I will be releasing my debut album later this year. I've been playing with the idea of it being a completely acoustic record and if it ends up being that, I will most likely follow up the initial release with remix B sides. There will also be several big label releases with other artists in the electronic genre like David Vendetta, Moonbeam and Conjure One to name a few. I just came back from Moscow where I co-wrote a few tracks with Micah Sherman and Oliver Schmitz which I'm really excited about. There are also a few large collaborations in the works which I cannot discuss yet, but you will find out soon enough
I've always been a fan of electronic music. A few years back a European DJ approached me and asked if we could collaborate on a track. I listened to the mix and instantly had vocal ideas for it. I had never written topline prior to that, and always utilized a more classic approach to songwriting, meeting my collaborators in a studio or at my place and hashing out ideas together. Collaborating with someone 8,000 miles away definitely opened up my horizons. I quickly learned how to take a finished mix and lyrically adapt to it, build on it and construct vocal melodies, verses and hooks on a semi-completed platform. In the beginning it used to take me days to adapt to a melody. Today if I listen to a mix that I strongly vibe with I usually finish writing the vocal melody and sometimes half the lyrics by the end of the first listening session. As a vocalist and songwriter, what attracts me to electronic music is the lack of format, which gives me a lot of freedom to experiment both vocally and lyrically. Sometimes you'll take a mix that allows for a few verses and a hook, sometimes there's only room for a hook, and it’s never the same.
Q. For the rest of the year, what can we look forward to from Deniz Reno?!
This year has been very busy for me, over the last six months I've been in the studio working on my solo projects, as well as collaborating with other artists in the electronic genres. I've co-written a debut full length record with my good friend and colleague Josh Goldman, which we plan on recording in Bermuda this summer. Aside from filling the roles of vocalist and songwriter I've also been getting increasingly involved in the production aspect of my work. Being fortunate enough to be surrounded by some of the best producers in the business, it's been a very enriching experience.
Q. It’s now the middle of 2014 and we’re sure you’ve had a lot going on so far. Tell us more about the projects you’ve been working on over the last six months?
Q. You’re well known for your House genre projects with several major collaborations and support. As a vocalist, what attracted you to Electronic Music?
"I've always been a fan of electronic music"
I've always been inspired by voices that can convey sincere and uninhibited emotion. Interestingly enough, behind every such voice there's always been a very complex life, oftentimes ridden with challenges and/or perseverance. Since I was a child, I've been inspired by the voices and stories of Ray Charles, Jeff Buckley, Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Patricia Kaas, Lisa Fischer, Whitney Houston, Sting, Ella Fitzgerald, Lisa Gerrard, Sarah Vaughn. In the recent years I had listened to the music of Amy Winehouse and think that the music industry has suffered a great loss when she passed because everyone knew she was going to be up there with artists like Ella, Etta and Sarah Vaughn. I also love Joyce Bryant. She was a jazz singer back in the 40s and 50s and although she never garnered the kind of fame these other ladies did, she had one of the most incredible voices I've ever had the pleasure of listening to
Q. You’re also a very versatile artist, with several multi-genre projects, most notably your track “The One” with Marsbeing. Do you feel a need to prove that your voice can go far beyond electronic music?
Q. Do you see yourself going even further into this genre?
I definitely see a lot of opportunities opening up to me in this genre. I initially caught the attention of my collaborators because I don't have the type of voice that you would expect to find in electronic music, I've been told it’s the type of voice you'd most likely find at a smoked up New York Jazz lounge or a Sunday morning church service in New Orleans. In this case I guess opposites really do attract.
Q. Your deep vocals have a very sensual appeal, similar to artists such as Sade and Tony Braxton. Is it a pleasure to be compared to such artists or are you seeking your own identity?
It's definitely an honor to have your name mentioned next to such extraordinary talent. Any artist will also tell you that as much as it is an honor, it can also turn into a personal cliché and ultimately every artist is an individual who wants people to see them for their own unique style and contributions. I won't deny that there is a signature deep, husky vocal tonality that I share with only a handful of other women in the music industry, but if the massively successful careers these ladies have garnered are any indication, I'm in pretty great company.
Q. Which artists have always inspired you and why?
Q. As an artist, person, woman… what is your ultimate goal?
As an artist, I am very grateful for the opportunities that have been given to me and hopefully will continue to be blessed with being able to perfect my craft as a vocalist and songwriter and be able to connect with people through my music. As a person, I'd like to go far beyond serving my personal and professional interests, and devote more time to philanthropy. I'm very passionate about human rights, I think every person on this planet regardless of their gender, race or sexual preference, deserves to feel safe and supported by their peers and environment, I feel that's a basic human right that's unfortunately been violated in many places on this planet and I would like to use any influence I've got or will have, to contribute to positive changes in this regard. As a woman, I would like to empower other young women (and men) to believe in themselves and to follow their passions, and to share their success with others. And of course I would like to someday be a mother to intelligent, responsible and compassionate human beings who will hopefully share my love for the arts
I've never really felt the need to prove myself vocally because I had initially entered the electronic genre as soul singer with years of experience of performing acoustic sets. My collaboration with Marsbeing was probably the closest I've come to achieving the balance between electronic music and soul. Acoustically, it's probably my favorite release thus far, and it's been able to find fans from both electronic and more traditional genres. If anything I feel the need to prove to myself that it is possible to make music that draws in people with completely different musical tastes, but who can all agree on its authenticity
Both of my parents are sculptors and visual artists and when I was a young child I was also heavily involved in the art world professionally from a very young age. Today, although music has taken a bit of precedence in my life, I still use art as a means of expression and a way to recharge my creative batteries so to speak. I also have a bit of a museum obsession. When I travel to a new city, the first place you are likely to see me visit is the local art museum or a gallery
Q. Tell us a fun fact about yourself
Interview by Keran Look Loy
Q. Last words for those in need of inspiration
I don't believe that any person can possibly dream of doing or becoming something without innately having the means of achieving it. The keys that open the doors to success in my opinion are: discipline, knowing how and when to check your ego, humility, respect for yourself and others and the ability to learn from every situation, good or bad and use it to propel yourself further into the direction you would like to go. Whatever you do, you have to give it 100%, always on good days and bad, especially the bad, and you cannot depend or expect others to carry your weight or project onto them the responsibility for your success and wellbeing. Be responsible for your passions, plant the seeds and give them time to grow. You will always find help and the means of achieving your goals if you make them about more than just yourself, so as much as you expect from the world, learn to give back to it.
"It's definitely an honor to have your name mentioned..."
Photos by Yasu Nakajima