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Renée Rapp Wants Her Music To Be ‘Everything To Everyone’

The 'Sex Lives of College Girls' star and MTV Push artist on her cathartic debut EP

You might know Renée Rapp from her role as the iconic queen bee Regina George in Broadway’s Mean Girls musical or the affluent teen Leighton in the HBO Max series The Sex Lives of College Girls. Her acting gigs have given her the opportunity to perform on stage, but she yearned for the opportunity to sing her own songs to the world. “I have always known that this was exactly verbatim on what I was gonna do,” she said. “There was no question in my mind on whether I was gonna do it.” This past year, she debuted her first EP Everything to Everyone, composed of seven R&B cuts and pop ballads. And now, she is the MTV Push Artist for December 2022.

Born in Huntersville, North Carolina, and raised in Charlotte, Rapp fell in love with singing by listening to P!nk and Beyoncé. Queen Bey, in particular, became a major influence on her voice. “I still think she is one of my favorites, if not, like, god to me,” she said. “So I would basically listen to her on repeat and really try to sing like that. So I feel like, in a lot of ways, that taught me how to sing, looking up to a lot of really, really powerful female vocalists of the 2000s. It definitely shaped who I am.” At 7 years old, she delivered her first performance at her grandmother’s funeral. She jokes that she wished she was the real center of attention. “I was like, ‘I’m so sorry, can we make this about me?’” she added with a laugh. “I was so young, bro.” But she knows her grandma would’ve been proud nevertheless.

Renée Rapp

MTV

Rapp has always been writing songs forever, but growing up, she struggled to complete projects, never feeling her songs were good enough. She was unaware that she had undiagnosed ADHD, which she suspects may have been a contributing factor. “I was like, “Why can’t I get through a song? I must be a terrible songwriter,” she said. Upon entering the world of Broadway, Rapp was pressed to fit into its rigid body standards, which took emotional and physical tolls on her. “I became a lot like a mold that I should fit,” she revealed. “I got really sick. I had an eating disorder and I was like, ‘I gotta do this thing, and be this thing.’ It was a really terrible time for me mentally.”

Now, the pop-R&B singer knows all the negative things she thought about herself were untrue; writing and creating Everything to Everyone functioned as a healing form of self-reflection. “The EP was the craziest thing because I learned everything about myself,” she said. “I’ve taken seven moments where I feel like I’m at my lowest and turned those to the best moments of my entire year, which is so cool and I feel so grateful to be able to say that.” This is the first year when she’s felt she can truly be herself — “not dimming myself down to make anybody smaller or make somebody comfortable. I’m just really out here existing for me and solely for me.” 

Shedding happy tears over how far she has come, she is overjoyed that there are people out there who want to listen to her music. “I feel like this is all I've wanted to do my whole life,” she said, “and I’m so excited that I get to do it.”

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