Two years ago,
"I was always singing and I've been doing musical theater since I was 14 until now, and I always sang in the choir at church. I always knew I could sing, I just didn't know how well. I've just got to keep my head in the right place," said Renea, 21, about not getting too revved-up that her album, Jukebox, is slated for release in just one week. The album won't hit stores until December 1, but it's
"You don't want to start thinking you're all that," she said.
The singer, who came to the attention of thousands of fans via her YouTube posts, has already scored a hit single with her Katy Perry-esque love-gone-wrong anthem "Dollhouse" and, as promised, her album shows off many different sides of her musical personality. Not unlike, say, a jukebox.
There's "Lovesick," which bounds along on a Elton John-like piano riff and her valley girl-style sung/spoken vocals, the Imogen Heap-like glitchy trip-hop tune "Pretty Girl" and "Fixing My Hair," a stirring orchestral piano ballad — Renea is an accomplished guitar and keyboard player — about appreciating both inner and outer beauty that could be the female empowerment anthem of the Twitpic generation.
Renea, who wrote all but one of the tunes on the disc by herself, excels at the kind of bouncy pop love song that borrows from the arch sing-song delivery of Lily Allen ("Rockabye Baby" and "Mr. Workabee"), but also has a penchant for a throwback girl-group sensibility ("Bacon 'N Eggs") and, on the Lauryn Hill inspired "City Love," an ability to mix pop and hip-hop beats that puts the focus firmly on her quirky musical sensibility.
Along with "Hair," Renea packs the 12-song album with a couple of other perfect-for-prom slow-dance tunes, including the skittery ballad "Baby Please" and "Stonegarden," a dramatic Celtic electropop weeper that finds her promising to stay true to the memory of a lover who has passed. The disc also features a hyped-up, six-minute hi-NRG remix of "Dollhouse" by Jason Nevins that seems destined to be a staple at dance clubs for the next few months.