What’s a budding diva songstress to do in an era without The New Mickey Mouse Club or Star Search? Enter talent shows…lots of them! When she was younger, Genré performed at talent shows and worked hard on her craft.
Now that she’s older, carries a mix of elegance and grace like a young Aaliyah and soon, will be a Georgia State grad, Genré is taking on performing her original material instead of singing other people’s work.
What was your first big music experience growing up in Georgia? Did you get to see a lot of great artists from the Atlanta scene before you got involved with music, or was it the opposite?
My first performance in the Sweet Auburn Festival was my biggest music experience growing up in Georgia. I had performed at a lot of different talent shows in and around the Atlanta area, but the Sweet Auburn Festival was and still is one of the largest free music festivals in the Southeast. It’s a famous heritage festival in Atlanta, so performing at it was a big deal for me.
I honestly didn’t get to see any artists from the Atlanta scene before getting involved with music. I met Big Boi one time, a few years ago, but that was when I was trying to work my way into the music industry, by being a production assistant for an engineer, working out of Stankonia. Other than that, I hadn’t met or seen any artists from the Atlanta scene.
Why did you learn to love old girl group songs? Not every kid likes their parents’ music!
Maybe I’m a little strange, but I just naturally loved old music. Nothing was forced. I didn’t have to convince myself to like it, I just did. It sounded good, and it felt good. I was probably listening to it before I was born, from my mommy’s belly, haha!
What happened for you with joining a girl group yourself, and why didn’t it work out?
At the time, when I joined a girl group, I hadn’t quite come into my own as far as my vocal abilities. I knew I could hold a tune, but I hadn’t started taking vocal lessons, yet…so creating a girl group with my best friend was comforting to me. I felt like I wasn’t strong enough of a singer to venture out on my own, but I knew I loved to be on stage, so the perfect solution was being a member of a girl group. It didn’t work out, because at the time, the other group members and I weren’t quite on the same page.
I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist. I wasn’t ready to quit until I felt things were perfect, so if we had to practice a million times, until I felt things were perfect, I was willing to do that. My group members didn’t really have the same work ethic, back then, but I still keep in contact with them. Over the years I’ve watched them come into their own and seeing how hard they work for what they want is beautiful. In the end, I know we didn’t work out, not because of any particular member in the group, but because that’s not what God wanted for us.
You talk a lot about faith. What are your conversations with God like? Has He ever not given you what you asked for? Whether it happened for a reason or not?
My conversations with God are like my conversations with my parents. These conversations happen all throughout the day…If I’m happy about the weather, I might look up and thank God. If I’m struggling on a test, I might pray for help, haha! And every night, I pray for forgiveness, protection, continued love and support with my life, family, music, etc. I ask for things, thank Him for things, and sometimes even BEG him for things, haha!
So many times, I’ve asked for things and not gotten them. I had to learn that God’s timing is always right and that He only opens doors, when he knows that you’re ready for what waits behind them. Over the years, God has brought me closer and closer to Him, and I truly look at him as my Father. When I ask my father, here on Earth for something and he says “No,” I may get frustrated, but I know there’s a reason…the same goes with my Heavenly Father. I may not understand and I may get frustrated, but if he says “No,” I know it’s for a good reason. I want His will to be done in my life, so I wait patiently for Him to open doors for me and that’s what he continues to do. I’m blessed and thankful.
How did you transition from singing other work to writing your own songs?
My transition from singing other work to writing my own songs happened pretty quickly. For years, I would only sing other people’s songs. I realized that I would need my own music if I wanted to be a superstar. So, I started writing.
I grew up writing poetry, so it was as simple as writing poetry to music. I think it was easier because God would send songs to me. When I would sit down to write songs, they would already be there… I just had to write them down.
This may sound crazy but, I imagine it’s a lot like a visual aritst. I would think that a painter doesn’t see a blank canvas and that a sculptor doesn’t see a huge piece of marble. I think they already see that work of art and they simply paint it out, or remove the excess marble, in the case of the sculptor. What the public sees, is what God put there for the artist to see and convey to us…that’s how it is when I write. It was already there, I just had to write it down.
Tell us about your new single!
My new single is entitled “Run Away.” It’s one of the most personal songs I’ve ever written. It talks about being afraid to move on to your future because of hurt experienced in the past. It talks about putting up walls and refusing to let people in. Instead of giving anyone a chance, you run away, because you don’t want to be hurt again.
For a long time, I was like this, and in a way, I still am. I’m the type of person that will be there for everyone, but won’t let anyone be there for me. I’m so scared to open up and be vulnerable, but I’m learning that when people love you, they want to be there for you and in all fairness, you should let them be.
“Run Away” illustrates a particular moment in my life, when I felt like running away was all I knew how to do. Now, I can listen to it and remember those feelings, but I’m able to feel and think differently—that’s the beauty of music, especially when it’s used for honest expression.