We got to chat with artist, producer and multi-instrumentalist Lani Renaldo about her new single, “help!” out now on all steaming platforms. We ask Lani about the new single, her sound, musical influences, and tons more. Check it out below!
What can you tell us about your new single?
LR: “help!” is my latest single and I’m so proud of it. It’s a song I wrote during the pandemic. I was isolated with my thoughts and found myself needing more help than usual. Emotionally, I felt incredibly heavy going through a break up, dealing with mental health issues like anxiety and challenging my concept of gender. As someone who usually feels 100% in themselves, something was definitely off. I knew that I needed to ask for help and couldn’t find the words to do it, so I channeled those feelings into this song. I wrote it over the course of a day or two, produced it in my home studio and didn’t think hard about it. It’s a song that could’ve been super easy to overproduce and I kept it minimal, while also trying to sonically produce the feelings over being overwhelmed and drowning in your own emotions.
When people listen to your music, what are you hoping they get out of it?
LR: I hope that they feel confident that they aren’t alone! I also hope that they can find hope in my journey as an artist and queer, person of color and be inspired by my relentless authenticity. Overall, I just hope people like it! I take a lot of time to create music that I’m really proud of and that creates a really fun listening experience for my audience, so I hope they feel that and take away that there’s a lot of love poured into each track.
How would you describe the sound of your music?
LR: Alternative is the easiest answer. I think I pull from 80’s synths, 90’s drums….with a dash of pop/punk edge, vocally? Sometimes there’s some soul or R&B in there, but I listen to a ton of music so I don’t think I’m necessarily tied to the idea of genre.
Who would you say are some of your musical influences?
LR: I’ve been really into Kevin Parker (Tame Impala) as a producer lately, but Prince is definitely in there, I love Hayley Williams from Paramore, Carole King, Alabama Shakes, Andrew Watt and Louis Bell, Post Malone. I’m all over the place – haha!
Did you always know that music was something you wanted to pursue?
LR: Yes and no. It never clicked to me that music could be my job. I grew up around music and it was a constant force in my life whether that was at jazz camp, singing in school, choirs… I always enjoyed playing instruments and making music, especially with my friends, but it wasn’t until I was 16 and at GRAMMY camp, watching the level of depth there was within the music industry and the many different career pathways it has that I realized I could do it and then started taking it seriously. I would say that there have also been levels of which I examine how much I want to be in music and what that looks like. I’m happy making tunes for myself and the people that want to listen, I love that I’ve had a lot of opportunities for exposure and have been able to achieve a ton of my dreams / bucket list, but I think that my idea of music and the way we consume, perform and stay involved with it has become more personal and less about fame or recognition.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
LR: Focus on having a good song first! The accolades, fans, selling out tours can’t happen unless there is a song that resonates with people. That has generally been the case in history and though there are one off cases or viral Tik Tok songs, having a great song is far more valuable than any amount of followers or trend.
What is your favorite song to perform live?
LR: Oh man! “Nineteen” is really fun to perform live. It’s fun to see people that have been following my journey since the “fake happy” era. The song has such a fun throwback vibe and it’s a favorite of mine.
Can you describe your creative process when you’re writing new music?
LR: I try to stay in the song for as long as I possibly can! There’s something magical about being in the moment and I want to try and push myself to either get most, if not all of the song done. I use the notes app the most in my phone and am always jotting down ideas or lyrics. I’m often motivated by situations though.
What has been the best advice someone has given you about music?
LR: The message I hold close to my heart was actually given to me by my late drum teacher, Ndugu Chancler. He told me to “own my time” and I think about it often. I think it’s really important to value yourself and your art. Be your own biggest fan, believe in yourself and know when you aren’t being respected!
Stream “help!” here
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