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Why You Should Be on the Lookout for Rising Star Reneé Rapp

Music & Podcasts

Mon, April 08

“I only know one way to sing, and that's me. I can't morph who I am as an artist into two different fields; I can just be who I am at all times.”

Breakout star Reneé Rapp made this statement in a 2019 Playbill article promoting her Broadway debut as Regina George in Mean Girls The Musical. Remarkably, nearly five years later, Reneé has not strayed from these values and has been fearlessly headstrong in building her image as a talented singer, songwriter, and actress.

With an incredibly powerful voice that she showcases on stage, on screen, and in her songs, Reneé has captivated the hearts of millions of Gen-Zers across the world. Here is a brief history of Reneé's successful career thus far and why I think she is an inspiration to her generation.

From Aspiring Broadway Actress to Stellar Pop Artist

Reneé initially began her career as a Broadway actress (at just 19 years old!) and also gained critical acclaim for her role as Leighton in the television show The [censored] Lives of College Girls in 2021. However, it wasn't until she began releasing her own music in 2022 that Reneé began to truly rise to stardom. The release of her highly biographical EP Everything to Everyone, as well as her sold-out supporting 5-show tour, was only a sneak peek as to what was to come for Reneé in 2023.

2023 was a huge year for Reneé, mainly due to the release of her debut album Snow Angel in August. It was one of the best and most relatable releases of the year, although it was snubbed of any Grammy nominations, which I think is a tragedy.

One of my favorite tracks on the album, “Talk Too Much,” tackles the fear of overthinking and intrusive thoughts destroying a relationship; “Poison Poison” is the perfect anthem to express anger towards a toxic ex-lover or friend; and “Willow” is a healing love letter to your younger self. Reneé promoted the album by performing on several live television shows and events, including The Today Show, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and the MTV Video Music Awards.

In September, Reneé embarked on her “Snow Hard Feelings Tour,” selling out venues across North America and Europe. At each tour stop, she delivered a high-energy performance, interacted with fans, and belted out nearly her entire discography. Some of Reneé's most memorable moments on tour included playing matchmaker with fans and bringing celebrity guests such as Lola Tung, Lizzy McAlpine, and Kesha onstage. While on tour, Reneé also announced the release of Snow Angel (Deluxe), an updated version of the album containing four new tracks.

📸 | @reneerapp announcing “Snow Angel (Deluxe)” out November 17, 2023 tonight in New York— via @mcjeppy pic.twitter.com/XbisExHa73

— Reneé Rapp Source (@ReneeRappSource) November 4, 2023

No Media Training?

Reneé's fanbase grew even larger with the release of the film musical adaptation of Mean Girls in January 2024, in which she reprised her Broadway role as Regina. However, Reneé created a major splash in the entertainment industry when she embarked on the Mean Girls press tour, shocking interviewers with her unapologetic, and sometimes brutal, honesty. In one of her most notable interviews, Reneé called out a bus company owner named Buddy for being “so disrespectful and so misogynistic.” There are countless edits of Reneé boldly expressing her internal thoughts out loud on YouTube. They are very entertaining, especially if you've had a bad day.

Reneé herself hilariously joked in an SNL skit she was featured in (the same night in which she performed as the musical guest!) “Yeah, I've been going absolutely off on every single interview lately, so now I have to do 40 hours of court-ordered media training.” Reneé's ability to easily laugh off criticisms of her interview style speaks volumes about how she rebels against the double standards so many women face in the entertainment industry. If Reneé were a man, she would be much less likely to be criticized for freely sharing her opinions and beliefs.

An LGBTQ+ Icon

Reneé is also a role model for young LGBTQ+ individuals, as she has always openly expressed her sexuality in her music and performances. Reneé wrote her song “I Do” about having unexpected romantic feelings for her female best friend, and “Pretty Girls” makes references to the need many feel to “pretend” they are not attracted to individuals of the same gender identity. She makes sure her concerts are a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community and can often be seen waving the Pride flag, Bisexual flag, or Lesbian flag during her set.

Reneé has discussed her sexuality on social media and in several interviews, often calling out those who question her identity. Reneé previously came out as bisexual and now identifies as a lesbian, a reminder that it is common for one's sexuality or gender identity to change over time and that everyone's coming out process is different.

if I say I’m a lesbian I am a lesbian and if someone says they’re bi they are bi I’ve had enough of you witches

— RMJ (@reneerapp) March 25, 2024

Reneé also won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Music Artist in March 2024. The GLAAD Media Awards honor “those in the media who have shown exemplary achievements for fair, accurate, and inclusive representation of the LGBTQ community and the issues that affect [their] lives.” It is one of Reneé's most notable accolades to date.

“What I think is beautiful about this younger generation is that we have more grace about finding your identity and how these things change and loving that part of yourself.”

This is one of my favorite Reneé Rapp quotes, from her 2021 Vulture interview, and I think it strongly reflects the message she shares with fans through her music. In the coming year, I'm very excited to see where Reneé's unique banter and insane vocals land her. She has already booked a number of major music festival appearances, including Coachella, Lollapalooza, Hangout Music Festival, and Governors Ball.

Recently, Reneé also revealed that she is excited to be “developing new acting projects,” and may someday return to the Broadway scene as a songwriter. Regardless of what path she chooses to explore next, Reneé has the potential to become a Gen-Z icon, defining our generation as one that is unapologetically honest, authentic, and creative.

“You’re so much more powerful the more you trust yourself.” ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜 Check out 10 Things with @reneerapp ahead of her sold-out show at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles ✨https://t.co/9o9Vz3XrUd pic.twitter.com/CdDs8ZQdiO

— Instagram (@instagram) October 6, 2023

Mattie Diaz
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Writer since Mar, 2024 · 3 published articles

Mattie Diaz is a Music Business major at Berklee Online, an extension of Berklee College of Music. She is based in the greater Boston area and aspires to work in the live music business. Mattie enjoys spending her time traveling, trying new restaurants, and attending concerts.