Reesa Renee of Largo, Maryland won amateur night at the Apollo Theater with a song she wrote—the second time in three years that an artist won the competition with an original song.
The 24 year-old sang her song “got me loose,” at the theater for the win last October.
“When I won I didn't even think about that because just being on such a legendary stage with Lauren Hill, and everyone's been on that stage, so to be up there alone was a blessing and an honor but then to win, I was like completely floored, it was ridiculous,” Renee said.
Even more impressive: Renee only started singing three years ago, calling her style “neo-hip.”
“That was the only language, because I'm a yeller—I was an attitude like in your face and music is such a universal language and it's so much softer approach in my trying to express who I am,” she said.
Not a rookie to competition, Renee played women’s basketball at Bishop McNamara High School, where the team was ranked #1 in the country. She said she wanted to play in the WNBA, but now, she is reading from a different playbook. Renee is hoping that her handwritten lyrics and unique sound will someday make her a household name.
“I guess I'm singing for the have-nots. I'm singing for the people who, you know, have been discouraged their whole life to chase something or they can think of a thousand and 12 reasons not to do something,” she said.
Renee says the best part of this entire experience is working closely with her brother, who happens to double as her producer.
She currently performs live shows several times a month, but Renee has plans to begin touring nationally and internationally soon.