Hello Honey Poppers, we have another artist we know you’ll immediately be adding to your playlists. Today, we have the lovely and talented Ren Martinez, fka Ren Farren. She does have some talented parents, but her talent stands on its own. Since a young age, she was in love with music, which, ya know, is relatable. When she got older, she attended a music program that helped her become the singer-songwriter she is now. And let us tell you she is an incredible singer, as well as a songwriter. Her songs were even featured on shows like New Girl and The Young and The Restless! So you know, if you aren’t jumping on the Ren Martinez train yet, then maybe our interview with the artist will!
Hi Ren Martinez and welcome to The Honey Pop, we are so excited to have you! What have you been up to since releasing your last track?
Hello and thank you! It’s been a while since my last release, and while I’ve been doing all sorts of things, the main thing I’ve been doing is writing and recording my debut full-length album. The last year or so, as we’ve all started to really get back in the swing of things post-Covid lockdowns, I feel like I’ve been re-acquainting myself with all my favorite things about Los Angeles, my home. I’ve been playing live again, both my own music and in showcases at the Odyssey theater in Culver City, celebrating artists like Joni Mitchell and Stephen Sondheim. I’ve been walking and running and swimming in the ocean and going to bookstores. I was in a
friend’s brilliant one-act play earlier this year, part of a little theater festival at the Silverlake Lounge. I’ve been seeing as much live music and theater and comedy as I can, and going to dance class, and working. But mostly, I’ve been getting this album ready to go out into the world.
We were told you have a debut album on the way which we are super excited about! Can you tell us a little about the album?
The album is 10 songs, written by me, produced by Brian Robert Jones, recorded across several different studios and lockouts and bedrooms across the east side of LA. It’s the realization of a dream I’ve had since I was a little kid. It’s a body of work that spans different genres, but I think it’s united by the common thread of my voice and my songwriting. I am so, so proud of it. It’s called Fingers Crossed.
What kind of approach did you have to creating these tracks compared to your previous tracks such as ‘Crier?’
These tracks were all produced by Brian Robert Jones, who I met at USC in the Popular Music program, and we started making music together then. Crier was one of the first tracks we recorded together, and in some ways, our process has remained the same. I will come to Brian with a demo, and we will go from there. There are things we do separately—I’m a pretty private songwriter, and then generally after I’d present the song, Brian would kind of go solo into his producer’s lair to create a first version of the track. Then comes a lot of adding and subtracting
and tweaking and editing, and a lot of that we’ve gotten to do together. Brian has always been a dream collaborator, and I have been so lucky to get to work with him. He’s magic, and the way he’s brought that magic into my music is something I will forever be so thankful for.
What in your life made you want to jump back into creating music?
I never stopped! Consistently releasing as an independent artist is tricky to say the least, especially when you’re also working, but I’ve always been on this path. I knew after releasing my first two EPs, which each originally had 5 tracks, that it was time for a full-length—even though it was a much bigger undertaking, it’s how I’ve always wanted to put out music. I know there are all different kinds of personalities out there making and sharing art, but personally, I’m a huge perfectionist, and I put a lot of pressure on myself.
This process has been a real exercise of going slow but steady as possible and knowing that I was building something, piece by piece, that I was truly putting my whole heart into. I would love at some point in my life to make a record as fast as possible, give myself some crazy time constraint and see what happens, and who knows, it might revolutionize the whole thing for me! But for this first one, I knew it would be this surreal little miracle if I could do it at all. And I’m so proud. And I feel like the road is open ahead.
Our favorite lyrics of yours have to be “Will you be around for the comedown? /Are you ready for the darkness in the dead of the night?” from ‘The Comedown,’ it’s all our fave track of yours in general. What would you say are some lyrics of yours that made you go “wow I really wrote that?”
This is such a fun question!! I love lyric writing—I think I’m a lyricist at heart. I love beautiful poetic lyrics, I love super-clever lyrics, I love lyrics with double meanings. I have a lyric from my song “Lose the Night,” for example: “and when I hit the floor, it’s like a homecoming” — that’s one of my poppier tracks, and that lyric is both about dancing, and the way going out and losing yourself in music on the dance floor is this beautiful community catharsis — but it’s also about being absolutely devastatingly depressed, and that kind of plunging feeling of recognition when
you find yourself back down on the floor of your own life. I think specificity in lyric writing is so important, and that’s what makes for truly emotional moments in songwriting.
I have a song on the new album that opens with, “looking up at that popcorn ceiling, lying there freezing on the floor,” and everyone I’ve played it for has remarked on how clearly, they can see that ceiling and feel what it feels like to be in that cold room right from that first line. The second half of that couplet is, “you ask me if believing in magic means it isn’t magic anymore.” I was very proud of that line. I’d been thinking, during Covid, about all the miracles of life, and what separates the mystical from the ordinary.
There are so many things we take for granted that feel completely magical when you really think about them, and I was wondering why that is, and if it’s only because magic has to, by definition, not be real. What does magic become when you start believing in it? Suddenly that line dropped into my head, and I knew it would be the start of a song. I love the contrast of that couplet—how it starts out very grounded and small and detailed and then slides right into this big muddy life question. These are such random examples, and I could go on and on! But those are the ones that come to mind right away.
Your track ‘Good Girl’ gained a lot of success, did you think it would get the attention it did? What other tracks of yours do you think deserve the same traction?
That song making it on Billboard’s Top 25 Best Rock Songs of 2017 was such a triumphant moment for me, and I could not have been more surprised—it was such an organic thing the way it happened, and it was really surreal to see that it had made an impact in that way. For me that song was a very specific blend of personal frustration that mirrored the sociopolitical frustration that was happening at the same time, and I think that’s a huge part of why it resonated, because of that blend of the personal and the universal. I have a big pop song on the new album, ‘Take Touch,’ that I could see resonating in the same way, about the intense loneliness of the last few years.
You have a track called ‘Dial Tone’ and it had us start thinking of call back tones, which seemed like everyone had back then. What was your call back tone? If it was something we had today, what do you think your song choice would be?
God, I think the last one I had was “PYT” by Michael Jackson. Honestly, a psychotic choice. If I had one now it would be “Smooth” by Santana featuring Rob Thomas.
You’ve recently entered your 30’s, which most people believe for some reason means your life is over. To you what does it mean to be turning 30?
It’s so funny, it seems like the anxiety about turning 30 is inescapable—but it is absolutely my experience so far that, as many friends have advised, turning 30 is amazing, and having it behind you is honestly way better than having it in front of you. Probably because everyone makes such a big deal of it! I am thrilled to be alive, and it’s genuinely really exciting to realize that I’m entering a new phase of things. I feel like I wasn’t that excited about turning 30 because I didn’t see what the upsides were, but truly as soon as it happened, I was like, oh, the upside of getting older is GROWTH. And that is a major positive! Seems like it should’ve been obvious, but I’ve just realized this. Feels good.
We always like to shout out our favorite artists people should be listening to, who are some artists that you want to shout out?
My favorite artists are, truly, my friends. These are the people I listen to the most and the people I highly recommend checking out ASAP: Maddie Ross, Alex Bloom, Lou Roy, Okudaxij, Illuminati Hotties, Mackin the Destroyer, Georgia Greene, Soft Streak, Alex Lahey, Gordi, Sam Wilkes—it’s honestly tough to stop the list, but these are all brilliant artists and wonderful people. Add them to your playlists and your life will be richer.
What can we expect from you for the remainder of 2023?
I’m playing a show at one of my favorite venues, Resident in DTLA, on December 6th, with close friends and amazing artists Alex Bloom and Soft Streak. I’m so excited about it, going to make it a really special night and anyone who is in LA should come! The lineup is stacked. I’m also getting my record all ready for release, which will be a really good way to go into the new year. I can’t wait to share it.
See we told you, you would be jumping on the Ren Martinez hype train, and no one will blame you, because we are the train conductors. The singer also has an album on the way, so make sure you have your eyes peeled on her socials. So…which track from Ren Martinez have you added? Let us know in the comments down below or over on Twitter @thehoneypop, and don’t forget to talk to us on Facebook and Instagram!
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