A singer and songwriter who has enjoyed success in the public eye and behind the scenes, Priscilla Renea went from making videos in her bedroom to becoming one of the most successful songwriters in R&B and pop in just over five years. Born in Florida in 1988, Renea took up writing songs in her teens, and began posting homemade videos of her performing her work online. After developing a sizable following for her videos, Renea landed a record deal and released her first album, a dance-pop effort titled Jukebox, in 2009. The album generated few sales, but Renea's songs became a hot commodity, and she wrote hits for Rihanna ("California King Bed"), Fifth Harmony ("Worth It"), and Kesha ("Timber"), among others. In 2018, Renea took time off from her songwriting career to release a new album, Coloured, dominated by strong, emotionally mature R&B with hints of country and gospel.
Priscilla Renea was born in Vero Beach, Florida on September 14, 1988. Her father was in the Navy, and the family moved frequently while Priscilla was growing up. She began singing when she was two years old, and in school she enjoyed participating in choir and student theater. When Priscilla was a senior in high school, her father gave her a guitar, and as she learned to play, she began writing songs. Eager to share her talent with the world, Renea started making videos of herself singing her songs in her bedroom and posting them online. Renea's audience grew to the point where she had 30,000 subscribers for her video channel, with her performances viewed over 1.2 million times.
Renea's following grew to the point where other singers were making homemade videos of themselves singing her material. In 2007, Renea stepped out of cyberspace with an appearance on the MTV show Say What? Karaoke, where she generated enough buzz to draw the attention of Power Entertainment and Capitol Records, who signed her to a joint record deal. In March 2009, Renea released a digital EP, Hello My Apple, and her first full-length album, Jukebox, an upbeat dance-pop effort, appeared the following December. While the album was well reviewed, sales were modest, and Renea put her recording career on pause.
However, not long before releasing Hello My Apple, a tune Renea co-wrote, "Here I Am," appeared on the debut album by Girlicious, and soon she was writing songs recorded by Cheryl Cole and Rihanna. Between 2011 and 2017, Renea's compositions were cut by Madonna, Mary J. Blige, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Mariah Carey, Pitbull, Train, and many more. As Renea's songwriting career went into high gear, she also struggled to extricate herself from her management contract. In April 2018, now calling her own shots, Renea returned to the spotlight, dropping a pair of new tracks, "Gentle Hands" and "Heavenly." They were the first salvos from her second album, Coloured, a mature and personal R&B session which was released by Thirty Tigers in June 2018. ~ Mark Deming