introducing rence
photo: Ryan Jay / press

Introducing: Rence

Rence has been popping up on everyone’s radar since 2019. Having grown up in Seattle, Rence had moved to New York to attend NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. It wasn’t an easy ride; for three years he juggled classes, music internships, independently producing and releasing his own music and bussing tables at night. 

It was all worth it in the end when he got signed to Epic Records just after graduating in 2019. Since, Rence has had a steady stream of singles from “Expensive” featuring Noah Cyrus to this year’s “hate u btw” and “Tears in December.”

Last month, Rence released another single, a motivational anthem titled “Sometimes Things Just Fall Apart,” alongside a music video that he did with Overcast. We chatted with Rence about his new single, shooting the music video, and quarantine.

Talk to us about your new single.
I wrote it when I was sick of the things I couldn’t control. I always try to chart my own path, create my own destiny, so things not going my way was so frustrating. Sad, even. I started, what would become the song you hear now, almost three years ago in an attempt to pull myself above those feelings and see the bright future ahead. But, like so many songs we as artists start, I never finished it. I got the rough sketch down but moved on to other feelings and projects. But the song’s core kept in my head, and about a year later I picked it back up with some friends in New York, again trying to tackle it. No luck.

We put it down again when we realized we couldn’t quite figure it out. Then, much more recently, I was working with two of my favorite people in LA just vibing on some new ideas and I realized that the instrumental we were making was actually the exact soundtrack to a song and message I had begun constructing years ago: “Sometimes Things Just Fall Apart.”

How have fans been reacting to the new song?
Being an artist in a competitive sector of music is an interesting task. Every release you are trying to make or hoping what you make becomes your fans’ new favorite song. But then the next song you put out needs to dethrone the last one. Some of the best feedback I’ve gotten from this release is “Sometimes Things Just Fall Apart” become people’s go-to Rence song or go-to song in general. Alongside that, I made this song to be helpful during dark times, so the most amazing thing is hearing about and seeing how it’s helping others.

How was it filming the music video?
Shooting underwater was far more difficult than we thought it would be when we came up with the idea. Although it was really hot outside, the water was freezing, and having a full outfit on meant I was shivering whenever I wasn’t submerged. I figured the better I could do the takes, and the longer, the less we’d have to do, so we did one minute of the song at a time underwater. Big shoutout to CQ, Daniel, and the Overcast guys for making sure we got what we needed so I didn’t need to be down there for longer than necessary. 

The rest of the video was kind of funny too. We shot the story in reverse chronological order, so I had to be wet all day. That meant the Overcast guys dumping water on me before every shot, which I never really got used to. Regardless, as with any of my art, the final product makes it all worth it.

introducing rence
photo: Ryan Jay / press

What drew you to music and made you want to pursue it as a career?
I got into music purely because I was and am such a big fan of it. Singing T-Pain songs at the top of my lungs in the car when I was younger comprise my best and most favorite memories. I started making songs with the hopes of giving other people that same feeling.

Who are your biggest inspirations musically?
My first and forever favorite artist is T-Pain. So much of what I do and create comes from the feelings I get from his music. But some other big favorites are Sade, John Mayer, Kanye, and Travis. I’m a lover of independent greatness, of art that is so perfectly itself regardless of what is going on around it. So my favorites are always people doing that, from those big artists to smaller ones doing it every day. Genre is not important to me.

Career-wise, what’s next for you? Can we expect an album or an EP in the near future?
As always you can expect my best in music, visuals, clothes, etc. I’ve been working for a while putting together the best music that I can. I think we’re gonna stick with some more singles for a while and try to give each song a life independent of a project narrative, as we build to that first album. Perhaps an EP sooner than that. But just more of the best music I can muster.

What has quarantine been like for you?
Quarantine has been mixed for me. On the one hand, I feel super grateful to live in a place I like to be, with a roommate who I love spending time with, and to have all the tools I need around me to be creative and do my job, especially when so many have lost theirs. But on the other hand, it’s a really tricky time to stay inspired and motivated. When tomorrow looks like the next day, looks like the next day, for the most part, it can be hard to keep that grind up. I’ve managed to do so by making tons of to-do lists, breaking things down to their smallest pieces so I can really track my own progress.