New York based singer Renee Cologne has so many strings to her bow that it’s difficult to know how to describe her; classically trained multi instrumentalist, songwriter, electro pop singer, producer, the list goes on.  Pursuing a solo career as well as supporting artists such as MeatLoaf, Renee has released a number of albums and her fourth album, Coverlings, was released at the beginning of this year.  As the name might indicate, Coverlings is a curated collection of classic songs that mean something to Renee.  The tracks are from a range of genres and, Renee says that “the songs chose her”, rather than the other way around.  The title of the album came to Renee early on in the process of curating and recording; there was something alien about the word but also very human, as in earthling vs. alien; as in human acoustic sounds (voice, the sound of a bow on a string, a French horn) meeting alien machine sounds (beats, created odd sounds, synths).

An eclectic selection, the new arrangements pay homage to the originals combined with Renee’s brand of layered, electro pop meets acoustic and it’s a combination that works.  The lead single, ‘Jersey Girl’, lets the audience know what they’re in for from the beginning.  However, Renee’s curation allows for the odd surprise to pop up and by the time you reach the end, you realise that the tracks have melded together to form a cohesive piece.

Before you read on, Renee is giving a FREE download of “Jersey Girl”, to Angry Baby readers. If you’re not already subscribed to Angry Baby, just pop the email address that you’d like it delivered to here and it will be on its way to you straight away, together with a bumper collection of music that has been shared by Angry Baby. The music comes from outstanding artists that you may not have heard before. With a mix of rock, pop, folk…you name it…there’s bound to be something new that floats your musical boat, and all for free! What’s not to like about that?!

The songs on this album suit Renee’s voice and show her vocal versatility, particularly with The Carpenters’ ‘Yesterday Once More’.  Reminiscent of Karen Carpenter but putting her own stamp on, the song offers a new, upbeat, pop take on a classic.  Using this song, with a title harking back to yesteryear on a covers album is inspired and shows that artists can take their music seriously whilst also maintaining a sense of humour.  (Renee’s first album was called Aromatherapy, because “what else are you going to call an album if your name is Cologne?”).  This humour comes through again by the use of ‘Walk Away Renee’ – again, because, why not?  Never gonna get another chance!

Other album highlights are Squeeze’s ‘Up The Junction’ and, ‘Wichita Lineman’, a piano led pop tribute to another wonderful song.  The outstanding track for me, though, was ‘Messy Girl’, an original song from Renee.  Again, there’s that quirkiness and humour – makes perfect sense to release an album of covers and include an original song.  In reality, it works a treat as ‘Messy Girl’ makes you want to go out and find more of Renee’s own music.  The lyrics will also chime with a lot of people struggling to get through life, one day at a time, juxtaposed against the even rhythms and melody of the music.

As befits an artist who self produces and has the drive to release four albums, Renee’s advice focuses on this:

“I was always someone who was very driven to be ‘doing’ something, all the time. I think one of the most important lessons I’ve learned about being an artist, and a person for that matter, is to allow plenty of time to just ‘be’. Some of my best lyrics, sounds, chord progressions, whatever, have come from just allowing myself to be bored, be open, non-directed and allowing for the power of not knowing. I think there is a little voice inside all of us that KNOWS when something is authentic or not; the trick is to LISTEN to that voice and trust it.”

Coverlings was released on January 4 on Backdoor Records. Get your copy here.

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