The pandemic undoubtedly affected everyone in different ways, especially given its take-no-prisoners attitude towards keeping loved ones apart. Suffering at the hands of this precedent, Renao penned his emotive track “Holding My Breath”, inspired by his mother who he was unable to see for two years. Beginning with an uptempo guitar ballad blended with a melancholic undertone, the intro unexpectedly drops into the husky tones of Renao’s honeyed vocals. Thanks to his expert hand in production, full attention is drawn to the tracks soul-baring lyrics, in which the artist sings, “If I held my breath long enough, I could still feel my mother’s touch upon my skin”.
On the making of “Holding My Breath”, the Indian-born London-based newcomer explains, “This track was my first time sharing a song I had done 100% of… writing production, vocals. I wanted my vulnerability to come through on all three aspects. The EP was the start of laying the foundation of the vision I want to share through my music. I learnt so much through this process and it has inspired me. A lot to keep going.”
Speaking to the innate need within all of us to have the comfort and protection of our parents, Renao solidifies himself as an authentic and relatable musician — whose music is able to translate to a million different people with a million different stories. Hacked from his forthcoming EP “From The South” due April 22nd, we sat with the artist to discuss the process that brought him to where he is today.
To stream the track and for the full interview, head below…
Hi Renao! How are you doing?
I am pretty good, a bit overwhelmed but very grateful.
Did you always want to pursue music? How did you first get into it?
No, there were definitely moments as a child where I thought I wanted to be a rockstar but it wasn’t till I was around 15 and I went to see my first big concert that I really knew I wanted to pursue a career in music. It took me a while to appreciate being able to make music and the impact that had on my life but I am happy it did as it allowed me to try out different things first.
You certainly have a very unique sound, how would you best describe it?
Oh thank you!! The way I like to best describe it is the happy accidents of all my favourite genres blending together.
Who are your influences within your creative work?
My biggest influence is probably Brockhampton, the way they make their music, how the created a bond with their fans, and having a clear vision and understanding of all the creative aspects of being an artist. I got to see their last performance in London and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fanbase so connected to artists.
And congratulations on the release of “Holding My Breath”. What was your mindset when creating this track?
I had taken a step back from making music in sessions with other people and was back in my bedroom working. This time away from the studio allowed me to reflect and it really showed me how much I was missing home, having not been back to India in over 2 years because of the pandemic. I wanted to write something acknowledging people who were feeling the same way and also to let me Mum know how much I was thinking about her! So I guess my mindset was pretty innocent, I just wanted to write about something that I thought was important to say.
“Holding My Breath” feels a lot more delicate and vulnerable compared to your debut single, “Nobody”. Was there anything in particular that sparked this change?
To me I don’t think there was a massive change between them. Naturally people have a multitude of different feelings and although sonically the two tracks are different they are both connected by me allowing myself to be vulnerable and share what I’m feeling.
What do you hope people can take away from it?
I hope people pick up the phone and call the person they miss.
If you collaborate with anyone you wanted to, who would it be and why?
It would be a dream to work with Tyler the Creator, his emphasis on chords and melody is exactly the way I treat making music.
And finally, what are you most looking forward to this year?
What I’m most looking forward to is building a world I can share with people from anywhere and everywhere. I have a lot of music that I want to get out this year and I cant wait to see what you guys think.