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Christine Renner: Born to Be a Musician

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Christine Renner is a star on the rise. Austin Woman got a chance to talk to her about her musical journey and upcoming EP. 

By Monica Godinez

At 21 years old, Christine Renner is set to release her fourth studio project, Heartbreaker, on July 17. An album created amid the uncertainty of 2020. Born and raised in Austin, Renner has always been in tune with the culture of the “live music capital of the world.” From a young age, she was immersed into a sound-filled world as she frequented concerts with her dad. These concerts acted as fuel to her fire of becoming a musical lyricist herself.  

CR: With this album I want people to understand that it is okay to feel and be emotional, whether you are the heartbreaker or the person who got their heart broken. I want everyone to know that even when you are going through hard things you can make it into art. You can take a sad/hard time and turn it into something fun and memorable. I’m also in love with love! That’s why this EP happened. Love is one of the best feelings in the world. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, but you have to know that you can move forward from it. 

The Making of Heartbreaker

With all the changes the pandemic brought in 2020, Renner took a different approach in the creation of her latest studio project.

CR: Ever since I could remember, songwriting live has always been my muse when writing music. This EP delves into my experience exploring the Austin dating scene when I was 19/20. There have been times when I broke hearts and times when my heart was broken. So I put that into my music. My personal experience with love is the foundation of this album.

With this studio project, I really got the chance to rock out with the band in the beginning stages of writing the album. When SXSW got cancelled, I went to the studio and the songs were ready to be recorded. I have to admit this album really gave me the chance to tap into my rock and roll energy, and I loved that [given]my love for all the classic rock. I really loved that I was able to really bring in my influences throughout the creation of this EP. 

Musical Style and Heartbreaker Inspiration

“If Led Zeppelin and Taylor Swift meshed together they would create me and my sound,” Renner laughingly shares. Heartbreaker drew its inspiration from various artists and their distinct sounds. 

CR: Don’t Say No by Billy Squirer has to be my top influence. The soundscape of this album is incredible. The songs are very hooky. I pulled my inspiration from this album. I immediately told my producer this and he was completely on board. This [and]my love for modern pop. I love pop music, especially the lyrical aspect of modern pop music. My love for my guitar also plays a large role in my sound. 

Renner has experimented with various sounds throughout her musical journey. For Heartbreaker she was really able to tune into her passion for pop. 

CR: When I first started playing live, I was always playing with my acoustic guitar. I found myself falling into the Americana genre. I also grew up on [indie/pop] music. Getting and building the band helped produce these sounds. My producer, Chris “Frenchie” Smith, played a large role in helping me find my sound. His knowledge of rock music and its creations really helped evolve my sound as an artist. 

austin-woman-christine-renner-band-helaine-bach
Christine Renner with her band. Photo by Helaine Bach

Artistic Journey of Christine Renner

CR: I have to say there have definitely been a lot of learning and growth opportunities over the years. For a while I did everything on my own; I didn’t have a manager, an agency or any great mentors to help me. I will say my parents have always been really supportive. There have been times that I have run into uncomfortable situations in this industry. Those times were hard and weird and it was really [difficult]to grow and learn from that. Don’t become discouraged. The music is worth it. Your time will come. I want people to know that they can follow their dreams. I’m doing it! 

Also, I have to admit the Austin scene has really begun opening up to women artists nowadays. I have actually gotten a lot of opportunities because I am a woman. I do know that because I am so young and a woman that I am constantly being underestimated. When people see me most of them think that this is just a side thing, but that’s not the case at all. Music is my career. This is my life, this is what I want to do. Now I have amazing mentors and I am [constantly]finding people who [offer]me sound advice and guidance. I am surrounded by people who support me and my music. This has been such a nice change. 

Teaching Moments

On top of my music, I am a music teacher, and hope to be that same guide for young students in Austin. Currently, I have a 16-year-old student who I see a lot of my younger self in. I want to be for her the person I never had. Throughout the rest of my career I want to continue to be this person. Since I have lived through these situations, I want to help and teach them the ropes so they don’t have to go through the same thing. In the younger generation, I hope to instill this drive to get past all the negativity and challenges that may come up within this industry. I want to protect and shield my students and [listeners]so that they don’t wind up in similar situations like me. 

Her Advice

CR: The biggest piece of advice I can give artists looking to embark on their musical journey is to focus on the art! A lot of the time in this industry, you get caught up in all the business of it. The shows, the merchandise and everything that a manager would do for an artist. But it leaves no room to focus on your music. My dad reminded me a month ago that business can wait, but creativity cannot. Everyday is a new day, and everyday there is a new way I can spiritually express my feelings and thoughts. Songwriting is a skill that you have to practice for.

I want those hearing my music to know that if they are hurting, there is healing and there is coming back from that. Be vulnerable, be open, be close to your friends. You are loved, you are valuable and I want everyone to feel and know that. 

Video courttesy of Rooftop Takes

Learn more about Christine Renner and what she’s up to at her official website.

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