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Impact 0318: A passion for music: stories through song

Rene Ann Wong · 13 January 2022
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Rene Ann Wong, also known as RENE, is a 26-year-old independent pop-rock songwriter and musician from Singapore. Meaningful and relatable lyrics, rich vocals, and catchy guitar lines are what create her signature sound. She is the winner of the Open Call for Season 1 of The Great Singapore Replay in 2017 and also participated in Season 2 of TGSR in 2020!

1.
Tell us more about what you do!

I write words and sing tunes! My primary instruments are vocals and guitars, and I’ve been releasing original music since April 2018. I released my debut EP “Something To Hide” in April 2021, a collection of five tracks that blend genres of pop, rock, punk, and indie – the music that has inspired and continues to inspire me as an artist. My songwriting aims to reflect themes such as societal commentary, self-reflection, and personal relationships.

2.
What inspires or motivates you to start/do this?

I’ve always loved listening to and performing music as a kid. I started performing live, mostly in school, and uploading cover videos when I was 14 and started writing my own music when I was 18. I’d say that makes me a little late to the game, based on how young so many musicians are now, but the original music community in Singapore is awesome and supportive so it doesn’t really matter! I enjoy writing and performing music so my pure love for the art is honestly what motivates me to keep doing it.

3.
Have you faced any challenges so far? And how did you overcome them?

One big challenge I’ve faced is the idea of separating my identity as RENE the artist and my identity as Rene the person. I’ve struggled with drawing the line between the two because my artist identity IS a performance at the end of the day, but I’m a solo artist who goes by my own name, so it’s obviously important to be genuine as well. Over time, I’ve made the decision to meld my own personality into my artist image because aside from doing music, I also strive to make change in the spheres I’m particularly interested in – things like equality, climate, gender, and labour issues – and I wish to use my music is a platform to fight for the things I believe in!

4.
If you could share one piece of advice with your fellow youth, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to pursue the things you’ve always wanted to, even if you think you may be too inexperienced for them. We sometimes set unattainable expectations for ourselves but there’s always room to grow and learn. Don’t be afraid to share your passions with the people around you!

5.
What are your hopes or plans for the future? What do you want to see or perhaps do?

I plan on continuing to write, record, produce, release, and perform my original music for as long as possible. I hope to see the live music scene in Singapore recuperate from its countless setbacks due to the pandemic and that I can play more live shows in time to come. I also hope that I can continue to use my platform as a musician and my music as a vehicle to discuss social issues that are important to me, leading to change that betters society around me.

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