An open letter from Reneé Austin,
I want to start by thanking all of my friends, family, fellow musicians, and fans for all the love and support you have given me over the years. As most of you know I released my second CD with Blind Pig Records “Right About Love” on August 16th. It is a piece of me that I am very proud of and a culmination of lots of hard work from many people.
As some of you know I had to have surgery on September 13th to remove a lump on my thyroid gland. I feel blessed to be able to tell you that I am doing fine and the lump turned out to be cancer free. I regret to inform you all that as a result of the surgery my left vocal chord has been left paralyzed and is not working. The result of this is I can talk softly but I cannot sing.
In the last couple of weeks after lots of medical opinions and various hospital visits my condition has been diagnosed as likely permanent. This means that I probably will never be able to sing again. I am working hard with a speech therapist to see if I can beat the odds and God willing raise my voice in song once again someday. Until that time comes I must say goodbye to you all as a singer and thank you again for all of the love and support you have given me.
I thank God for the opportunities He gave me to live out my dream even if only for small window of time. I trust that He has a plan for my life and whatever that is, I will put my heart and soul into it just as I did my music.
From the bottom of my heart – please know I thank all of you for your kindness to me and I will remember it always. May God Bless each of you.
Singer-songwriter Reneé Austin turned quite a few heads with her 2003 national debut on Blind Pig Records, Sweet Talk. Critics marveled at her nearly five-octave range, her stunning vocal dynamism, her poignant and insightful songwriting, and her remarkable versatility, comparing her to Janis Joplin and Tina Turner. With her highly-anticipated follow-up release, Right About Love, Austin validates those early raves and predictions of greatness.
Reneé has known she wanted to be a singer since the age of four, when she first performed the Andre Crouch classic, Through It All, as a solo during a service in a tiny, hill country church. I was too short to reach the podium, so they made me stand on a chair, laughs Austin. That was my induction into the musical world. By 15, shed written her first song and as the numerous church groups traveling through her area gradually inspired her it became ever more clear that she too wanted to tour, perform and record.
Austin relocated to Minneapolis where her music career began pulling wholly new opportunities together. She was able to assemble a whip-smart band, and in 1997 independently released her debut CD, Dancin With Mr. Blue, which was honored locally as Best Blues Recording by the Minnesota Music Academy (MMA).
Soon, Austin was securing opening slots for heavy-hitters Robert Cray, Lonnie Brooks and Delbert McClinton, to name just a few. In fact, Renee specifically rallied with promoters to secure a show with McClinton, and their resulting two-night, two-city bill in March 2003 planted the seed that eventually grew into the duet ballad, Pretend We Never Met, on Sweet Talk. Delbert witnessed the band's entire first night performance and was so taken with her voice that he immediately approached her at the foot of the stage after the show. Girl … you ring my bell! he exclaimed. He offered her a prestigious performance spot on his annual Sandy Beaches Cruise in January 2004.
Sweet Talk and the critical reaction that followed put Reneé on the map. Downbeat magazine awarded it 3 ½ stars. The blues community took notice by nominating the CD for a W.C. Handy Award for Best New Artist Debut. At the Handy Awards Show in Memphis she put on a memorable performance that generated an industry buzz. Another highlight was being invited to the Ground Zero club in Clarksdale, Mississippi to take part in the filming of a PBS-TV production called Blues Divas. It was quite an honor, considering the heady line-up of the other singers in the program - Mavis Staples, Ann Peeples, Denise LaSalle, Odetta, Irma Thomas, and Bettye Lavette.
Austins new CD, Right About Love, delivers on the promise of her previous release, reaffirming that her dramatic voice is an instrument that commands respect and knows few boundaries, and that her talent is a force to be reckoned with. Right About Love also continues Austins musical journey, mixing blues, roadhouse rock and gospel anchored by her formidable vocal prowess, emotional commitment to every note and evocative spins on time-honored American roots music.
Right About Love finds Austin blossoming fully as a vocalist, writer, and co-producer. One standout tune is Mouth of the Delta, which she co-wrote with David Grissom, musical director for the Dixie Chicks. Commenting on the CD, Austin said, I approached writing for this project with the intent of making music that would again take the listener on a ride thru everyday life. When I sat down to create this disc, I wanted to focus in on one thing. Who is Reneé Austin? I came to the conclusion that my Texas roots are the foundation to my music. People ask me all the time What kind of music do you do? I tell them Roadhouse Soul - blending Blues/Roots, Country and Gospel/Soul.
Whatever genre of music she performs, she invests each style with an individuality that few artists can match. Whatever the song demands, Reneé Austin can deliver - with power, presence, and soul.
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To learn more about Reneé Austin visit her website: