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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

‘I Wish’ we could talk forever with Reneé Rapp

The Hustler attended a press conference with Reneé Rapp to discuss her new album “Snow Angel.”
Reneé Rapp sits for a portrait. (Photos courtesy of Katia Temkin)

Reneé Rapp sat for a press conference with º1824, a Universal Music Group creative services team, on Aug. 17 in anticipation of her debut album “Snow Angel.” It was released the following day. 

I have been a fan of Rapp since watching her acting career take off with Mindy Kaling’s “The Sex Life of College Girls” where she plays Leighton. After listening to her debut EP, “Everything to Everyone,” I have been eagerly waiting for her first full album. 

The interview opened with some background on Rapp’s career. She explained how songwriting and acting were her biggest insecurities as she was coming into the industry, but now they are her bread and butter.

“Music was always mommy,” Rapp said when asked if music production was always the goal. 

Coming off an EP with many scenefilled songs, “Snow Angel” delivers the same levels of world-building. Rapp credits this influence to both the pop and musical theater worlds she is a product of. 

“I also came from Sondheim and Andrew Lippa. Do you know what I mean?” Rapp said. “Those are very specific and story-driven, beautifully crafted things.”

She credits her start in the industry to her innate delusion, which she had before “delulu” became a cool thing to be. She defined delusion as both “a real hunger” and her “little BFF” because it drives her to accomplish goals even when her self-doubt stands in the way. 

Moving onto her new album, Rapp talked about a few songs she felt represented herself. Her astrology was represented in “Poison Poison” as her Capricorn sun and “I Wish” showed her Pisces moon. The first song was originally written as a diss track but went through many rewrites with the guidance of Rapp’s good friend and producing partner, Alexander 23. The latter song is about her understanding of mortality, which she came to at age 10. 

Currently, if Rapp had to pick a song she relates to most, it would be “So What Now.” This song deals with living in the same city as an ex and dealing with the awkwardness and anger of how you interact. 

Rapp also explained how her album is made up only of sad songs, but also has one of her most uptempo, “Pretty Girls.”

“They are sad songs, but they don’t have to be ballads,” Rapp said. “I don’t think I’ve ever written a happy song.”

Finally, Rapp touched on her identity as a bisexual woman in the music industry. A proud member of the “alphabet army,” she feels empowered by her fanbase to walk into rooms and be true to herself. She also feels spoiled that she is surrounded by so much talent from non-men at her company and production team. 

“Like when you guys talk about being gay, it makes me feel cooler to be gay,” Rapp said “Do you know what I mean?”

Now that production of “Snow Angel” is complete, Rapp feels that she has more answers about herself than questions. 

“I think I need to start accepting myself a little bit more,” Rapp said. “I think I left with more answers [about myself], but I will have more questions tomorrow.”

And I can only hope those questions turn into another album so I can keep drowning myself in the sweet rolling sounds of Rapp’s sad and soulful music.

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About the Contributor
Barrie Barto
Barrie Barto, Editor-in-Chief
Barrie Barto ('25) is majoring in medicine, health & society with neuroscience and communication of science & technology minors in the College of Arts and Science. She previously served as Photography Director. When she's not strolling around campus with her camera, you can find Barrie cheering on the St. Louis Blues or tracking down the best gluten-free food in Nashville. She can be reached at [email protected].
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