The soulful and grooving sounds of Lydia Rene could best be described as classic feel good music. Listening to the R&B/Neosoul songstress, you’ll quickly catch yourself head bopping to the familiar sounds that hence at the vibes of artists like Jill Scott, Floetry and Ledisi.
The South Jersey native is fresh to the Los Angeles scene with only having been here since this past January after spending her time playing gigs around Philadelphia and elsewhere. “I’m getting used to L.A.,” she said laughingly when asked about her transition. “But the traffic, oh my gosh its unreal! However, I feel that there is a lot of opportunity and growth offered here and I like that L.A. is very music friendly.”
Growing up in a musical family where her father was a multi-faceted musician, Lydia Rene’s craft started to take shape early. “I started singing in the choir as a kid and my parents even have a tape of me singing a solo when I was three. Music has always been a large part of my family and being involved with music and playing piano from an early age has made music somewhat of a second nature for myself,” she said.
Despite a heavy influenced musical background, Lydia Rene didn’t initially see herself going down the path as an artist or professional musician. Receiving her degree in Fashion Design from Philadelphia University, becoming a designer was her initial vision for herself. “I’ve always been creative and started designing clothes when I was in high school and even began selling some of designs that were used for prom dresses,” she said. It wasn’t until later in college where she decided to bite the bullet and perform some of her material thanks to the encouragement of her friends. “I had bad stage fright,” she responded with a chuckle when asked why it took her awhile to perform.
Since then Lydia Rene has been a force to reckon with. Along with being a skilled pianist, she also has an accomplished background in songwriting, which has afforded her the opportunity of writing for some of the industry giants such as Toni Braxton. Recently performing in Taste of Soul Festival hosted by the Sentinel, the singer has continued to create traction. “Taste of Soul provided great exposure for myself and networking is always a plus, but what I really appreciated was how receptive the crowd was.”
In a more recent achievement, Rene was the winner of the LAMN Jam Urban Division that granted numerous rewards, but was also a more significant moment for the singer personally. “It was a very emotional moment for me,” she said. “After the third song I burst into tears, which isn’t a normal thing for me. I’ve become more of crier the older I get,” she stated jokingly. Rene described the win as a solidifying moment in her music career because it was reassurance that she had what it took to be successful, but more importantly that her music was relatable.
Being involved in an industry where image can surpass talent, sometimes there can be added pressure resulting in inauthenticity to reach mainstream success. “I put more pressure on myself more than anything, but I always believe in staying true to who you are. I feel that being true and honest is what resonates with people,” she said.
In the time where popular music and hip-hop have currently been dominating the industry, challenges as an R&B artist seem to be more prevalent than before.
As a Neo-soul/R&B artist, Rene felt that despite the shift in musical preference amongst the majority of people, music will always find its way to listeners. “ I think there is an audience for everyone,” she said. “I’m also open to trying other genres like EDM (Electronic Dance Music) or Pop, but I believe no matter the genre there is always someone willing to listen to you.”
With one live album under her belt, Lydia Rene’s current EP project “Vintage Heart” set to be released early next year will feature an array of material. Ranging from songs that make you want to put on your dancing shoes and step out, to more serious issues “Vintage Heart” will provoke emotion, which is what Rene says is most important. “The one thing I would want someone to take away from my music is the presence of a message and emotion,” she said. “Emotion comes from a very real place and I want people to know that there is someone who can relate to them in any given situation.”