New music interview! Raquel Reno: Unleashing the Soul of the 60s in Modern Music

In the heart of London, amidst the glitz and glamour, I found myself in the penthouse flat of multi-millionaire entrepreneur Charlie Mullins and his talented fiancée, Raquel Reno. As I entered their luxurious abode, I was greeted by two adorable toy poodle puppies, a testament to the couple’s warmth and charm. Raquel is the gifted singer-songwriter whose soulful melodies have been captivating audiences worldwide. In this exclusive interview, Raquel takes us on a journey through her life, her music, and her aspirations for the future.

LONDON MUMS SUMMER ISSUE DIGITAL 28.06.23

Raquel Reno is London Mums’ stunning cover girl for the Summer magazine

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Monica Costa (MC): It seems like you have a vibrant and joyful life. Can you tell us how this environment affects your creativity?

Raquel Reno (RR): It’s truly a pleasure to be here, and I’m glad you’ve met Charlie and our lovely puppies. They bring so much happiness into my life. Living in such a picturesque location definitely has its influence on my song-writing. I still pinch myself every day because it’s quite a journey from being a struggling musician to living in this penthouse in central London. Despite the glamour, I’ve managed to stay grounded and connected to my roots. This balance keeps me inspired and allows me to create from a place of authenticity.

Raquel Reno

Posing with Raquel Reno and her furry puppies next to her  custom-made £180,000 red Steiner piano

MC: As a young girl, what influenced and inspired you to become a professional singer-songwriter?

RR: When I was four years old, I used to dance around in the garden, completely captivated by the music. In the ’90s, I was more into pop music. However, as I grew older, around the age of eight or nine, I discovered divas like Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield, and Whitney Houston. Their powerful voices had a profound impact on me, and I knew I wanted to sing like that. That’s where my journey as a singer-songwriter began.

MC: Your songs often delve into personal and emotional themes. What inspires you to write such deeply introspective songs?

RR: Heartbreak and personal experiences have been a significant source of inspiration for my song-writing. I’ve had my fair share of bad breakups, and those painful situations fuelled my creativity. Writing about heartache and personal struggles has a therapeutic effect. It allows me to process my emotions and find closure. There’s something about tapping into those emotions that brings out the raw and authentic side of my music.

MC: Many of your songs convey a sense of longing and nostalgia. Can you share the story behind one of your favourite tracks that captures this sentiment?

RR: One of my favourite tracks that embodies longing and nostalgia is “Unbreakable.” I wrote this song for Charlie during our time on a BBC show called “Unbreakable.” We were given challenges that required us to express our true feelings through various art forms. I came across an old, out-of-tune piano in the house we lived in during filming, and it became the vessel for this song. I created “Unbreakable” solely by myself. It’s a heartfelt piece that resonates with people on a soulful level.

MC: The view from your penthouse with a hopper American diner-style interior is absolutely stunning. Has living in such a picturesque location influenced your song-writing in any way?

RR: The story of how I got here is remarkable. Sometimes I ask myself, “How the hell did I get here?” I was the typical struggling musician, and to be honest, I still struggle with the music industry. I don’t think it gets any easier, and I was travelling all the time. I was hustling for gigs constantly. I was just on this bandwagon of doing the same thing over and over again because I knew where to find work and how to make money. But then I met Charlie in Dubai. He was just visiting on holiday, and that’s when we really became friends. We first met in Spain. He gave me some business advice, and not only that, but he also offered me to live in his spare bedroom while he was living with his girlfriend. I ended up staying here, and we became really good friends. We grew fonder of each other; it just naturally happened very nicely, although his partner was not very happy about it. I am a country girl from Cheltenham in Gloucestershire who still likes to buy from farm shops but now lives in this penthouse in central London. I pinch myself every day because I’m not used to that.

MC How’s the age difference with Charlie?

RR: We did take a liking to each other when we first met. There was an immediate spark. But I’ve run so far away from it, because I was worried about the fact that he’s double my age. I wasn’t quite sure. I was probably lying to myself, and it took 10 months for me to give in. I’ve never been in a relationship before where I’ve been friends with my boyfriend for a while beforehand. But with Charlie, we got to know everything about each other before becoming a couple. I was worried about what my parents would think about the age gap…

MC: Do you want children?

RR: I want to have children, but I need a few more years to launch my music career. I have puppies now, but should I get pregnant along the way, so be it. I believe that our path is written…

MC: How did you end up in Nashville recording at the Sound Kitchen Studio?

RR: Nashville is amazing. As soon as you walk into the airport, you can smell music. My experience there was so incredible, and it opened up a huge creative door for me. Out of everywhere I’ve been, that’s probably where I feel most eager to be more creative. I really do feel like it’s like a door that you walk through into creativity because creative energy is just everywhere. I’m quite a sensitive person anyway, so I pick up on energy, and if that’s anywhere around me, I’m going to thrive. Nashville was an amazing experience, and it was quite surreal at the same time. I sat in a hotel writing a song in the lobby with my co-writer of the time, Nigel. I was singing like full-blown in the hotel because it’s a music city, and nobody minded. It’s so fun and friendly as well. We were staying in a little place called Franklin, which is about 25-30 minutes from downtown Nashville. It’s a really traditional town, which is still the same as in Elvis’ time. Just like a Mormon town, very religious, with a motivational church on every street. I’m a massive Dolly Parton fan, and she inspires me in many ways with my music and song-writing. I’m not a country artist, but I love Dolly as a human being. With no ego.

 

MC: The glamour and freewheeling lifestyle of the 1960s is often looked back upon fondly. Do you think your music can evoke such feelings in a new generation that seeks to recreate that vibe?

RR: I am inspired by naturally beautiful looking women in the ’60s, like Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Dusty Springfield. So, I would like to try and tap into that kind of market. I think the problem with the current mobile phone situation is that people are so disconnected. We have this whole online metaverse, and no one is actually connecting one-on-one anymore. It’s dramatic. I have a big conflict with that, but with my music, it’s about genuine feelings and the true pain of life. You know, I haven’t had a bad life at all, but I have also struggled like everybody else in this world. Everyone has their own struggles, and I think heartbreak is one of the worst pains you can go through because it is another form of grief. Music making is a form of therapy. I’m absolutely nuts. I’ve gone on stage with heels, and then this week I’ve got puppies in my hands. Life is never boring; it’s never plain sailing unless you make it that way.

MC: Who are the rock rebels that you like?

RR: My favourite band is Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks because she’s a very spiritual lady, and I really connected with their music growing up in my 20s, and I still listen to their music a lot now. I love Stevie’s character. She’s amazing and really powerful. I also like Joan Jett and Janis Joplin. When I was in Abu Dhabi, I formed a four-piece band that purely sang rock, and that was great because everybody else was doing normal top 40 covers, but there was no ’50s rock ‘n’ roll in Abu Dhabi. But then I went to Dubai and formed a band called Cherry Bomb Gang, and I loved doing ’50s Rock for a while, and we did really well in Dubai until Covid hit.

MC: Are your songs rebellious or political?

RR: Not really political, because it’s an area that I don’t really want to get into. I feel like that’s a losing game. Nothing is ever based on what people think. Everything happens behind closed doors. My song “Welcome to My Life” is a bit political. It is actually about the struggle of working in the music industry. It’s all a big mess. I love my country. I love England, and I love living in London. I love everything around me. However, I do feel that people are very frustrated and sad because of the cost-of-living crisis.

MC: Tell me about the new album. When will it be released, and what are your ambitions for this new chapter in your life?

RR: Actually, it’s only an EP. I’ve got lots of songs, but I decided to do an EP, which is going to be out later on in the year. It has taken a year and a half and includes five songs. We wanted the strongest songs on a short play because if it’s smaller than an hour, you can fill a gap in the market. My music is a little bit different and has a bit of a 60s vibe. I wanted to get that influence across. If you look at vinyl and fashion now, the 60s have come back.

MC: Collaborations are often an integral part of the music industry. Is there any particular artist you would love to collaborate with in the future, and why?

RR: The 1975 band is all in their 20s but has this vintage feel about them. They play 70s-80s kind of music and are bringing back the old school style of music in a modern feel. I’ve had my eye on that band for a while. I’m hoping we’ll get in a room together at some point. I’d love to do something with Rod Stewart! The first time I met Charlie, I thought he was Rod Stewart (she giggles). If I could time travel, I’d love to sing with Dusty Springfield. She was a very interesting person. Aretha Franklin, but ultimately Dolly Parton, who has just brought out a rock album. Eric Clapton too!

 

With her mesmerising voice and a spirit reminiscent of the rebellious rock icons of the past, Raquel Reno is poised to ignite the hearts of a new generation. As we bid farewell to Charlie Mullins and Raquel Reno, it becomes clear that their love story is not just one of romance but also a shared passion for success and determination. As Raquel embarks on the release of her new EP, we eagerly await the enchanting melodies that will transport us to the golden era of the 60s while resonating with the challenges and emotions of today. Join us as we witness the rise of a star who effortlessly blends the past and the present, infusing her music with an indomitable spirit that is uniquely Raquel Reno.

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