Rena Scott - Past and Present Interview
When I listened to your CD, it reminded me of Phyliss Hyman.
She’s one of my favorites. I loved Phyliss. We actually did some shows together….
You’ve worked with so many people over the years as well as toured all over the world. Tell me about Rena Scott.
I’ve been doing this since I was a little girl [since I was 5 or 6]. I started off singing church songs. Nobody paid attention until I was about 12 years old. I joined church and got in the choir. I was in Detroit.
One of my favorite songs to sing was Walk Around Heaven. My first time singing in front of anybody, people in the church went crazy. One of my choir members enrolled me in a major contest – the Motown Revue Shows. This big radio station in Detroit would sponsor at the Fox Theater. I was one of 10 out of the 500 contestants that was picked. It was great. I appeared with the original Temptations. After that point, my mother discovered I could sing and began getting me club gigs around Detroit.
I made my first record when I was 15. I got signed to Epic. I made my second record when I was 17. I kept singing in choir and at school.
Michael Henderson was looking for someone to do a duet. His wife saw me perform and told him about me. We met and did the song “Take Me I’m Yours.” I went on tour with him for a long while. Aretha Franklin was looking for someone to replace one of her background singers and at the time her brother Cecil was sort of semi-managing me.
Aretha was one of my #1 idols. When he asked me, I turned flips. I got a chance to do a major concert in Michigan at a ski resort. Afterwards, I went to California for the first time and sang background vocals on one of her albums and then we went to New York and did Carnegie Hall.
You can’t imagine singing with your idol. I had did clubs in the past, but never major concerts with full bands. It was so incredible. I toured with her for a couple of months and after that I got a record deal.
Buddha Records asked me first and I did my first full album with wonder producers like Mtume. Buddha started having problems. Gladys Knight was on their label too. Buddha went bankrupt and my album got dissolved in that situation but I continued to sing in clubs. I later got an opportunity to do shows in Las Vegas.
About 4 months after getting to California, I got a chance to go to Europe and tour with the Jazz Crusaders and take Randi Crawford’s place. I ended up with them on their European/American tour. Street Life was one of the popular songs.
I got a second record deal. It was called Love Zone. It was with an independent label. Everything was going fine until the distribution label went bankrupt. I was like Lord what is going on here. It was a long time after that before I got another record deal.
I did commercial jingles and got a chance to do soundtracks for movies. I continued to write.
There were times I felt like I couldn’t deal with the music business with the ups and downs and getting discouraged. My husband encouraged me and was like “you’re too talented not to continue.” We decided to do our own record label and started Amore Records.
We got distribution through KES Music and video distribution and they distribute worldwide. We’ve been real bless.
“Let Me Love You” got picked up for a feature film. It played all over the world. They played it twice in the movie before the “Love & Action in Chicago”starring Regina King and Courtney Vance.
The second single “Remember” was on the R & B/Hip-Hop Single Sales Chart for 18 weeks.
The third single “A Love Thing” stayed at #1 for 2 weeks in a row in the same category on Billboard.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on my new album. I’m doing four cover songs by my favorite artists and also doing some originals.
I’m writing right now and I’m in the studio. I sing in the church choir and I have a wonderful husband.
I’ve come along way, but there’s still a lot of things I want to do. I want to write a book about my life. My parents had a violent marriage. I love them both, but it did a number on my life. I’m an advocate against domestic violence. I want to write about it.
I later found out the man who I thought was my father isn’t my biological father and that I’m bi-racial. My life has been pretty interesting.
Sounds like you have a lot to offer. Although you went through a lot to get to this point, you persevered. In fact, you’ve had a successful musical career. There are plenty of singers who wished they had accomplished some of the things you have up to this point.
I just thank God. I’ve come a long way. We grew up in the projects. I’m a little girl from Detroit from the projects with a good husband and children. We all support each other. I’m a very spiritual person. I wouldn’t be here right now without the Lord. I thank Him every day. The Lord is awesome.
It took me a minute and I had to go through a lot of things, but I’m okay with who I am. God is working with me everyday.
Was it hard to get your distribution deal?
The distributor has to feel that its (CD) of substance and can sell. They saw the vision. You can pay people for one thing but you can’t pay people to be dedicated.
Are you looking for new artists?
We will be, but we aren’t now. I’m sort of breaking the ground. It may be sometime next year. We’re keeping our ears open.
I want to be an inspiration to those 35 and older and say you can do this. You just have to work hard, pray a lot and believe.
The audience is still there. Some people want to hear songs that remind them of the classics. People want to hear singers who can truly sing.
I love good melodies. I love a good story. That’s why I love country and blues because they tell a story. I want to be classic, have music that lasts forever. Not here today but gone tomorrow.
To learn more about Rena Scott and to purchase her CD, go to:
www.myspace.com/renascott or www.renascott.net.
Interview by entertainment writer Shelia M Goss and national bestselling author of Paige's Web (Nov. '07), My Invisible Husband and Roses are thorns, Violets are true. To learn more, visit her website at www.sheliagoss.com.
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