J'RENA dishes on music career and latest singles, which we consider, certifiably #DOPE
The hip and sassy vocalist, J’Rena visited Charlotte, NC during Tourney weekend for CIAA festivities. She was set to perform at a few venues, but not before giving us the skinny on her latest ventures and experiences within the music industry.
In every essence of the word “Preachers Kid" or "PK kid," J’Rena grew up singing in a church with her siblings.
The Georgia native didn’t totally denounce her gospel background when she decided to forgo a musical calling on her own terms.
She's somewhat a divergent who wanted to sing with unshackled melodies and a soulful rapture.
For J’Rena, support from the parentals is a no-brainer. Even though she went from lead signer [on the choir], to doing secular music, it was still an easy transition… “Um, it took my mother a while. In her mind, she felt that if you sing gospel, the Lord will be happy,” J’Rena laughed.
“Now, since I’m writing songs, we connect on that level because she loves poetry. I let her listen to some of my songs that are more on the poetic side, and that’s how she gets involved.
I get my vocals from my dad, and if I do a run, he cheers. He doesn’t care where it is. Whether it’s R&B, Gospel, or Soul music, my dad doesn’t care. He’s going to be there.
All the PK Kids that I know, we’re kind of rebels. I mean, come-on! We know our roots!” she exclaimed cheerfully.
J’Rena’s nonconforming nature is the reason that she, along with two high school friends and familial, garnered the interest of independent label, “Outhouse Entertainment.”
The songstress said that she didn’t think the [singing] group was ready for stardom. After performing for a few years, the company, as well as the group, dismantled. J’Rena moved on to bigger and better, though she doesn’t regret those humble beginnings at all.
Industry labels target younger people, and J’Rena gets that now... “The label wants puppets because it’s easier to control a younger person who is hungry and down for whatever. You could pretty much tell them anything and they will go for it, so it’s easier to handle them [young people]."
With that fact in mind, the singer continued to hit the scene, still making music and jumping on tracks, writing for people that needed a song. Her unremitting drive seized the attention of Grammy-winning producer, Anthony Dent.
This is where the story goes downhill… Dent introduced J’Rena and sib, Rae (background singer for Jonelle Monae), to L.A Reid, who auditioned and signed them with Island Def Jam.
One year of singing background and performing with the likes of Yung Jezzy, and countless others, Def Jam released the group because of indifference's that they just couldn’t manage.
“Oh, I was starving then, I had to figure out my next move in life,” she confirmed.
Although devastated, J’Rena couldn’t and would not walk away from her singing career—yeah, she chucked up the deuces to the large label; however, not to the craftsmanship of music and definitely not her talent for writing.
“It’s all about your hustle and your grind—that’s how I began writing songs. Any person that I knew, I would ask for permission to write on their track. Basically, I had to prove myself. “
This awakened the savage beast, who rested at her boot-heels, the resolute stallion that refused to anchor her life where she was… J’Rena took off.
Because of a great friend, the artist was given one more opportunity in the never compromising industry, where she won a spot on “BET’s Dreamland” with music producers Drumma Boy and Jazzy Pha.
That big break opened the doors for where she is now.
J’Rena admits, that she was very hesitant trusting record labels after going through the motions when she was younger. “I started out in a group that took up pretty much of my life. I thought about that, and in my mind, I was going back-and-forth between having control, and if I should give up control over my career. I told myself that if there is balance within the opportunity, then I would do it [sign with another label].”
J’Rena is currently under Landmine Music Group. She worked with Los Vegaz, to create her latest single, "Bad Vibes." The song is a combination of riffs from Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison,” but with a reformed story-line, mixing sexy and upbeat with a nostalgic alto finish.
In fact, the song is one of many from her latest mix-tape, If The Shoe Fits, a sentimental blend of old-school, new-school, and Hip Hop verses.
Which is a spot-on description for the songs…
J’ Rena says her style is less neo soul and more R&B. “ I think I have too much edge. I think I have soulfulness in my voice which is more on the R&B side. As for the mix-tape, I think it’s more Hip Hop and R&B."
She can record and engineer her music, but prefers that someone else mix and master her beats professionally.
“I would say that I am not on yet. I’m not where I want to be, and I am still up-and-coming. I’m still creating a buzz. With the mix-tape, I used tracks that people were already familiar with, and I took it there to get their attention. I made it my version, and flipped all the songs to make it me. I’m just creating a buzz, and getting the attention of the people."
Speaking of her latest music, J’Rena did a rendition of “Pick Up The Phone,”
On the set for Pick Up The Phone
“I I actually like the original version of “Pick Up the Phone.” I was like, “But, what if I don’t want to pick up the phone?”
That thought gave me the green-light. I actually got the idea from the Vice President of Landmine.
It was important for the songstress to drop the mix-tape first. “Nobody knows that it’s from a solo artist. The mix-tape was just to let people know who I am, and when it’s time for the album, that’s going to be on another level, and another planet,” she said.
The artist plans to take this musical journey one day at a time, so stay tuned for her next round of sizzling mixes.
You can follow the singer on:
Youtube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyiL17xt6KsD7HsxXWNiIDA