Renao Carves Out a Tender Moment of Comfort on 'Holding My Breath' [Q&A]
With only a handful of tracks to his name, Renao is a singer, songwriter and producer that has developed a pensive, longing R&B sound that feels best heard under the dull light of a full moon or warming fire. "Holding My Breath," a beautiful ballad confirms that this former Olympian hopeful has settled into a nuanced and subtle, complex but approachable sound following his earlier breakout success with his debut album "Nobody." Curious to know more about this international talent, we reached out with our patented ten questions.
Ones To Watch: Who is Renao?
Renao: Hi, it’s me! I am just a kid whose traveling around trying figure out how to make music.
What is "Holding My Breath" all about?
I wrote "Holding My Breath" at a time where I was working myself really hard trying to find out who I was as an artist which can be frustrating... I had to slow down and strip things back to making music in my bedroom. I caught myself actually holding my breath to try focus in on the things I missed from home, all the comforts, family, friends and most importantly my Mom. At that point it had been two years since I had been back to India to see my family so "Holding My Breath" is all about finding comfort regardless of being separated from things you love through being honest and vulnerable.
This such a beautiful, lusciously delicate song, how do you settle on the composition?
I wrote the original demo just with me and my guitar. Just that alone really stuck with me and I couldn't bring myself to add much more production.
Any cowriters or collaborators? Who produced the track?
It was just me on this one. To me the sonics and the production are just as important as the song writing so its was cool for me to show that side.
This is a whole different vibe from your breakout track "Nobody," is that a thematic change? Evolution of your sound?
I think everyone has different shades to them, and it's important to acknowledge that. Although HMB and "Nobody" are definitely different vibes they are both connected through the vulnerability of the songs.
Can we expect more of this style in the future, potentially on an upcoming EP or album?
Potentially, yes, but I am hoping to not have to write more sad songs than I need to haha! But I am dropping an EP in April and it's got all kind of different styles on it.
Besides this excellent single what else should we be on the lookout for?
My debut EP From the South comes out April 29. Its my first project and its a combination of songs made by me in my bedroom and with my friends in cool studios. I have been working on this project way before I posted "Nobody," and the response from people gave me the courage to show people different sides to me as well as the different lanes that I want to work in, I can't wait to keep going.
What's inspiring you right now outside of music?
Fashion has always been a big way of how I express myself... even before I was writing songs. It will always be a part of what inspires me and makes me feel a similar way to how music does. Nature has always inspired me as well, before I really know how I feel about a song I have to go on a walk out in nature and while listening to it.
It's finally spring, do the seasons affect your writing at all?
This is something I have been thinking about a lot recently. The lyrical content doesn't change too much for me but the sounds and production style definitely shift.
Who are your Ones To Watch?
I have been really enjoying Dora Jar's music, the variety and consistency is amazing. Allen Haley who is another independent artist whose debut single is great and I think he has a really exciting future.