Nashville-based singer-songwriter Ren Richards has developed her own brand of raw, emotionally-driven rock that reflects her unique musical past and genuine nature. She’s a natural storyteller with a candid, open spirit and effortless writing style reminiscent of artists like KT Tunstall and Alison Mosshart. After fronting a successful metal band in Florida and then establishing herself as a country songwriter in Nashville, Richards is blazing her own trail in the independent music scene, fusing her narrative lyrical chops with her love for dynamic melodies and driving electric guitar lines. She’s got the emotive capacity of powerhouse pop vocalists paired with the breezy audacity of alt-rock icons like Alanis Morissette and Sheryl Crow. Now poised to release her debut solo EP, Richards showcases a mix of vulnerability and grit with three new, genre-bending indie rock tracks about life, love, and whatever comes between.
Richards grew up singing and riding horses, and in early adolescence she started writing music as a way to process depression. Her first musical influences were an assortment of country artists played at the barn where she rode and the batch of iconic women-led acts who stormed pop radio in the early 2000s. In high school, she started fronting a metal band called Needless to Say, writing lyrics and singing songs inspired by bands like Avenged Sevenfold and Flyleaf. A foundational experience in her early music career, the band released two EPs and gathered a strong following, performing at venues across south and central Florida, including a date on the Vans Warped Tour. “That was the first time I felt a real sense of community…before, I’d always felt like a misfit. We got to a point where fans would sing my lyrics at shows, which was amazing. So when that ended, I picked up a guitar and kept writing.” Richards taught herself guitar after the band broke up and joined several South Florida cover bands, playing weekly gigs to keep her performance skills sharp. But she missed the creative outlet of songwriting. When she discovered the songwriting culture in Nashville, she fell in love after one visit and moved to Music City in 2018. “I followed the writing—Nashville is where you go to write songs. I dove immediately into the writing community there, co-writing and playing rounds.” She landed a couple independent country cuts and started performing at local spots, including legendary venue The Listening Room, before the global pandemic hit.
In the long quarantine of 2020, Richards spent time alone, becoming reacquainted with herself as an artist. “I took a hard look at myself, cut off my hair, and felt a renewed kinship with the singer I used to be.” Channeling the late-90s era of edgy, female-fronted rock bands, she took to the studio in East Nashville to record a three-song solo debut with producer Evan Sieling.
Released on all streaming platforms, February 4th, 2022, Think Before I Sing reveals Richards’s lyrical dexterity and rich vocal range in three elegant, defiant anthems. Opening track “My All,” a textured narrative reflecting on the end of a relationship, slowly builds into a satisfying grandeur rife with slant rhyme and tight, emotionally-acute writing: I don’t know / if drinking will fix / all of the problems / that he left me with. “The whole thing is me saying ‘I’m done being disrespected.’” The cheekier “Think Before I Sing” blends brassy attitude, tight vocal harmonies, and rhythmic electric guitar in a catchy, pop-leaning tune (think Michelle Branch meets Shawn Colvin). “It’s about how people get under each other’s skin, press buttons, and affect each other.” The final track “Not for Long” is an emotional slow-burn showcasing a more vulnerable side, calling attention to the important relationship Richards has with herself: “I’m telling myself how to overcome whatever hurts me, how to be okay no matter what. At this point, I’m not trying to be anything but myself.”