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Los Angeles based queer artist Lani Renaldo makes music that is reflective of her personality: bold, charming, and creative. A fierce artiste with a lot to say, Lani represents an honesty that is not often seen in this industry. For her latest single ‘Love Games, she fuses together a mix of genres ‘Love Games,’ hitting the 80s, 90s, and the future. Producing everything herself, Lani’s bravery translates into moody bops, glimmering synths, funky melodies, and confident bass lines.

With an EP on the way, Lani has already been recognized for her work, garnering support from Spotify’s Global 50 chart and millions of streams. She found her lane alongside esteemed acts, performing with Alessia Cara at the AMA’s and opening for Halsey at The Shrine.

This producer and multi-instrumentalist first fell in love with music at an early age. As one of six songwriters chosen to attend GRAMMY Camp at Converse Rubber Tracks in 2012, she then went on to study at USC’s Thornton School of Music. Lani’s upcoming EP NOHEARTBREAK2020 is a deep dive into the world of being a 20something. Entirely produced, written and performed by Lani herself, the EP touches on sexuality, women, and the significance of accepting where you are in the moment. Be uncomfortable. Be truthful. Be you.

The musician shares, “It’s for 20 somethings that are transitioning and going through a new phase in their life.”

Get to know Lani Renaldo below.

As a producer, multi instrumentalist, and trained artist, you’ve had a long journey in music! What is the hardest hurdle you’ve ever had to jump?

I wasn’t always a producer! I had dabbled in production in high school, but I wasn’t serious about producing until 2017 when it became a necessity. I had a situation with a producer I was working with where he wanted to retain my masters, and as an independent artist, that’s your currency. It essentially meant that I couldn’t release an EP I was working on — and from that point forward, I knew that in order to be the best artist I could be, I had to start producing my own stuff and making tracks in order to have an outlet without having to rely on others.

What differences have you experienced between recording in the studio and performing live?

The studio is more reflective for me, since I’m usually the only one in my sessions. It’s a little lonely, but I find that I’m more focused and driven creating by myself. Performing live is all about excitement and adrenaline. There’s something about the energy created with multiple people on stage that I can’t reproduce on my laptop. Being with others, there’s a lot of room for improvisation as well – with multiple people, more musical ideas come through and things that I normally wouldn’t think of happen within a live setting. Also, my bandmates are usually some of my best friends so the energy is contagious.

Your lyrics, “nothing good comes from the dead of night:” What does that mean to you?

There is definitely a point in a night of partying in which you know you should:

2. Not have that extra drink

3. Should have (like I said) gone home maybe an hour or two ago.

In my experience LITERALLY nothing good has ever come from doing things past like 1 am (I have a tattoo on my rib to prove it).

What brings you inspiration? Musically, or otherwise?

I really find inspiration in many areas of my life. I love modern art – Basquiat is a huge inspiration to me, specifically for his mentality of being a king amongst artists. He sets himself apart by being so avant garde and owning it. I have his crown tattooed on me as a reminder to always be great and push to be the best that I can be.

Musically, I thrive off of people like Whitney Houston (the range!!), Post Malone, Nirvana, rockstars like Slash and Prince, for their style, confidence and the way that they shaped the culture.

Who are you listening to right now?

I am absolutely OBSESSED with 070 Shake’s album, Modus Vivendi, specifically the track “The Pines.” I’ve also been listening to Conan Grey, Tyler, The Creator’s, IGOR. Melanie Faye – “It’s a Moot Point” and a ton of the Jonas Brothers because they helps me feel sane.

How has quarantine affected your routine and writing?

I would say that normally I’m a bit more of a type A personality, so I really thrive in very meticulously scheduled environments. With quarantine, I’ve allowed myself to stray away from my normal routine and ditch any expectations I have for myself or my music. I am really into experimenting with new plugins, trying to step outside the box a bit more and given myself permission to create whatever I’m feeling. Normally when I start producing, I try to look for a vibe or a specific sonic angle, but now, I’m just making the music that comes to me and being OK with creating and not creating for an album or something specific.

What were your 2020 resolutions, if any?

2020 resolutions –

I want to stop biting my nails LOL (definitely a work in progress)

I wanted to release a new musical project (which is happening!!) I also wanted to play live shows and travel… but that’s on hold!

I want to get better at solo-ing on guitar and I’ve been actively trying to shred like Andrew Watt.

Have you ever faced adversity as a queer artist? If not, good.

I’m really grateful that I haven’t had to face any extreme adversities and that people have almost always had a positive reaction to me being queer.

Some challenges I’ve faced more recently are either having my sexuality fetishized or just having it completely disregarded. I’ve really had to fight to be seen as a queer artist. When it gets ignored or overlooked in an uncomfortable way, it can be frustrating because no one wants to feel invalidated in their truth.

What advice might you have for a young queer who is just coming out?

First of all, congratulations! I think my best advice is to come out on your own time and own your sexuality, never be ashamed of who you are and find a support group. When I came out, I had really great friends and a gay straight alliance at my school that was there for me and more so, willing to be there. The best part about being queer is that you have a whole community of people – IRL and online that are ready to celebrate and be there for you on your journey. Having that support is so important and if anything, my DM’s are always open for people that are navigating this!

What routines help you get in the mood to create?

I gotta drink a Red Bull and listen to Big Sean to get hyped, spilling tea with my friends to pull inspiration from their stories is a must….my most successful routine is making music when I’m supposed to be doing something else, so I don’t plan on straying away from that 😉

What’s next for Lani?

I’m really excited for the rest of the year! The EP will be coming out soon, I’ve been producing for other artists and some of that music will be coming out this year as well. I’m just going to keep creating! Hopefully live shows will come back and I will get to show everybody the live show I’ve been working on, so stay tuned!



photos / Caleb Dukes

story / Ariana Tibi

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