After writing and playing songs with big artists like Meghan Trainor and 5 Seconds of Summer, RENAE is now ready to showcase her authentic voice. RENAE is a Conscious Pop Artist who sat down with us to share the story behind her new album, ALIGN and how writing songs crafted in the keys of the seven chakras has led to a happier, more fulfilling life.
Conscious Connection: It’s great to have you here, RENAE. Let’s talk about Conscious Pop. What inspired you to pioneer this new genre of music?
RENAE: Conscious pop music inspires listeners to be their most authentic self. I think musicians and artists do that with some of their music, but I feel all my music has that message. I’m not the only one to be called a Conscious Pop Artist. I went to the Wanderlust Festival — there were a few Conscious Artists there, but they all sounded like the Indie/New Age genre. I noticed they all had this message of living a conscious life for themselves and bringing consciousness to the world. I haven’t seen pop do that, so that’s how this idea came to me.
Conscious Connection: Tell us a little bit about your new album. Why is it called ALIGN?
RENAE: ALIGN is a concept album based on the chakras, which is a wellness theory in yoga. The seven chakras each represent a characteristic of a person. I decided to write a song for each of those characteristics and how they correspond to me, my own story, and how I’ve aligned better with my authentic self. My hope is that when people listen to it, they’ll feel that resonance within themselves and feel good about their own lives.
Conscious Connection: What compelled you to tap into the chakras in particular?
RENAE: I started diving into spirituality and wellness during a difficult life transition. It was a time when I was working a lot, and how I was working felt inauthentic. I was saying the right things, surrounded by the right people, but there was something missing in me. It was also around the time one of my best friends passed away. I was 25 — I’m 27 now — so, it was a time when I was questioning everything. What am I doing on the planet? What is this all about? Why do I feel so confused? Those questions lead me to reading books on psychology, spirituality, and philosophy. I found this idea of the chakras, and I thought it was such a beautiful, artistic representation of wellness. I thought, I can make art out of this.
Conscious Connection: How do you think each chakra leads to more consciousness within your music?
RENAE: Each chakra represents a different quality of our authentic selves. For example, the root chakra represents feeling grounded. The solar plexus represents confidence, and the third eye represents intuition. These are all traits I associate to someone’s authentic self because they are meant to make you feel good. When you feel good inside, that’s a sign of your authentic self coming through. Any resistance to those traits is considered a “blocked chakra.”
I wrote my songs keeping what each chakra represents in mind. With the solar plexus chakra, I thought to myself, “I’ve dealt with confidence issues, so what has made me so unconfident? How can I share this story about the people who affected me and how I overcame this lack of confidence?” I’m sharing the story of finding alignment within each chakra.
Conscious Connection: As humans, we all tend to lead from a certain chakra in our bodies. What chakra do you feel you lead with?
RENAE: I feel the heart is the center of the body because it’s the first organ that grows when you’re developing into a human. The heart really is the center of everything. If you’re in a state of unconditional love for yourself, your environment, and for other people, that love becomes the core that radiates every chakra. Unconditional love balances each chakra.
Conscious Connection: How does that idea affect the way you wrote the song encompassing the heart chakra (“Human”)?
RENAE: That one won’t be released for a couple of months, but that song in particular deals with self love issues. I think that is an issue pretty much everyone in Western culture goes through because we’re constantly sent the message, “you’re not good enough.” The song, “Human” is a journey to find that love for yourself again. The verse in the pre-chorus shows my disconnect from self love. I just wanted to escape myself, fly away. The chorus turns it around, allowing the voice of reason from my higher self to advise me to stop trying to be perfect, everything is okay, and I’m only human.
Conscious Connection: Why do you go by RENAE? How does this name define you and your goals in the music industry?
RENEAE: RENAE is actually my middle name — my full name is Christi Renae Vaughan. I looked it up online, and it means “reborn” in Latin. I felt this whole album and artist project has reborn me into a more authentic, unconditional loving version of myself. I just love the name, and I felt it perfectly aligned with this project.
I believe connecting with that free-flowing, authentic self within is what it means to be reborn. I would love my music to spark that feeling in people. At the end of the day, that’s what life’s all about — being your authentic self. When you are in that space, you automatically affect the world around you and take more positive actions. I don’t know what’s going to happen with this album, but I’m just going with my gut on this one.
Download/Stream “Ripples” and “Wild” now! 10% of “Wild” iTunes proceeds will be donated to Rainforest Alliance, and 10% of “Ripples” AND all 2017 RENAE Spotify royalties will be donated to the Midnight Mission center for the homeless!