Today we’d like to introduce you to Lei Renee.
Alright, thank you for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us how you got started?
I am a multifaceted individual. My strong single mother raised me. I moved around the entire DMV area to meet many people from different backgrounds. I believe my childhood played a big part in my life as far as learning new things quickly and being able to adjust my life to whatever came my way.
I started singing and rapping when I was about 12 years old. Music is a big thing in my family, from my mother to my aunts and uncles. The majority of us sing. I was able to observe some things from them. I was on my high school’s dance team for four years, and that is when I found that I wanted to be an entertainer and move a crowd through art.
At the age of 21 I enlisted in the military. I served in the United States Army for nine years. After that, I went to school to obtain my associate’s degree in criminal justice. I am now in school, still attempting to earn my bachelor’s degree, focusing on homeland security and critical infrastructure.
When I returned from the military, I started working for the State of Maryland’s Department of Juvenile Services. During that time, I mentored many at-risk young men who had no hope for tomorrow. I utilized my time speaking to these young men about life, their worth, and what the possibilities of tomorrow could be by taking that first step to changing their life. I taught them that by becoming familiar with who they were by where they aspire to be when they grow older.
Most of them wouldn’t tell me your typical reply like, “I want to be a doctor or lawyer” most of the time, they always wanted to be the hottest rapper or singer out there. That’ dream is a dream worth working for.
When I was younger, I was told that “everyone makes music, do something realistic.” I kept being realistically me. I shared this with them and would often ask them to listen to the raps they wrote, their poetry, or just a letter back home. I encouraged them to continue writing, venting, and making positive changes in their lives no matter the judgment they get from doing what they love.
I was able to deter these young men from thinking irrationally in times of pressure, have patience and write it down. Go for what you want while staying out of the streets, finding better avenues, and making yourself proud first. Seeing some of them on better paths in life has been rewarding and expressing to me that I’ve helped them make that change. They didn’t know that they gave me purpose every day, but I had their backs regardless of my shortcomings. They gave me a reason to continue with my music if I didn’t practice what I preached. How would they? Teaching by example has always been my thing.
I am now going full force into making a career with my music. I sing an RnB, and I also rap. I’m bringing a more positive light to female rap and the rap genre.
We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road getting here. I grew up in a domestic household and have endured some traumatic experiences like many of us. I grew up without my father. He came and went out of my life so often. I never even really knew who he was as a person or why he didn’t choose me as his focus. I grew up putting the pieces together. While working at the juvenile detention center, I was injured on the job and had to let go of working with the at-risk youth. I worked there for about six years, and it all took a turn for me downhill when I could no longer live my purpose of mentoring my youth every day. It took a toll on my mental, and I had to grasp the reality of my unforeseen life ahead.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a singer/songwriter. I sing RnB, and I do a little rapping. I appreciate work from Aaliyah, Lil Kim, Queen Latifah, Eve, Nicki Minaj, Danileigh, Cardi B; the list goes on. All of these great women helped me make my mind up. They show how talented and fearless they are, which is what I strive to be. I’m known for my talents in singing and rapping in the DMV. I often make most of my music the old-school way, with pen and paper. I’m most of how myself for never quitting on myself no matter how much pressure has been put on me or how many people have wanted me to sing or rap things their way. I’m proud of my authenticity. I think that’s what sets me apart from others. I don’t mind taking notes and gaining knowledge from others who have come before me, but I’ll always do things my way.
What was your favorite childhood memory?
My favorite childhood memory was when I used to listen to and call our local radio stations 93.9 and 95.5 on the regular. I would listen to every announcement for concert tickets or any audition. I wanted to be with/ learn from entertainers in any way I could. I’ve won tickets and been to shows, got to shake hands with stars, and I’ve always known I would be one. It was just a matter of time, my time.
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/_lei_renee/?hl=en
- Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/LeiRenee12/
- Youtube: https://youtube.com/channel/UC_diaC-6oo-9s-8_NyS_hAw
- SoundCloud: https://m.soundcloud.com/shaleisha-mcdonald
I am a brand ambassador for Habits365 they are a New York based clothing brand.