Teenage angst is a coming of age emotional turmoil that can’t be escaped, so what better way to get through it than to write about it. And that’s exactly what 17-year-old, Canadian-born artist Lauren Isenburg (ren for short) has done. 17 is a special age. It’s the age that Lorde released her critically acclaimed debut album and the same age that a fresh-faced Billie Eilish became a household name and reigning chart-topper. ren has already generated major buzz last year with her first two alt-pop hits ‘waves’ and ‘mind games’ accumulating an extraordinary 7.5 million streams. Her foundation lies in her talent, and with her give no f*cks attitude, she’s well on her way to establishing herself as one of 2020’s breakthrough artists.
ren was always destined to have star potential. Music runs in her family’s blood – all three of her brothers are also musicians. At 13 years old she began to write her own music and learned the guitar, piano, and bass. Her YouTube covers of Jessie Reyez’s ‘Figures,’ Labrinth’s ‘Jealous,’ and Lana Del Rey ft. Sean Ono Lennon’s ‘Tomorrow Never Came’ prepared her for performing at open mic nights, quickly gaining her traction. Growing up surrounded by her Dad’s grunge records opened her up to a diverse range of musical influences from Amy Winehouse and Joni Mitchell to Nirvana and Red Hot Chili Peppers. ren’s latest sassy, indie-pop hooks have been accompanied by haunting basslines, proving that there’s more than one flavour of traditional bubblegum pop.
Last year, ren kicked off her music career with the release of ‘waves’ and ‘mind games’ both accompanied by dreamy music videos. The songs showcase her delightfully intoxicating sound and effortless songwriting. In ‘waves’ she uses the ocean as a metaphor for a wistful romance that continues to break down despite putting in all the effort to make it work. ‘mind games’ cheeky and cynical lyrics, “we keep each other entertained” and “love the way I pull your strings” flaunts a complicated tit-for-tat relationship where taking up headspace in your lover’s thoughts is endgame (whether it’s for good or bad reasons). Boasting over 3.4 million streams to date, it’s firmly settled on the lips of tastemakers globally.
After deservingly being signed by a major record label, ren’s first official single ‘idc’ off her debut EP Teenage Angst due out March 13th adds another layer to her genre-bending sound. It’s a grungey anthem with what she describes as a “Nirvana pedal” during the guitar-lead chorus. It’s overflowing with cheek in the Tinder age, where the only thing that non-commital f*ckboys deserve is a middle finger reply.
Polarising second single ‘new way’ is the complete opposite to ‘idc’, with a surprised ren being treated almost too well by her partner that she is pining for some drama. On the lovesick chorus she sings, “I need a new way to hate you, I’m not used to feeling this good / I wish you’d fuck up, so I could talk sh*t about you in a song.” This unconventional message continues to show the depth of ren’s skillful songwriting ability. Teenage Angst will also tackle mature themes of body image, vulnerability and the anxiety of growing up as a teen in a post-modern world.
Gen-Z pop sad-girls are transcending expectations of a new generation of deliciously dark pop music, and ren is a refreshing addition to the already stellar lineup. With only a handful of singles released so far, she has already been named Apple Music’s Artist of the Week and one of Soundcloud’s Artists to Watch. Her current plans for 2020 are to continue juggling high school with her music career, but with her star power rising every second we have a feeling she may be skipping class a lot.
ren’s brand new single ‘I Drive Me Mad’ is out now.