Renee Cologne Interview:
1. Did you have any pre-conceived ideas about the music industry?
Well, I'm not sure what you mean by "pre-conceived" - having been in NY for 20 years and a professional musician for much of that time, I'd say any ideas I have about it are well earned! Having said that, I have seen a huge change in the industry. Primarily brought on by the digital transfer of music and how that has affected physical record sales. The record industry didn't move early or quickly enough to embrace the technology of mp3's etc. to really capitalize on it, and so now they are really left scrambling to try to protect what little they have of the market share. Digital music has also wildly affected how new artists are "broken", how artists are supported creatively and how we make money from the whole structure. It's exciting and terrifying to be part of the process in a time of great change.
2. Do you write your own songs? What's your inspiration?
Yes, I do write my own songs. I really find inspiration from everything. I mean, I'll be in a conversation with someone and they will say something that may catch my ear and I'll completely tune out as I start to turn it around and over and sort of "see" a whole picture form around it. It may not be very nice to the person who was talking, but I usually try to politely tell them what's going on - that I'm in a moment of creativity and not having a flashback or stroke!
Nature always stimulates me. But I do find that I keep coming back to the business of humanity, from the most mundane to the most heartbreaking, for inspiration.
3. What music/artists do you listen to when you are not playing your own?
It's funny but I don't listen to that much music these days. When I do, I find it's a lot of the old classics or things I grew up with, or foreign language stuff, that way I'm not distracted by the lyrics - this, from a writer! Having said all that, here's some of the stuff I've been listening to lately: Bulgarian Women's Choirs, Donny Hathaway, Keith Richards "Talk is Cheap", John Mayer "Continuum", Death Cab for Cutie, Psapp . . .
4. What's next? Tour/Album/Single?
The official record release for "Rock & Roll Housewife" is at Joe's Pub on September 11th - it will be the first gig with the new band, so we're psyched about that. And of course, I'm still working out the kinks technically, given the electronic nature of what I do. We'd love to get something going in Europe and do some touring there, who knows, maybe we'll even come to Australia?! Also, we're really pursuing film licensing, because of the dramatic quality to the music. But, I'm a new mom to a 3-month old son, so for now, touring will be a bit limited.
5. Was there a moment you contemplated throwing in the towel?
Ha, oh yeah. My friends said that I was mad at music. It's kind of true. I went through a period that I was so disillusioned by the music business and the state of music and playing out in NY that I was just over it all. I went back to school at Parsons School of Design in NY for Interior Design, another love of mine, and went to work in the city for a fantastic designer, Thad Hayes. I was very lucky to work for him and mentor under him, and still maintain a wonderful relationship with him and the office. But, alas, music called me back. Somewhere along the way, I lost my anger and found my love for what I do again, which was what it was all about to begin with. So, that's where I am now - just making music for the love of it and trying to get it heard, but mostly just okay with the making of it and the process. I think the wise might call it, enjoying the journey and not the destination!
6. Do you prefer performing live or recording?
I really love both, for different reasons. I love recording because for me, it really is the birth of creativity. Finding what it is in my heart, my head, my ears and getting that into a form that can be shared, a recording. Performing is the other side of that cycle, which is sharing what you've discovered in real time with other people. It's a pretty amazing thing, when you think about it. And trust me, I have.
7. What/who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?
Well, I never really chose to go into the music industry - in fact, if I could've found the road to fame and never met a music industry type, I would have been real happy with that. But my choice to go into music was a natural one given that I began playing my guitar and singing at the local old folks home when I was in 3rd grade. I was a natural ham, I mean, entertainer, and let's face it, I had a captive audience. Also, my family was always very supportive of my pursuit of music and learning and going as far as I could with it. I was lucky in that way.
8. What is the biggest challenge you have faced along the way to your musical success?
New York City is a tough place to pay dues and I think the hardest thing for me has been finding the balance between making a living, living a creative life and having a fulfilling personal life. Oh, and finding time to exercise, relax and recharge!
9. What's a typical day like?
Like I said, I'm a new mom, so my typical day now is totally different than it was 3 months ago! Basically, I get up when my son tells me it's time for him to eat (anywhere between 6-9am), make myself a soy latte as soon as humanly possible, go for a walk or play with Tristan. As soon as he goes down for a nap, I'm a tazmanian devil. I go up to my attic studio and work on getting the live show together, including costume, gear, promo, return phone calls, emails, etc. Then in the evening, I make myself a martini (see my website for recipe) and make dinner. Eat outside on the deck in nice weather, or by the fireplace in the winter, and catch up with my significant other. Read, watch a movie, visit with friends or some variation, go to bed, repeat.
10. What has been your favorite part of becoming a music artist?
Freedom to express myself. I find so many of the rules that go with being an adult are structured, in my musical life, I get to be free, wacky, experimental.
11. If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Jane Siberry or Bjork - why, do you know either one of them? Give them my number, will you?
12. Are you single? What do you look for in a partner?
Depends whose asking. No, really, I'm not single. I look for honesty, humor, fun, good communication, depth, appreciation for art in all forms, intelligence.
13. Do you have a website fans can visit?
www.reneecologne.com or www.myspace.com/reneecologne - Please stop by!
14. Can you tell us 5 things required for a happy healthy & enjoyable life?
3. Laughter - sense of humor
15. What message would you like to say to your fans?
Live in the moment, be present with those you are with. Be a good listener. Eat well. And finally, I'd just like to say that I'm always humbled and honored to find people who connect with what I do. I just want to say thanks to all who listen and are inspired or moved by my music.
60 Second QuizFull Name: Annelyse Renee Cologne
Nickname(s): Nee nee
Star Sign: Capricorn
Music Talent: Yes? Singing "Hopelessly Devoted to You" on one knee to kareoke
Favorite Food: The Dreamery Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream
Favorite Film: Romancing the Stone, Silence of the Lambs
Favorite Actor: Meryl Streep, Judy Davis, Christopher Walken
Pet: Cat Bingo
Describe yourself in 3 words: Integritous, loyal, funny
Best Feature: Sense of Humor
Worst Feature: Impatience
Person You Would Most Like to Meet: Bill Gates, for his groundbreaking vision in technology, business, philanthropy and humanity
Hobbies/Interests: Gardening, reading, running, swimming, biking, traveling
First Job: Babysitting
Are you a Pub, Bar or Club kind: Bar
What Can You Never Leave Home Without: Lipstick and cell phone
What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning: How tired I am!