Reneé Rapp Arrives with Debut Album ‘Snow Angel’

Today I woke up in a good mood for once… because Reneé Rapp’s debut album has arrived!

Produced by Alexander 23, Snow Angel blows in like the calm after the storm, a culmination of years of heartbreak, hard work, and self-discovery.

This venture into music isn’t just for the plot, it was part of this actor’s storyline all along, whether it was soundtracking long car rides through North Carolina or teenage recording sessions.

“Music was always the goal,” Reneé revealed in a press conference with 1824, “Music was always what I was going to do. Acting just happened to be a really, really cool conduit and something that came into my life and ended up being very important and has really served my music. Music was always mommy.” 

In 2019, Reneé made her Broadway debut using the opportunity to exercise her talents and sharpen her storytelling. 

“I obviously came from a background of not only listening to incredible lyricists in the pop world and the R&B space and in hip hop, but I also came from Sondheim and Andrew Lippa. And those are very specific, story-driven, beautifully crafted things…I think it’s had such an impact on my writing and such an impact on my career, and I hope it continues to.”

Soon after, Reneé took her talents from stage to screen. But what inspired her to take the leap from acting to music? Reneé credits “delusion.” However, it goes far deeper than her viral TikTok sound

“When I say delusion, I mean no matter how much I doubt myself in something, and trust me, it’s a lot, and it’s a lot more than I lead on, I am going to fucking do it. I’m going to do it inevitably. I don’t know how, I don’t know why, I don’t know when, but I will. That, to me, is delusion.”

So, in 2022, she burst onto the music scene with “Tattoos” and “Too Well,” the latter single racking up over 44 million streams on Spotify alone.

The acclaim and well-deserved success allowed her to pivot and leave her series role to continue to pursue her ultimate role of singer-songwriter. 

On August 18, she released her debut album Snow Angel, a stunningly raw collection of “sad songs.” 

The album includes tracks like “I Hate Boston” and “Talk Too Much,” which is accompanied by a music video directed by Reneé’s best friend and fellow actor, Alyah Chanelle Scott. The making of which is a story all on its own. “We struggled to come up with a concept for it in the beginning, and then we continued to struggle with it…so we [Reneé and Alyah] were in constant communication about this fucking music video. Literally, the day before the eve, we were scouting an entirely different location, like Aaliyah was at Staples Center. We were talking about doing something like a basketball game. Like, come on. It is just absurd. But this is also what you get when you have two best friends … and a corporation backing them.”

Alyah is just one of the amazing women and non-men that Reneé surrounds herself with and credits with making her the person and artist she is today.

“I’m just a product of the people that I’m around, and I’m very spoiled, especially with the women that are in my company and the non-men that are in my company. I got some good men, don’t get me wrong, but my best friend in the whole world, I met through work, Aaliyah Chanelle Scott, and she is not only my best friend and greatest confidant in this life, but she also directs a lot of my music videos and has a really, really big hand in. My personal life and my music career, she comes to the studio with me and is on background vocals for “Snow Angel.” And she is just incredible, right? I wouldn’t be who I am without her as my friend. but being fortunate enough to work with somebody who is so talented and very thoughtful, and also is definitely the next big thing feels very spoiled. I feel like, yes, I got her first.”

Another amazing woman and collaborator on this project is actress and model Cara Delevigne, who directed the cinematic visual for the uptempo yet melancholic “Pretty Girls.” The video starring Reneé and Scarlett Leithold provides a visual representation of what it feels like to be hypersexualized as a queer woman.  

Reneé’s identity as a queer woman is a major part of her music and her personal journey. When asked how being out has impacted her as both a person and an artist, she said, “I have been out to different people for almost 10 years now. Since I have been publicly out, and by publicly, I mean like out as somebody who does work that can potentially be consumed by massive people. Whatever that looks like. I have become so much more comfortable in myself, and I think a part of that comes from a normal obvious, like the more that you are publicly accepted, the more you’re going to be comfortable with yourself. Like no shit, right? Like imagine if like no one was homophobic, we’d probably be a whole lot more gay publicly. But I also think that in being open about it, I have found the grace to do so within this community, which I would not have had. And a lot of people have that a bazillion times worse than me. So let’s be clear, it’s not this like hyper-angelic like Woohoo, I, myself, Reneé Rapp, a bisexual white woman, am the gay community. Like, no, it is not that, but I am very fortunate to have an enormous community of queer people around me who identify in different ways, and all lift each other up just the same. And then, therefore, honestly do the same thing to me.”

Another highlight on the album is “Poison Poison,” which Reneé confessed, “was written maybe three different times in three different ways, and that is because I write very blatant direct lyrics.”

She continued, “We wrote a couple of different versions of “Poison Poison” because the first version, Alexander, who’s my producing partner, and my best friend was like, what the fuck is wrong with you? This actually just isn’t good. You’re just listing facts about this woman. And I was like, well, yeah, I’m dragging her. And he’s like, no, no, no, you’re actually, you’re not even dragging her. You’re not doing it in a beautifully eloquent way, you’re just saying things and kind of being a hater. And I was like, first of all, Okay, second of all, shut up. Um, but he was super right.”

Being deliberate isn’t the only thing that Reneé learned from this project. “I am always going to have more questions about myself. I think I try really hard to make sense of everything, and I’m sure we all do in our own sort of way. I so desperately want to understand things. I get really frustrated when I can’t ” she shared.

Although Reneé doesn’t have all the answers, one thing is clear, she was always meant to be an artist. She tried so hard, she came so far, and she is here to stay.

Featured Photo Credit: Katia Temkin