New EP & Music Video Release 'In The World' by Taranaki musician Renee Millner on October 18
Soul Folk Singer Songwriter
In The World Album & Video Launch
4th Wall Theatre, New Plymouth • October 18, 2018, 7.30pm
Wangunui - Space Studio Gallery - October 20
Tauranga - The Jam Factory - October 27 (with Juliet McLean)
Hamilton - Nivara Lounge - November 1 (with Andre Manella)
Napier - The Paisley Stage - November 8
Taranaki based artist Renée Millner’s transcendent voice returns with the release of her second EP next month.
The singer songwriter is already known for unapologetically raw lyrics set to exquisite melodies, delivered in a captivating, smokey soul-folk vocal style. ‘In the World’ is a uniquely arresting collection of reflections on the places Renée has been since her last release in 2016.
October & November 2018 will see Renée touring 6 major New Zealand centres, to celebrate the album’s release – along with music video for the title track, ‘In The World’. Recorded and produced by acclaimed former Into The East maestro Graeme Woller, with support from New Zealand’s Creative Community Funding Scheme, ‘In The World’ explores transition, depression, and the fragility of human relationships.
Renée is a self-confessed nomad: Sydney-born and raised, she also lived in Melbourne, rural NSW and a Japanese backwater before moving to New Plymouth.
Along the way were solo travel adventures, the first through rugged Bolivian mountain ranges in 2008. It was there she found her one constant traveling companion: the beloved acoustic guitar that also features heavily throughout the album.
But since arriving in New Plymouth it’s the journey inward that has most absorbed Renée.
“Choosing to live as an artist pushes you into places that can be devastatingly uncomfortable,” Renée explains. “I’m so often forced to confront my own fragilities that I can’t help noticing fragility in others. Sometimes there’s nothing more I can do with that than tell a story. It feels like I owe it to myself, and to everyone who’s struggled with love, and doubt, and meaning, to tell those stories with absolute vulnerability.”
It’s that vulnerability that makes her songs so relatable. However deeply personal they are, they all touch on themes that are universal and inescapable. Who hasn’t struggled with doubt, and the search for meaning? Who hasn’t felt displaced, or wondered if they’re going in the right direction – or going anywhere at all?
Renée’s reflections on these themes are delivered with an honesty that’s sometimes agonizing. Yet the musical journey this album takes us on is far from grim and certainly not one-dimensional; along with stellar musicianship there’s a scrupulous attention to production value that elevates this new album to an exhilarating level.
The title track, ‘In The World’, is hopeful, combining sweet harmonies with a grabby build-up in the bridge; ‘This Love’ is spacious, with a James Taylor vibe; and ‘Home’ belies its gritty story of physical displacement with warm 70s-style drum beats and a pop rock feel.
‘Fall Down’ prickles with agitation, but behind the “f*** you!” vibe is a blend of soul and rock that artfully layers dry drums with the synth-like tones of the Hammond organ, electric guitar riffs and a build-up of vocal harmonies. On the face of it a rant at the world, its frustration is directed at the sabotage that goes on inside our own heads.
It’s the perfect counterpoint to the final track, ‘Mirror’, with lyrics reminiscent of Melissa Ferrick or Missy Higgins but guitar stylings that could have flown from Joni Mitchell’s own playbook. Add its subtle violin and Rhodes keyboard touches and the overall effect is of “little birds singing the song,” says Renée.
“There would be few who couldn’t connect to the heartbreak that pours out.” —Emma Moss, NZ Musician Magazine (review, 2016)
“When you’re working with a talented artist you're not really working,” says the album’s producer, Graeme Woller. “You’re sculpting air, you’re breathing music, and you’re breaking hearts. That’s what working with Renée is like. Her music is the deepest pull of the tidal flow, it tugs you off your feet and leaves you gasping for oxygen – but happy to do it all over again.”
It may seem a long way from Taranaki’s Festival of Lights to the The Seddon Festival in Melbourne, The Inland Sea of Sound (Bathurst) or the PEAK Festival (Perisher, NSW), but the authentic connection that pulled Graeme into her musical orbit, and that Renée forges so effortlessly with audiences, sees her regularly invited to stages on both sides of the Tasman.
It’s that combination of deep personal connection and uncompromising musicianship that invites comparisons between Renée and singer songwriters Ani Difranco and Melissa Ferrick — the very artists who inspired her to embark on her musical career in the first place.
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CONTACT & FOLLOW
RENÉE MILLNER MUSIC
Soul Folk Singer Songwriter
+64-21 024 88436
Taranaki • NEW ZEALAND
For further information or tour dates visit www.rennym.com
Article by Dan Thurston-Crow