Local country star Briana Renea reaches out to kids
Country music star Briana Renea of Canby, who has a May 13 concert scheduled at the Wild Hare Saloon in Oregon City, is taking time out from her full touring schedule to entertain and bring a message of social responsibility and accountability to school students.
Renea's upcoming single "Unstoppable" was selected as the theme song for the 2018-19 Teens of America PSA tour. Schools can register at teensofamerica.net and Renea will perform free concerts for students to bring awareness to topics such as social acceptance, bullying, juvenile diabetes, childhood obesity and self-harm.
"Unstoppable" lyrics include "Be the one you are. Go against the grain/Break out of the box they put you in/Let them know you're here, that you are not afraid/Have a little fire/Be a force of nature that they have to reckon with/Be the one who is ... Unstoppable."
The song is scheduled for release March 30, and Renea is donating 10 percent of this year's 'Unstoppable' download sales to Teens of America.
Renea hopes the song will help listeners feel like they're not alone and to let them know that if they work hard and set their mind to something, they can do it.
"The song is about life and the ups and downs it throws at you," Renea said. "You can be a force of nature and be unstoppable."
Renea has had some ups and downs in her life personally and professionally, and she's tapped into those challenges and embraced them. She considers herself blessed to have grown up with a passion for horses and music, twin interests she has fashioned into a fast-rising music career.
For the 2012 Canby High graduate, those two influences hold prominent places in her life and have led her to chase success in both. The country singer and songwriter is a staple at fairs and festivals throughout the Pacific Northwest and celebrated the release of her third EP, "Chasin' Trouble," last summer.
For Renea, the road to making music has been long and heartfelt.
"Country music speaks to many listeners through the heart. Songs are about real life, along with the ups and downs everyone faces at some point or another. Just as individuals can relate to quotes that they feel are a description of themselves, people do the same with their music," she said. "People often relate songs to a person, particular event, or just a happy time in their lives.
"They can relay personal thoughts and feelings about people and places. After all, can't you think of at least one song that describes a relationship in your life?"
The work has gotten some encouraging notice.
Her bull-riding single "Widow Maker" recently was selected for use in the Northwest Pro Rodeo Association finals commercial. It's a song about a lifestyle she knows well. In 2016, she earned the title of reserve champion for Region 6 non-pro rider in the Western States Stock Horse Association. Horses, rodeo and the world they inhabit are a large influence on the music she makes.
Renea co-wrote all of the songs on "Chasin' Trouble" and recorded it at Watershed Studio in Nashville, Tennessee.
"I've been extremely blessed to work with wonderful, experienced songwriters such as Steve Mitchell, Dee Briggs, Mason Douglas and Jason Wyatt," Renea said. "They have helped shape and guide my music."
But it's the roads she's traveled in life that help mold and define her musically.
"I write and sing about my real-life experiences. My musical style was greatly influenced by my childhood growing up on '80s rock and '90s country," she said. "When I write I tend to blur the line between rock and country.
"The songs, 'There's This Guy' and 'Chasin' Trouble' were written with summer in mind and the need for a summer anthem that girls could turn up and sing along to."
Renea's musical influences include Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Queen, Heart, Fleetwood Mac, Brooks & Dunn, Dixie Chicks, LeAnn Rimes, Carrie Underwood, and The Band Perry, to name a few across both rock and country genres.
She was invited to perform her EP "Red Lips, White Lies" at Nashville's famous Bluebird Cafe during the Chick Singer Night. Her hard work continues to pay off. The title track off the forthcoming EP, "Chasin' Trouble," placed in the Top 40 for the Nashville Songwriters Association International's (NSAI) second quarter of 2016.
How it all began
When she was 4 years old Renea took the stage in a local Portland play with her twin brother, which created a lifelong love of the stage. From playing Jasmine in her middle school's "Aladdin" production to her high school summer plays and talent shows at the Clackamas County Fair, Renea has found every opportunity to be on stage.
She performed the national anthem at the local county fair and rodeo three times, as well as at her FFA's State Convention. Placing third in the talent show there was just the beginning of her music career.
In her sophomore year of high school, Renea began training with Barbizon, where she began to conquer her goals in becoming an actress and singer. While at Barbizon she trained in modeling, acting and singing.
After finishing Barbizon's training Renea was asked to come to Los Angeles to perform in front of the industries' top agents and managers. Her goal of launching a music career through this showcase is exactly what happened; Renea qualified for the final showcase at the end of the convention and got to perform in front of all of the agents, managers and participants.
Singing "Better Dig Two" caught the attention of many agents but one caught hers, James Lugo. Renea worked with Lugo to produce her first album, "No Fences," which was released in 2014.