playing for regular, down to earth grass roots fans. When I play in New York I feel like I’m playing for the media, the PR companies and the tastemakers. It sometimes feels strange performing for people who have fabulous jobs and fabulous lives that I can’t even aspire to, but I love it. New York is the best city in the world to perform because of the energy here. Besides, if you don’t reach the tastemakers, it’s that much harder to reach the grass roots fans.

NYN: You have connections to both a small independent label and a major music company. In an era of digital distribution, major record stores closing down and the flood of competition, how do you plan to succeed?

RL: There are definitely benefits to being attached to a label, but I always try to remember that there are things that a label can do for you and things that it can’t. A label can make sure you get in front of the right people, but you still have to perform in a way that connects to the audience. A label can get you access to the best studio and producers, but it can’t give you something to say. I know the only way I’m going to succeed is to make songs that appeal to people, perform them as well as I can and establish a connection with the audience that lasts.

NYN: You’re about to drop a pop album during a time when a major pop star has died. What kind of impact did he have on you when you were growing up?

When I was growing up in Oregon, the only music I had access to was classical music, Disney music, Duran Duran and Michael Jackson. His albums helped define what music was to me. When I moved to the East Coast, and started high school, his music was one of the few things that the different cliques could agree on. Kids like me who were different drew inspiration from his ability to use music to be accepted in spite of his differences. He was definitely one of my inspirations to start song writing.

NYN: And what kind of impact do you think his legacy will have on you? What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind when your career is over?

I think that MJ defined what a pop icon is. He was also a symbol for our obsession over the personal lives of celebrities and the media fascination with train wrecks. Hopefully his death will show the harmful effects that that type of relentless scrutiny can have on a person and on the people he comes in contact with. I’m hoping that there will be a swing back to focusing on the music instead of the imagery and the spectacle. If I can be a part of that change I think that’s the best legacy that I can ask for.

Have fun

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great interview. I really like her answers to the questions! She seems down-to-earth, and really cool.