In The Spotlight: Deniz Reno

Another great spotlight for you all! Be sure to check out our Interviews section to see more of the great up and coming stars that have been featured here!

Today, on The Spotlight, we have Toronto-based singer Deniz Reno! Coming from a family of visual artists and sculptors, Deniz has always been surrounded by wonderful creativity and artistry. Also, living in Central Asia for the first 10 years of her life had a strong impact on her life and music. “I’m influenced by my Eastern European roots, my Middle Eastern roots, my Asian roots,” the singer said. “These cultures have always been very rich in musical talent.” She also listened to a variety of artists and genres through her parents including Luciano Pavarotti, Maria Callas, Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Dassin, Whitney Houston and Janice Joplin.

At a young age, Deniz herself became involved in the visual arts, winning competitions and showing her art in galleries. She acknowledged, however, that others in her family knew she would be a singer long before she ever did. Her aunt showed her old tapes back when she was only a few weeks old, of her lying down and humming melodies, and her dad stated that she was going to be a singer. “I found that absolutely wild, especially knowing that the decision to sing and write professionally didn’t come naturally to me,” Deniz admitted. “There was a lot of second guessing and back and forth. Meanwhile, it’s like it had been decided for me way before I was even aware of it.”

To keep her well rounded, Deniz’ parents sent her to a school to concentrate specifically in music and dance. She began playing the flute and singing in the choir as a youth, eventually joining a show choir in high school. “We used to perform and compete with other show choirs in the States, winning silver and finally gold,” Deniz said. “At this point, I realized that singing was something I wanted to pursue professionally.” At the age of 15, Deniz flew to New York, and afterwards wrote her very first song, titled “New York City.” “I think I must have channeled some energy into it back then, because I still love playing it. It’s still one of my favorite songs,” the singer reflected. From there on, it was clear that this soulful singer was truly meant to make music.

In addition to her blended roots in music mentioned above, the singer is also influenced by Western jazz, soul and pop music, and by artists like Sting, India Arie and Fiona Apple. Her all time favorite artist, though, is Ray Charles, who she states she can listen to every day for the rest of her life. “To me, he epitomizes music, and the beautiful struggle to be able to create it and share it with the world.” Deniz’ eclectic taste in music shows in her own soulful and creative sound.

Deniz released her debut song “Higher” in 2013, which was she wrote after a trip to Cuba. “I remember sitting up in my bedroom looking out on the veranda and the rays of sun penetrating through my window,” the singer reminisced. “I just felt so happy and grateful for everything in my life, and I think ‘Higher’ embodied my emotions at the time. It was like a little prayer.” She gave the song to Russian DJ Matvey Emerson to play around with, and he created a great melody for the song, which made a big splash after being signed to Armada Records through its sub label Planet Love. With the assistance of Myon, Shane 54, Marcus Schossow and Paul Oakenfold, Deniz was able to co-produce a music video for the track. Directed by Planet Love’s owner and producer York and cinematographer Anderson Andrew in Antigua and Barbuda, the video was used throughout Canada in ads for Canada Philippine Fashion Week in support of the Kol Hope Foundation for Children.

Currently, Deniz is working on her full solo record. Last year, she was blessed to meet and begin working with Mike Schlosser of Little Noise Records in Toronto. “What started out as one song to just see if we can write together quickly turned into two, three and we are indeed working on something very exciting that in due time I can’t wait to share with my audience,” the singer said. While Deniz didn’t reveal a release date, it’s definitely a project that she’s excited about and will be sharing with everyone very soon.

In addition to that record, Deniz will be featured on the Bang Boom EP with production duo Micah Sherman and Oliver Schmitz, which will drop this month courtesy of Indiana Tones Records (in Switzerland). She has also signed to do another EP that will be set for release later this year, as well as an upcoming collaboration with producer and DJ Patrick Podage. Deniz is definitely busy!

In terms of what sets her apart from other artists, it’s definitely Deniz’ strong knack of channeling emotions through her music to relate to listeners. “I reach out to people through my music and invite them into my life through sound and lyrics,” she said. “In retrospect, that’s what every performer does, but each one of us does it in a way that’s unique to our experience and skill.” She also made it a point to actually learn the business side of this industry early on through an internship with Sony Music, which gives her a leg up on other artists fresh in. “After having that experience and seeing how things work behind the scenes, I have been very proactive in not just making music but being very aware what it takes to deliver my music to a wider audience,” Deniz stated. “Many artists resent or simply don’t know much about the music business, but I’ve found a way to stay true to my art and make friends with the business side of it without sacrificing my integrity as an artist.” She goes after what she wants, and gets her tasks done, and done well, which people see and respect.

In the future, Deniz wants to be able to grow as an artist, songwriter, and producer, taking her current work to a global level. “I want to show people who dream of having a career in the arts that, with a certain belief and tenacity, it’s possible to achieve your goals without compromising your integrity artistically, emotionally or physically,” the singer said. “I’d like to think that what I do and how I do it inspires people and I’d love to be able to do that on a global scale, to give others opportunities to see their dreams come to fruition.”

You can learn more about Deniz on her official website, and hear more of her music on SoundCloud and YouTube. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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