Rene Byrd: “Learn to say ‘No’ not every door should be opened”

I have a soft spot for children, they are our future and should have equal opportunity. I would like to create a movement at the government level that every child born is given a mentor at various stages of their lives to bring about growth, understanding and clarity for the direction they want in life. […]

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I have a soft spot for children, they are our future and should have equal opportunity. I would like to create a movement at the government level that every child born is given a mentor at various stages of their lives to bring about growth, understanding and clarity for the direction they want in life. Too many dreams are not ever followed usually due to circumstances, lack of opportunity, encouragement, stability and guidance.

As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Rene Byrd.

Rene Byrd is the latest UK R&B/Pop songstress whose vocal talent has invited the attention of associates of the legendary Quincy Jones. Rene has performed at some of the most talked-about international venues and on behalf of a European Prime Minister. Rene Byrd comes from a corporate background, which funded and elevated her exciting musical career from the boardroom to stage. With her unique voice and engaging live performances, Rene has been creating a social media buzz with an online video that amassed over 50,000 views.

Rene’s new single ‘Born Again’ is a heartfelt rendition of the classic song originally performed by Billy Preston and Syreeta. The cover is a title track from the forthcoming album which is due to be released next year. The single is a fusion of salsa and mid-tempo R&B sounds produced by the TJN Music team. ‘Born Again’ has a beautiful vocal performance that has captured the interest of audiences of a global audience in a short space of time; the single is already receiving rave reviews from radio stations in its initial circulation.

The debut single ‘Born Again’ tells the story of new beginnings and feeling complete through love and romance. The lyrics are passionate and honest and Rene portrays this through her performance as an artist. The accompanying music video directed by Chas Appeti provides warm, soft visuals to bring the story to life. Rene brings her love of luxury fashion to the screen in haute couture; reminiscent of the Rene Byrd brand in its entirety.

Rene released her single in the heart of Covid19, deciding at this delicate time to heal hearts with her music and to use her platform for the purpose. Rene created a very successful IG talk show called #whoamitalk where viewers can enjoy her conversations with experts, brands, public figures and celebrities within Beauty, Lifestyle, Entertainment, Fashion and Luxury. Rene has recently interviewed Chris Collins US face for Polo Ralph Lauren and now Luxury Fragrance Owner and Patrick Hutchinson the hero who protected a protester at a BLM in the event in the UK. The candid and engaging talk show gives guests the opportunity to talk about who they are, their story and life in Covid19 and beyond. Rene’s social reach exploded in this season to over 800K with her audience keen to hear more from Rene and her guests. Rene is using her music and her platform for the purpose to help heal, inspire and create change.

Thank you so much for doing this with us Rene! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I come from humble beginnings born and raised in the UK. Surrounded by the music my father was in a band that was signed to RCA records so it was a regular occurrence to see him on the television or getting ready for a gig. Most of my childhood and early teens were spent listening in on studio sessions or watching greats like Sade or Sting at major festivals as I sat on a speaker side stage or backstage at a concert or even hanging out in a hotel lobby with artists such as ‘Usher,’ crazy but true.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

A brief encounter in my early twenties found me in a long-term relationship but sadly that came to an end. That break-up was so painful and although I had heard elders say that love hurts, it felt like a pain I had never felt before. I remember rocking myself to sleep for many nights in my damp ridden flat but it’s amazing how that particular breakup was a breakthrough. The night of my breakup I was studying for my corporate finance exam crying over the workbook, but I knew I had to wipe my tears and pull myself together. I ended up passing that exam. Songwriting became my therapy, I chose to use that pain and channel that into writing stories from the heart which have become songs which are part of my forthcoming album.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I am a stronger believer in the law of attraction and speaking out positive affirmations. I am a proud ambassador for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund UK and I was invited to the Royal Premiere for the ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ starring Idris Elba and Naomie Harris. That night it was announced that he sadly passed away a very moving moment. Earlier on at the glitzy reception, I remember telling my brother and team member I would love to get on television. Little did I know the very next morning I would be representing the charity and speaking on Sky News about the great man himself Mr. Mandela. It taught me that many amazing moments in your career are when you use your platform for purpose, giving something back to the world.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I cringe thinking about it. I was performing for a European Prime Minister for a gallery opening and half-way through my performance I was about to sing one of my ballads when I literally forgot the words. I spent what felt like a lifetime improvising, praying to remember, looking at my band to help me out! Thankfully the words popped into my head and I managed to save myself but I will never forget that feeling. I can laugh about it now. The take-away was that no matter how much you rehearse, sadly you can go blank and forget your words but you have to remain calm and be professional because the show must go on.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I released my music video and Covid19 hit this put a slight pause on the campaign, but thankfully I still managed to gain great traction so very grateful. It was a very delicate time so I decided I could not continue to make it all about myself. My team and I created a very successful IG Live series called ‘Whoamitalk’ this was an opportunity for brands, experts, public figures and celebrities to share their stories. I am so overwhelmed by the interest and my guests get better each episode, these past 5 months have sent my social media traction through the roof. Let’s just say I am in talks to move ‘Whoamitalk to the TV network. I am back in the studio and have been working on a TV project and new music, exciting things in the pipeline.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

Diversity in the entertainment industry is so important even more in the current climate under the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. The industry has a duty to show that people from diverse groups matter and can achieve success, barriers can be broken and ceilings shattered. The next generation needs to feel that they matter and be able to walk into a room and see a representation of themselves. Diversity in the entertainment industry will give a new perspective, a new vision will create a much more rounded and colorful approach to all entertainment outputs. The effect will be innovative, fresh and exciting as it will be much more dimensional. I am very excited about the changes ahead there is a new force a new movement of change, the next generation wants this and so do I.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  • You will be told No many times before a yes — Gosh this a weekly occurrence being in the entertainment industry, just checked my email and got a sorry you are not the right fit!
  • Fearless and thickskinned — You have to take constructive criticism and harsh social media trolls, your weight, your breakouts, your relationship all up for discussion
  • Break-ups or family fights the show must go on — I had a break-up and the next day had a walk the red carpet it sucked but I learnt so much about myself that night and never looked back
  • The entertainment industry is run by mostly men you have to put your foot down so you are not objectified — I have sadly been subjected to sexual advances in studio settings I dealt with it both professionally and with dignity
  • You never know when the opportunity will come just be the best version, it usually comes when you least expect it

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Please please schedule R and R time put it in your diary and learn to pace yourself. You are the brand so if you don’t factor in rest time when you really need to deliver you will have nothing left. Learn to say ‘No’ not every door should be opened. Delegate and have a great team that takes some of the duties so you can focus on delivering great music.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I have a soft spot for children, they are our future and should have equal opportunity. I would like to create a movement at the government level that every child born is given a mentor at various stages of their lives to bring about growth, understanding and clarity for the direction they want in life. Too many dreams are not ever followed usually due to circumstances, lack of opportunity, encouragement, stability and guidance.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Yes, many people in relation to my music career including my father who has always supported me. He taught me how to write songs and has been with me every step of the way. My cousin Howard Francis who has been involved in many of the songs on my album. My late uncle Linton Beckles, the lead singer of a group called ‘Central Line’, was the first to record me in the studio when I was very young. My two brothers who watched me early in my career get let down by people in the industry time after time now form part of my production company. The list is endless. One particular story that springs to mind was my first-ever vocal recording in the studio with my late uncle. The session required a female vocalist so I shouted ‘I will do it!’. At the time my dad had no idea that I could sing so was a little taken aback. I asked my dad along with the rest of the crew to leave the room because I was so nervous but needless to say I blew them away with what they heard back at them. It gets me quite emotional thinking about this memory as my uncle is no longer with us.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Proverbs 19:21

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.

We have no control over our lives and have many plans in our heart of what we want from life, we plan, we make arrangements. The many twists and turns in life continue to show us that what is for you is for you, it’s your journey, your story.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Michelle Obama — she is without question one of the most inspirational women of the last decade. Her journey to the White House as First Lady of the United States is incredible. The fact that she was raised on the South Side of Chicago from humble beginnings and became a Princeton and Harvard graduate truly makes her a role model to all. Michelle Obama would have so many nuggets of information to pass on, I would literally be like a sponge soaking it all up.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

You can find me on all social media platforms:

Instagram — Renebyrdofficial

Twitter — Renebyrdworld

Facebook — Renebyrdofficialglobal

Linkedin — Rene Byrd

Thank you for these fantastic insights. This was very meaningful, we wish you continued success!

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