The NETWORK for The Core DJ Syndicated Radio Show
The road to stardom can be challenging—there are twists and turns along the way. But it’s the lessons on that path which prepare you for your destiny—which give you an appreciation for the moment when your dreams become reality. This perfectly describes the musical quest of Joycelyn Rena, (aka, J Renà), whose moment to shine has arrived.
“For as long as I can remember, I was destined to sing,” states J Renà, who grew up in Atlanta GA. A preacher’s kid and middle child of eight siblings, her pastime was spent in church where she received her musical chops. At an early age, she would go from singing in the background to the leading soloist of the choir in a short period of time. In fact, she was always performing; even, at all of her elementary and middle school assemblies. So it wasn’t a surprise when she was selected to Tri-Cities High’s Visual Performing Arts (VPA) Magnet Program.
Tri-Cities has a legacy for producing superstars such as musical groups Xscape (LaTocha and Tamika Scott, Kandi Burress, Tameka “Tiny” Cottle), Outkast (André 3000 and Big Boi); singers D. Woods, Shanell of Young Money and Brian Casey of Jagged Edge to name a few. “So why not dream big,” thought J Renà. After all it wasn’t beyond the realm of possibilities that she could become a superstar. So she formed a high school girl group named “Intrigue,” which consisted of her sister “Punkin,” Rae (background singer for Janelle Monàe), Raven and Nicole.
After several performances, Intrigue piqued the interest of and signed with independent label, Outhouse Entertainment. At Outhouse, they were matched with Terius “The Dream” Nash who would give them their unique sound. But after a couple of years, the company dissolved, leaving Intrigue with only two members standing—Rae and J Renà.
Punkin took a temporary leave of absence to start a family while the other two members went their separate ways. “It was difficult losing Raven and Nicole because we were best friends and had dreams of making it big together; however, they chose to take a different path and we moved on without them,” stated J Renà. The first lesson learned--never let people’s choices deter you from your dreams—keep marching forward.
So after regrouping, Rae and J Renà took the stage as the duo “ReRene.” Known for their vocal stylings, dancing and showmanship, ReRene worked closely with songwriter and music producer Adonis Shropshire (Usher’s My Boo) and Q Parker of 112 before catching the attention of Grammy award-winning producer Anthony Dent (Destiny’s Child’s Survivor). Dent was so impressed with ReRene that he introduced them to Shakir Stewart and L.A. Reid who would sign them on the spot to Island Def Jam Music Group after the group (duo + Punkin) auditioned in the parking lot of the Four Seasons Hotel.
ReRene had finally made it; all of the hard work and dedication had paid off. They were signed to a major label, working with top producers and singing background vocals on a project for Young Jeezy. But after a year, they were released due to creative differences with the label and the group’s production team. The second lesson learned—Make sure you have a seat at the table when it comes to decisions about your career.
J Renà exclaimed, “We were in shock; we had just given the best performance of our life in front of Def Jam execs in New York and a few days later the walls came tumbling down. The group couldn’t recover from it but I couldn’t give music up—it was in my blood.”
To soothe her heartbreak, J Renà took pen to paper and started writing music. Says J Renà, “I had a lot of feelings inside that I needed to express and writing was my release—I was in complete control of it unlike my situations with the labels.” It turned out that she was a remarkable writer and independent artists began to hire her to write hooks and songs. “It was life changing”, reflects J Renà. “I was able to heal by moving away from the spotlight into the background yet pick up the skills that I needed to become a complete artist.”
Her biggest moment in writing happened by chance when a friend called her to audition for a new television show while she was out running errands. She didn’t know any specifics, had no time to prepare but she went anyway and got the part. It was BET’s Welcome to Dreamland with music producers “Drumma Boy” and “Jazze Pha.” J Renà was the writer on Drumma Boys’ team and their team won the overall competition.
The show opened up several writing gigs; however, after her friend Jovan Dais taught her how to use Pro Tools, J Renà started to produce vocal arrangements. A top producer J Renà worked closely with was Ken “K Fam” Fambro. K Fam would introduce J Renà to Joseph Wimbley III, CEO of Landmine Music Group, who was looking for a song for his artist; however, after hearing J Renà sing, Wimbley convinced her to join his label. Wimbley, who worked with girl group “Taurus” in 2004, sold over 40K singles of “Taurus Here;” which was #1 on Billboard R&B Singles Chart for several weeks and #100 on the Pop Chart.
However, he is best known for co-writing Soulja Boy’s 2nd single, “souljaboytellem” which sold over 1 million copies.
Since joining Landmine Music Group in early August 2016, J Renà has collaborated with producer Carlos “Los Vegaz” Thornton (Souljaboytellem) to create “Bad Vibes,” a twist of the platinum seller “Poison,” but from a woman’s perspective, and the record is already garnering attention throughout the Southeast. Says J Renà, “The song is about relationships that give you bad vibes and stop you from becoming your best self. So it’s about leaving those relationships before they poison you.”
When asked why she returned into the spotlight after being gone for so many years, J Renà, stated, “It was time to come back and finished what I started on my own terms. I feel great about my team and it’s my time!”
Third lesson learned--You basked in what you’ve accomplished--pause briefly at how far you’ve come--then take a step back onto the road because a new journey has just begun. Stay tuned for J Renà’s next chapter