A newcomer to the scene after his 2018 single “Baby Blue” gained him notability, 21-year-old was recently was signed to Epic Records. It’s hard to describe his sound, as he blends together aspects of pop, alternative, electro, and hip hop to create his music. Recently graduated, it was during his time at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts that he released a seven-track independent project called Pink. Attaining millions of streams on Spotify, he was able to garner the attention of the likes of Zane Lowe – who played his track, “Ways To Go” on the Apple Music Beats 1 radio station. Back in June, he also released a stand-alone single, “Expensive”, featuring Noah Cyrus. With an ever-growing fan base, it was about time that Rence released an official EP.
The six track, Fall 2019 EP, was finally released at the end of September, running at about 16 minutes. The EP release was preceded by the single “Darkside”, which ended up being my favorite track off the EP. This track stood out to me because of the falsetto vocals in the chorus that brought an upbeat energy that I haven’t felt in Rence’s music before. Just like the name suggest, this opening track sets the tone of the entire EP to be about the internal struggles that Rence has been dealing with recently. When talking about the Fall 2019 EP, Rence explained that “The mood is darker—not necessarily because I’ve become darker. But because I have a dark side, and it’s been hanging around a lot lately.” While I enjoyed listening to all the tracks, it was the repetitive subject matter throughout the entire EP that made me feel like it was lacking something. It made sense due to the dark concept behind this EP, but I would like to see Rence explore different ideas on his next release.
In general, this EP takes on more notable influences from rap and hip hop than has been seen in Rence’s past work. On tracks like “super sad” and “I know”, he raps and uses heavier beats in the instrumentals. On the other hand, tracks like “You don’t wanna know me” and “Darker” are more reminiscent of his sound from the Pink project era. It’s apparent that Rence is playing around with his sound, which is expected of a young artist like himself. What I’m interested in seeing is if Rence keeps moving more towards this hip hop influenced direction, or if the heavier sound is just representative of the darker subject matter of the Fall 2019 EP.
I think there’s a lot of potential for Rence to grow into mainstream success, as his sound is distinctive but indicative of the type of music that’s becoming popular. It’s hard to place Rence in a box of a specific genre, but his lack of conformity to a particular sound is what I personally find most appealing about him.