Following the release of her impressively unique and empowering new single Body, we caught up with singer and songwriter Rhema Renee, to find out more about the song, her journey so far as a young artist, and her dreams and ambitions going forwards. Here’s how it went.
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Hi Rhema – great to be able to chat with you, how are things where you are right now?
Things are going great! I’m taking my time with everything and learning more about myself every day. Life is teaching me more now than ever before.
Congrats on the release of Body – a really interesting, unique alternative pop song. How did you come up with the song, what was the first line that came to you?
Thank you so much! I remember I was in the studio with my producer and he was playing me a few of his beats and this one stood out to me. At first when I got the song it was completely different than what is it now. It was basic, raw and needed work. I was not satisfied with it so I just kept listening to it and just started writing a new song. I can’t even remember what is was before to be honest with you, but rewriting it gave me hope as an artist. It helped me learn that it’s not just about getting the song done, it’s about learning more about yourself through the process of making it. It became a song about positive body image and loving myself.
There’s a fine balance between poetry and personal anecdotes throughout this song. Do you read a lot of poetry or literature, or is this just the way you create naturally?
I feel like this is the way I create. I normally write songs about my experiences or about a popular issue. I also feel that my background has a lot to do with the way that I write. Sometimes people refer to me as an old soul because they say I write about things beyond my age.
Who have been your biggest inspirations musically in influencing such an unusual style?
I am inspired by many different things besides other people’s music but when music is my inspiration I like to get ideas from old and new music. People like Michael Jackson are timeless so he is one of my inspirations . Other artist who inspire me are Beyoncé, Queen Naija, Kiana Ledé, Jhené Aiko, H.E.R, Kehlani and many others.
There’s a big live-band, ‘Stomp’-esque sort of set-up to the song. Have you performed it live much, or if that’s not been possible this year – what do you have planned or imagine for a stage performance of the show?
I haven’t performed this song live yet because of the limits we have with the COVID pandemic. This song will need lots of dancers and bright lights and will need to be a big performance. The African beats in the background drive the energy of the song. When I sing this song live, I want this to be something exciting that will make people dance because they feel happy.
This song is all about body positivity, woman empowerment and to make people feel good about themselves.
How do you craft your songs generally, what’s your instrument of choice?
I just think about what I want the song to be and what vibe it gives off and that’s how I pick. Most of the time I start with a piano to match with the melody and then change it later.
What values do you hope to bring to the contemporary music scene?
I hope to bring diversity and empowerment to those who feel left out. I don’t want to make the same type of music all the time, I would prefer to switch it up and I know there are other people who feel the same way I do. Most of the time artist have to stay in a box and make the same type of music throughout their career but then they start to become a broken record. I want to normalize artists being different. Isn’t that what being creative is about? As artists we should always be able to evolve in our music as we evolve as people.
Given that you’re only 14 years old, what do you hope to do after you leave school?
I hope to be somewhere closer to my dreams. I know that in the end, everything will work out and will also push me more as an artist. I also hope to have made a difference in my community by helping them feel loved as I learn to love myself completely.
Is there anything else we should know?
I want you to know that I am growing more everyday and my next song will be even better than the last.
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Check out Rhema Renee on Instagram.