Emerging Singers and Songwriters Part 1: Eleise Renea

Hello, Voice of Frisco readers! Today I come to you with a series: Emerging Singers and Songwriters. Throughout this short series, I will be conducting interviews with people passionate about music, and finding out about their passions and why music is important to them. Today’s interview will be with local Eleise Renea, a singer from Washington State who currently resides just outside of Fort Worth. During our interview, we discussed her mission with music and how important it is to her.

Hello! What is your name?

Hi! I’m Eleise Renea, and I am a singer/songwriter that is passionate about empowering others through music and testimony.

Can you tell me a little bit about how you became interested in music growing up?

I grew up in a very musical family. I have 4 siblings and they all are musicians, so growing up in that environment music was just a natural thing, like belting Adele at 3 years old. Music was my life. I knew that music was what I wanted to do when I was older and that was the only thing I was really passionate about. So as I got older, I experienced life in high school and started becoming a woman, analyzing what that means for me and my self-discovery. I analyzed who I am supposed to be and who I am outside of my family. I grew up in a Christian home. My parents were pastors for my whole life. My mom was a worship leader, so she was always singing and writing. I got a lot of my writing from her. That was the basis of where my writing really started. 

I grew up in Washington State in Vancouver, but I moved to Texas in 2019. That is when I really started taking music more at a professional level and not just as a hobby. I got to meet other artists in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I had just graduated high school and in that season of life, I learned so much. 

My vision for my music is, to be honest, real and vulnerable. When I was going through really really rough times, music was my ride or die. I don’t know what I would do without it, so I wanna be that person for other people. I want people to hear my music and relate and provide hope for them, just through life experiences and being real. There are too many musicians who are not vulnerable and that has kind of taught the world that vulnerability is scary, yet you’re the most powerful when you’re vulnerable. 

In this world, so much is going on all the time with technology and social media, which can make people feel alone yet also close with people. Yet, it’s a false world where it is just false acceptance. People are still so alone, even with being close through social media. It’s a compromise of relationships and vulnerability. I think being vulnerable will hopefully allow other people to feel that they can be vulnerable with themselves because that’s where they can find what they’re looking for. 

Where are you looking to go in the future with your music career?

Currently, I am just trying to get my name out there and get as many gigs as I can. I actually just dropped out of college so that I can focus on music. College might be something that I do later on but right now I want to center and prioritize what’s most important in my life. I wanna meet more people and spread who I am. It’s not easy, but I just got more musical equipment. I want to make an album and maybe a vlog. I kind of want to do an entrepreneurial thing, which isn’t just music, more of just a place for people to interact with me. I believe if you do something too soon it might not be as great as doing it at the right time. So just be patient. I am not really sure what my future is going to hold, but if I can impact one person then that means a lot more to me than stadium lights. I want to create a family fanbase and then the rest will just happen.

What are some singers/artists that you look up to?

Adele, for sure. I think that she is one of the best songwriters out there. There are a lot of good songwriters, but I love the way that she is able to be so open and vulnerable and deep. It’s impactful to not just her and her story but to everyone living different lives. It’s very relatable. As well as Nora Jones; she is amazing. I grew up in a Jazz background, and I was in a competitive jazz choir in high school, which struck my future love for jazz. Jazz has no rules and kind of breaks the rules in music in a sense. I strive to do that. Amy Winehouse, too, I love her, she’s somebody that I have really drawn from. The last one I would say is somebody named Keaton Henson. He is a singer/songwriter from the UK. His music got me out of really dark times, and he is probably one of the most influential musicians I have ever looked up to. His music is a safe place for me, still to this day. He thinks out of the box musically, which is very inspiring to me. 

What genre of music would you say that you create?

As far as the genre of my music, I really have my own separate genre. For now, I would just like to be a singer/songwriter and a mixture of all different things. I take some stuff from R&B, but really just all of the genres.

How does religion play a role in your songwriting?

That was a really hard journey. Growing up in church I always knew about God and knew the Bible. I basically lived at the church, but as I got into high school and started to become an adult, I had to make the decision on what I believe. My own personal experiences and beliefs were different from my parents. So I had to figure out what I wanted to do.

Growing up was different when I was young. I had experienced some sexual abuse and so I felt like the black sheep of my family. I had to grow up and figure out who God is to me. For a while, I really hated God and didn’t want anything to do with him, and I was mad because I didn’t understand who he was nor who I was. My music was a place where I could let down my walls and be real with myself first. It was a safe place where I could actually get mad at God. I could be writing songs and end up in my feels and just start yelling at God saying “why me?” and asking him all of the questions that everybody has asked at one point.

My music is really connected to my faith. God talked to me through my music and showed me who he was, leading me to know who I am today. My belief that Jesus sacrificed himself for our sins helped me fully believe that he saved me. I would honestly not be alive if it wasn’t for him, which can be hard to understand for people who don’t know or aren’t religious. God saved me 100% and got me out of addictions and taught me what real love is, a love that’s different from what the world can give. Love that the world can’t take away.

There’s a story in the bible in the Old Testament where Moses is bringing the Israelites to the promised land, and my music has been that picture of grace and redemption. God showed me what it means to get to the promised land. He answered what it means to be a lover of Christ or a Christian or a Jesus follower. Through my music and being open, God showed me so much, as well as how much he loves me and what a merciful father and creator he is.

However, when I perform, I’m not a Christian artist. I am an artist that is a Christian or a Jesus follower, but I wouldn’t say that my music is Christian. I would say that Jesus is for everybody, and God created art so it really doesn’t matter what people’s belief systems are. In my music, I don’t write alone. Jesus is in my music; He is in my breath and everything I do I want to project Jesus rather than me. Without him I wouldn’t be anything, life wouldn’t have meaning, rather it would just be a lot of struggles with no end, no light at the end of the tunnel.

When people listen to my music, I believe and I pray that they will feel the Holy Spirit and that they would spark curiosity on who Jesus is. I hope that they would be able to ask questions for themselves so that Jesus would show them. People don’t need to be preached to all the time, either. People can listen to my music, and I hope that they can find Him within themselves, even if it’s not what they need at the moment.

Did your songwriting stem from poetry at all?

I started writing poetry in 8th grade. We had a poetry segment in our English class for an entire semester and I fell in love with it. I wrote poetry that kind of went hand in hand with songwriting. I have been writing songs since I could talk, and I used to have little notebook pieces that I wrote from when I was like 10 years old talking about boyfriends and stuff. It’s so fun to look back at all of those songs and to see where I am now compared to them. It is really cool when I have written songs and they didn’t mean too much at that time, but then a few months later, that song became applicable. That song was perfect for my current life, and it’s so interesting. It’s almost like I’m foreshadowing what is going to happen, which gives me the ability to stand tall and keep going.

I love to play with words so much, like lyrics in my music. In my music, every lyric means something. Maybe I’m being too deep or too dramatic but that’s just who I am as a songwriter. In fact, every single word has a meaning, I don’t just sing things lightly, I really mean what I am saying, and I feel what I am saying. Somebody once said that my songwriting is like a wildfire, which really spoke to me (in a good way) because he was saying there are no boundaries; it’s unexpected. That is something that I wish I could do all the time. I would love for my music to be that thing that sparks visions and passion in other people.

When farmers are getting ready for a new season of crops, they have to intentionally set fires so that they can see roots and soil and so I feel like that is the struggle of life. However, it’s not like something is going into flames for a bad thing, rather renewing something old. Going through those hard seasons of my life were those wildfire moments and that soil was revealed so that I could have a life again, leaving wildflowers, both being uncontrollable and beautiful. That’s kind of like the metaphor that I use with my life.

What do you write about?

I write about love and loss, but not all of my songs are crazy deep. I’ve written a few about love in my life and family, not really anything specific, just what I’m passionate about at that moment. I guess I just want people to know that they are seen and heard. The best way that people can support my music is by following me on social media (@eleiserenea). I love when people interact with me over social media and I love interacting with others. There is a lot to look forward to with my music, so I’m excited to see what happens.

Thank you so much!

Thank you for this interview! 

So, there you guys have it. To support Eleise through her music journey, follow her on Insta and other social media. Thank you so much for reading!