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Renao at Camden Assembly: From 'Nobody' to Music's Next Big Thing


Photo courtesy of Renao


On March 7th, up-and-coming artist Renao took to the intimate Camden Assembly stage for his first-ever headline show. The Indian-born, London based artist debuted his EP Between Orange and Blue to a host of family, friends, and fans, playing the entirety of the project for the first time.


Before the show even started, the mood was set by a DJ in the background getting people hyped up while they entered the venue. People milled around and got into the vibe; look around, and you could see friends meeting up, and people chatting at the bar. Not long before showtime, Renao himself made an appearance in the crowd, doing a round to say hello and thank people for coming. As he made his way over to me I was immediately put at ease; it didn't take long to see that the artist is incredibly chill and down to earth. Despite his easygoing attitude, however, you could see the excitement emanating from him at his upcoming performance, which was now just minutes away. I watched as he continued his way through the throng of people, giving a slap on the back here and a hug there, before disappearing just before showtime to prepare.


When at last Renao got onstage, he introduced himself and his upcoming project, a series never-before-heard songs that are still unreleased. The EP, Between Orange and Blue, is dedicated to his Indian heritage and embracing his identity. As Renao proudly claimed, “When you mix orange and blue, you get brown”. The EP shares a story of migration and finding one's voice, all while maintaining an upbeat vibe. During his performance, Renao broke the EP into two parts: the happy oranges and the introspective blues, as he explained. The whole project maintained an R&B-pop sound, meaning it was the subject matter of the songs which determines whether they are more 'oranges' or 'blues'; that being said, there was still some sonic variation in the setlist, as an acoustic number in the latter half of the gig gave the audience a chance to relax, slowing down the atmosphere while still holding its own against the more electric songs.


Unlike a typical concert, Renao’s listening party was more intimate and calm, with everyone listening and taking in the music rather than participating — especially as most people had never heard the setlist before. Each song was introduced by Renao explaining his inspiration for the track, and the story it was intended to tell. The end of each song was met with abundant applause (and some rowdy whoops, from whom I can only guess to be particularly close friends of the artist). Not knowing each song off by heart did not stop anyone from dancing and jamming, though, as the impressive energy of the EP, and Renao's performance of it, kept everyone in the zone.


All too soon, Renao had run through all of Between Orange and Blue, but not to fret. The artist had one more song planned for the night, and unlike the rest of the night which saw the audience absorbing the music, this was their chance to participate. The last song of the night was his hit song ‘Nobody’, which gained success through TikTok in 2021, and every single person in the room knew the words. The crowd sang along and danced about, ending the night on a high. Everyone was left with what I can only describe as “good vibes” at the end of the gig, and a feeling of excitement for the rest of the world to finally meet Renao’s music via streaming services when the time comes. After having the chance to hear his music myself, Renao is definitely on my list of rising artists to watch this year, and I think he should be on yours, too. Pre-save ‘LIFELINE’ which comes out March 22nd, and keep an eye out for Between Orange and Blue, as it will undoubtedly soundtrack your summer.



To keep up with Renao, be sure to check out his Instagram, Twitter and Spotify.

 

Edited by Talia Andrea, Music Editor

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