I always love catching up with Ina Reni…
because she brings her personality to the page. This time; I have been speaking with her about the debut E.P., Down to Mars, and the ideas that inspired it. She discusses her early life and musical tastes; why London is so important to her creativity and style; whether she has a favoured cut from her E.P. – whether she was affected by the recent snow.
I ask whether there will be any future singles from Down to Mars and what she hopes to achieve this year; how she manages to spend time away from music – a couple of new artists we should all be aware of.
Hi, Ina. How are you? How has your week been?
My week has been good. I just came from holidays and, to be honest, wasn’t as productive as I usually am - but I guess, sometimes, it takes a few days to get back into your normal routine.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I am a half-German, half-Bulgarian singer-songwriter who makes Pop music with some Alternative influences.
Were you affected by the snow we have been having? As a musician; was it quite an inconvenience?!
Coming from Germany; I found it astonishing how many problems a few centimetres of snow can cause in this country! Half of my meetings for that week were rescheduled and public transport was really badly affected. But, of course; I understand it’s very rare here in the U.K. - so the systems to deal with it are not in place. But, that aside; I enjoyed the snow a lot.
Snow is one of my favourite things in the world!
Your E.P., Down to Mars, is out. What themes and ideas inspired the E.P.?
The E.P. is, actually, quite reflective of the sort of topics I was dealing during the last few years. Tiffany and All That Ice are about certain phenomena you find in relationships, like being taken for granted or (also) the tendency to stop spending quality time with each other - assuming extrinsic factors will make up for it. Peachy is about living in the moment and cutting out unnecessary negativity and stress from your life. I’m super-bad at that, so I wanted to make a song that always reminds me to chill a little when stress takes the upper-hand.
Finally; Down To Mars is about my decision to pursue goals and dreams that other people deem unrealistic and ultimately disapprove of - simply because music as a profession doesn’t seem lucrative enough. There is also a remix of my first single, I Thought You Were Gay, on the E.P. - which is super-different to the original version! Music-wise; it’s a Pop record with influences of Ska, Dancehall - and even some Blues.
Down to Mars is your debut E.P. Was it exciting putting it all together? Do you have a favourite song from the E.P.?
Yeah, it was very exciting. The whole process took place in Inglewood, L.A. and, for two weeks, I was, literary, in the studio twenty-four-seve; writing and recording one song a day with the producers. My favourite song is Down to Mars - because the topic is so close to my heart.
Will we see any new singles? Are you working on a single-release/video right now?
No. I have done it rather the other way around: I released two singles from the E.P. prior to the Down to Mars (E.P.) release. First of all, there was Tiffany, for which I have also shot a music video. Then, there was Peachy - which was just an audio release.
You are based in London but have German roots. Do you get chance to play back in Berlin?
I did play a festival in Berlin last year: this year, I haven’t planned anything yet. But; I will be going to the studio in Berlin at the end of March to work with a German producer (who is really great). In general, I love Berlin. I grew up there and it’s where I feel most at home.
When did music come into your life? Did you grow up around a lot of music?
Music has been the most important thing in my life since I can think...
I started playing accordion at a young age and then moved over to piano; singing and writing at the age of fourteen. But; I remember that, even before I started writing properly, I would always make up songs in the shower - terrible ones, actually. My family members are still traumatised!
How important is London to you? Do you get inspired a lot by the people and neighbourhoods?
London is important to me because most of my friends and music contacts are based here. Other than that, to be entirely honest, the city has drained me a little with its fast-paced, rather anonymous vibe. Most times, I get inspired by experiences happening outside London. For instance; I often get super-inspired when I’m back in Berlin or after I come back from a holiday.
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
In 2018; I want to put out lots of music and, hopefully, some of it will do well! Other than that; I want to write more songs for other artists; attend more exciting professional writing camps and grow my YouTube following.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
During one of the many times that I went busking on Portobello Road, I once accumulated an especially big crowd and, by the end of my set, the whole street was dancing to my rendition of Bitch Better Have My Money (it was a request). I love that feeling of being really connected with my audience. One moment we are all strangers and the next moment we all share this really special experience with each other - and it becomes a little temporary community!
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Think outside the box - and don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.
IN THIS PHOTO: CYN
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
There is an artist called CYN that you should check out - she has a really fresh sound and good lyrics.
Another interesting new artist that I recently discovered is Sabrina Claudio. She is a beautiful woman that does some sort of sensual R’n’B.
IN THIS PHOTO: Sabrina Claudio
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
For me, the best way to relax is through sports. I love skiing and playing golf or tennis - or, if I have the chance, snorkelling. Other than that; I find playing Classical piano or drawing pencil portraits super-relaxing.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
CYN – Alright
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