Cheryl Cole, Girlicious, Chris Brown, Kelly Rowland, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, Selena Gomez, Fifth Harmony: just a few names that have one thing in common; they have all been blessed by the penmanship of Priscilla Renea. The 28-year-old started on Youtube as a cover singer where she accrued a following. She later found herself working with Robin Antin based group Girlicious; she’d pursue forward to writing her debut album “Jukebox” and has been on the rise ever since. She’s written some of music’s biggest hits like “California King Bed” by Rihanna & “V.S.O.P” by K.Michelle, “Timber” by Pitbull ft. Kesha, and “Something Bad” for Miranda Lambert ft. Carrie Underwood.
The list of artists who owe this young lady high praise & accolades seems to be endless, her versatility as a singer and songwriter has proven to be a factor in her great success. With a career spanning over 10 years, Renea continues to write mass media hits like “Infinity” by Mariah Carey & “Living Out Loud” by Brooke Candy ft. Sia. The Vero Beach, Florida native, Priscilla continues to do her city proud. Currently opening for acts like Train, the very busy & well accomplished songwriter recently spoke with Chant Farrar to give a few tips to songwriters and aspiring artist who frequent the site.
Priscilla thank you so much for taking the time out to talk about your career with us. We are highly intrigued by your story and would like to hear some information about your journey:
First let me begin by saying thank you Darrol! It’s a privilege to be able to give my testimony! I began writing songs as earsly as 8 years old. I had no idea that being a songwriter was even a “thing”. Words were just constantly pouring out of my heart. My mom encouraged it, as she’s very musical as well, so it seemed natural. So she bought me composition notebooks to write down my ideas. I wrote my first song while I was in my house vacuuming the floor one day. None of my family could believe I had come up with it because of how professional it sounded (lol). So music was always around me; in church, in the car, momma singing while she was cooking, etc. All of the time, music, music, music. I went to Performing Arts schools growing up, such as LaVilla in Jacksonville Florida, DASOTA. I couldn’t get enough of singing and dancing. I would sing in church, I would audition for any and every talent contest (most of which I did NOT win; i.e. American Idol…) I was just so hungry for music! Fast forward to now, I still carry that hunger and I really think that’s why I’m still here. I’m still hungry.
How did you know you wrote your first hit? Was it a feeling?
I had no idea. Also, the word “hit” is very deceptive. There can be songs that are “hits” that don’t shoot straight to the top. They build and build until they reach a tipping point and become that. Then there are ones that go “number 1 with a bullet”. They also come back down just as fast. I did know, however, when Breyan Issacs (Flo-Rida, Charlie Puth) and I wrote “Timber” that it was going to be big, we were dancing and jumping around and laughing after we finished, we just knew it was going to work.
What is your process? Any jury of people you reference to judge your songs before selling or releasing them?
My process is flexible, it varies depending on what genre we are writing in and how the artist is in the room if they are even present at all. I have many different ways of “cracking the nut” so-to-speak. To say that there is a jury judging my songs before their release is an understatement. Even when a song is almost perfect, somebody is going to have something to say, but success builds confidence and the more points I started putting on the board, the more I realized that I had everything I needed within me to become a sniper in my lane. I don’t need anyone or anything outside of Jesus and my heart to give me solidarity.
You have worked with entertainments most important celebrities any advice for writers looking to follow in your footsteps?
I would say don’t search for that. Definitely have aspirations and goals, because that’s how you will know whether you are actually making progress or not; if you look up and all of your desires are crossed off “the list”, but I didn’t go after that. I just wanted to sit down and write the best song I could possibly write. I wanted to describe my feelings and perspectives so well that people felt like they were reading my personal diary. Whatever is most personal is most universal.
Of all the people you’ve written with or for who was your favorite & why?
I think the times I’ve had the honor of working with Mary J. Blige and Mariah Carey have produced some of my fondest memories. They are SO real and human. That’s so rare to find. Many women are trying to snuff you out because they feel like you might be trying to “take their spot”. Mariah and Mary really embraced me. Mary offered to do a song with me AS AN ARTIST and Mariah was pushing me to put my own record out. Real recognizes real.
You have been going hard on social media with very vibrant visuals, what is next for Priscilla Renea?
I finally got over my fear of rejection. I’m living my truth and that is, I LOVE CREATING. I realized that I need to create because that’s what I was put here to do, not because I need people to like me. I’m releasing a slew of new things this year to show everyone what I’ve been doing over the past 9 years.
On your next project any special features we can expect?
This project is a labor of love, I really had to protect it with everything I had, right on down to my Spirit. I had already had two albums get shelved because I let them get picked apart by other artists listening to people who told me that songwriting was my only real chance to stay afloat. To answer your question, I didn’t include any artist features because I want those connections to be genuine. I have enough fake people in my world. I won’t allow them to infect my artist project. I’m protecting that and keeping that special just for my fans.
Besides your own lovely voice, who is Priscilla listening to?
I listen to everything under the sun. Right now I’m really getting hype off of the old Florida booty shake music I grew up on. Trina, Uncle Luke, Rated R, Khia, & Nappy Boys. Just getting back to my roots. I’ve been listening to pop music non-stop. It’s time for a switch up.
Last but not least, where do you plan on taking your music in the coming years?
I have no plan. I have things that I like and I know that my ultimate goal is to be inducted into the Rock & Roll and Songwriting Hall Of Fame. So all of my music will have to have a certain level of timelessness to it. I really just trust God and go wherever Holy Spirit is leading me.