Thursday, February 18, 2016

10 Questions For: Rennata


We are very proud to present another great interview! And "proud" is, indeed, the proper word to describe our feeling, since we had an amazing talk with one of the most talented artists of the music scene in Macedonia. She was our song of the week and, later, ranked in our list of the best songs of 2014 – can there be any doubt of how much we love her work? These are our 10 questions for Rennata:

Sounds European!: Every artist has their own references. What about yours? Who were your idols when you were growing up? And who are your current ones? Who inspires your work as a singer?

Rennata: I grew up listening to Céline Dion, Mariah Carey, Sade, George Michael, then Destiny's Child, Christina Aguilera, No Doubt and so many other artists. I'm a child of the '90s. Born in the most remarking era of pop and R&B music. The artists I have already mentioned above were the defining moment for me to realize what purification of music really sounded like to me. I still grow with these musicians! All these artists, including Beyoncé now as a solo performer, have inspired me first of all as a human being, with their actions and personalities embracing the world, and then with their spectrum of music.
I experiment with my music, trying to find the sound that resembles my personality, everything that I am in a different timeline. My music is inspired on everything that is real: real feelings and moments I've been through. I share the good times and the painful moments I've experienced. The upcoming singles will be even more honest and real, from some defining private moments. I'm willing to give you so much more than just a piece of me.

SE!: When did you start singing? And how were your first steps into the music scene? You took part of many festivals during your childhood. Can you name some of them? How do you remember those experiences? What were the most important things you learned at such an early age?

R: I was around six years old. I used to sing all the time, and I mean it: ALL THE TIME (lol). My family and closest family friends would ask me to sing something for them, because anyone could notice how passionate I was about it. I had my deodorant in my hand, substitute for the microphone, and I was putting on a show at that moment with outfits and stuff. My mother noticed that I actually got in that role so deep, and got my grandfather buying me a real mic. I was the happiest girl in the world. I almost collapsed! That day is still a fresh memory in my head. I was pretty young, but I knew that this was going to be the journey I was about to take on.
A year later, I starred on a music show for children called Sitel Bambini, where we performed our songs. I was seven when I recorded my first song ever in a studio. Well, that was a big thing for me. I was singing on a couple of more shows until the [National Final for] Junior Eurovision Song Contest happened. I remember being in front of the camera for the first time, I had no fear, no stress, unlike my family (lol)... I was excited, but I was calm and very focused. Back then, I told my mother: "I want to be a singer, like for real". I wanted to be on that stage. I felt free, I still do. It's love at first sight after all. You know why you got brought to this world. Everything makes sense. It's an amazing feeling that still captivates me.

SE!: You also took part of the Macedonian National Final for the 2003 Junior Eurovision. What memories do you keep from that event? Have you ever considered on participating on the adult Eurovision?

R: I have to mention before I go on with this question. My mother was the person that I got through every single audition, and any showcase in my life actually. She has believed in me since a very young age and she has been my foundation, my ultimate support through good and bad. I am who I am, and I am where I am, mostly because of her love and just for always being there for me. We went together to the audition for Junior Eurovision. I got elected, out of 1,000 kids, into the final 15. She's my lucky charm.
For the contest, I was in a female group with two other talented and gorgeous girls. It was something new for the three of us. We were so caught up in the whole euphoria! We started having dance rehearsals, vocal practice, making matching outfits for the show. In our minds, we were the Destiny's Child (lol). We didn't end up winning, but we shared an amazing experience, learned how to deal with teamwork and got producers working with us at such a young age (almost 14). I remember ending up in tears with the girls because it all had to end, of course, and there was a little disappointment on our faces – taking the fact we didn't win, but worked so hard on the performance. But, no hard feelings in the end, it was a huge motivation and a lesson on how to keep patient for the things that are not ending in your most desired way. About the adult one, I'm not really focused right now, because it's the people's choice. If I get elected, I want it to be the word of my people that's going to be the last.

SE!: We know that, besides singing, you have been exploring some other professional areas, such as studying and – more recently – modelling. Can you tell us a bit about these activities? How do you combine all of this and music in your life? Is any of them a favorite of yours?

R: I've been studying languages, Croatian language and literature, and Spanish for a year. That's one of the many passions in my life. Talking about modelling, I have never been a model. Every single photoshoot I have ever done was for the needs of my professional music career, for new singles or just announcing a new project. I have some stylish "model" photoshoots for Drama Studio, one of the best designer clothing brands in Macedonia, owned by my personal stylist, Ivana Knez. Sometimes, we want to pull those photos out, because we feel the moment of creativity with such a unique print and we want to express ourselves in a different way. But always with some codes that are meant to be decoded, or not? (lol)

SE!: Your first singles were in Macedonian, but your most recent ones are in English. Why did you change? Do you think English can appeal to a broader audience? Is it a definite change, or can we still see some work in Macedonian?

R: Before I got offered to make songs for a broader audience, I actually had only one song released officially in Macedonian, and another one unofficially. But when I had to focus on the international music market with the label we worked on those songs, SkyEye Ent., we had to put the Macedonian versions on standby. I promised my fans that I would release songs in Macedonian too and finally the time has come. I'll be working in parallel, both in English and Macedonian. It's a huge challenge to me and I feel so happy. I just can't wait for the next projects. I've already started, but I won't say a word until the singles are officially released in the Balkans and all around the world.

"I don't know the level of success I'm about to reach, but one thing I know: I like the view from the top" (Picture: official Facebook page)

SE!: Balkan pop music is often very influenced by folkloric instruments. However, your singles go beyond it. They sound very international, very connected to what the worldwide pop scene is offering. Is it an objective of yours when making music? How would you describe your own music?

R: Having some folkloric instruments is a part of our culture in Macedonia. It's a tradition, a way of life. That's something historical and a great treasure for my country. It's true that with pop music, even dance and every other genre of music, you need to experiment and improvise. I tried to bring that folkloric sound and arrangement with the producer Zoran Aleksic, who produced every single you've had the chance to listen, for example "Trust your feelings" back in 2014. We made it, and it sounded perfect. That's a mark for our music, for the future sound, and people liked it a lot, which is the greatest pleasure for a singer/songwriter and a producer.
I never plan how the next single should sound, but I'm wide awake when it comes to listening to some new singles that are hitting the top charts, catching what's in at the moment, so I can think about what would be the next chapter or level of music that I want to listen and present to the world. I find myself looking into the future. I'm working on that vision and sound now, because I feel like people used to know me just by the pop/dance tracks that I do. But I want more. That's just a small part of my capacity and personality. I want to surprise myself again. That's how "West side story" came along. Different than any other song I've sung. I love that sound. That's so me! But let's see what happens next.

SE!: Some of your songs have made it abroad, being played in radios around Europe. What was your reaction when you got to know of this? Also, you were the first Macedonian singer ever to have a VEVO channel. How does it feel to have achieved all of this, specially still being very young? And looking forwards, what do you dream to reach in your career?

R: If I believe in something, I go for it all the way down. When I heard "Time, time" for the first time, there was a strange feeling inside of me. Like strange in a positive way. It felt so new, so catchy, so fun. The final version was the "thing" that I was waiting for at that time. I experienced the success of the song firstly in my mind – I could foresee the moment, the reactions. The song had the same impact I was hoping for with the crowd and with the radio stations across Macedonia, Turkey, Italy, Poland, Germany, Romania, Indonesia. "Time, time" was distributed over 7,000 radio stations all over the world with other world hit songs performed by the biggest stars. Rennata was among Ne-Yo, Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé, thanks to the executive producer of The Coca Cola World Chart Show, Mark "The Shark" Brower. That was the life-changing moment.
After all that, the signing with some labels and producers in the UK and Italy came along, for distribution and broadcasting. MTV Adria and Balkanika Music Television, the hugest music televisions in the Balkans, gave their full support too. I remained focused, but also pretty excited. It drives my constant motivation for even greater success.
VEVO was an affirming moment in my career, as it is a certified label with certified artists having their channels. I became a part of the family, which was a great opportunity for my music to become even more heard. I'm glad that all of this happened to me. Honestly, I still feel like I haven't achieved anything yet. It keeps me on ground and thirsty for more by working like an absolute beginner. I'm not dreaming anymore, I woke up in time. This is my reality, my life and I will keep going further. I have the whole universe on my side, I got nothing to worry about, only creating and bringing happiness. I don't know the level of success I'm about to reach, but one thing I know: I like the view from the top.

SE!: What are your professional projects for the near future? What can your fans expect for 2016?

R: This year, I'll be putting my effort into releasing albums in English and Macedonian. Many shows, performances, having a creative team who works for Versace and Cavalli for the artistic covers of the projects, collaborations, working with different producers. Levelling things up. :)

SE!: If you could choose anyone, who would be some Macedonian and international artists you'd like to collaborate with?

R: I would love to do something remarkable with Tavitjan Brothers, also known for being the biggest music ambassadors of Macedonia worldwide. I would love to see myself in a duet song with Céline Dion and Sade too. That would be nothing more than a childhood dream come true.

SE!: We would like to post a song of yours to close this interview. What is your favorite song of yourself, and why?

R: I won't hold it back, without any doubt. Definitely "West side story". This song is very dear to me, and it's a very private form of saying "I lived that, that's my personal story". I wrote it when I actually felt every single word about this man I fell in love with. It's the glorification of one love story that happened and remained alive no matter the long distance between the two of us. It's like you can always meet halfway when someone makes you that comfortable to sing about it. I know that anyone could relate to it, that's why it's my favorite.

We would like to thank our Macedonian friend and collaborator Ace for helping us with the research which allowed us to develop this interview.

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