Reflecting on his own identity as someone who idolized Western culture growing up, Bangalore-born artist Renao only discovered the global impact of South Asian creators after moving to the UK. Now he aims to create space for South Asian artists and inspire the next generation by blending his Indian roots with his experiences in the Western world. The artist recently released his debut EP, that represents his journey and dual cultural influences.
Renao's path to music wasn't conventional. Originally aspiring to be a badminton star, he had a change of heart after attending a concert by Avicii. Moving to the UK to study music production, he faced insecurities about performing with his Indian accent. However, he overcame these challenges and gained confidence in his story with the support of producer Zach Nahome.
A Space Between Orange & Blue is made up of ten slinky, mesmerising pop songs with touches of indie-folk, warm soul and alternative RnB, some with woozy, lullaby guitar (Lake House), others with funky, exuberant, shimmying bass (Blind), always topped with his gorgeously light, mellifluous vocal, often singing of love, infatuation and longing (Break It Down and Lifeline). The EP was released on June 2 and is available on all streaming platforms.
Renao also dropped a new video for the track Day Off from the double EP that you can watch below.
The EP comprises Renao's explorations of what it means to be creative in a globalised world. The double EP — one that’s blue and another that’s orange, champions duality and liminality to explore the self and identity beyond the lens of race and ethnicity as well as the place of South Asian art both 'back home' and in Western creative industries.
A Space Between Orange & Blue is doesn't directly speak to an 'Indianness'. There are no Bollywood samples or flourishes of sitar because, as he puts it; “I didn’t grow up listening to that, I would just be using it to get some edge and I don’t want to do that.” The direct link he has to India is his family and childhood; a sentiment epitomised in the track Always be Mine (interlude), where he asked his grandmother to sing a few lines from a song she used to sing to him as a child. It’s a tender moment amidst the vast scope of the project, which sees Renao use all his in-betweens, all the divergences and pressures, to create a polished pop sound that is unique to him.
Delving into the intricate intersection of two cultures, Renao's introspection and reconnection with his country and heritage invites the listeners to embark on their own voyage of self-discovery and celebrate the beauty of diverse identities in their experience and creative expression.