We recently connected with Renee Edd and have shared our conversation below.
Renee, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. Do you wish you had waited to pursue your creative career or do you wish you had started sooner?
I actually sang before I spoke. So my earliest memories are hearing my dad sing (he was a fabulous tenor) and singing along myself – to Caruso of all things. A little later, I’d find Judy Garland then move on to Olivia Newton John! So while I started early creatively, I wasn’t allowed to pursue it professionally as a child or young woman. My dad wouldn’t let me. Mom and I tried to sneak me to a Broadway audition but dad found out and nixed that right away. I do regret it, absolutely. But what can I do?
Unfortunately, I faced a lot of trauma in high school. Early on, it was never about the singing – it was how much I weighed, how ethnic I looked, how attractive I was or wasn’t, or my “attitude” (think that might be connected?!) So my dad wanted to shield me from all of that. The biggest regret of my life is not plowing through and saying – screw your opinion about what I look like, listen to me! – and keep going – but I didn’t. And I wasn’t supported by my peers, either. So I have to forgive myself for a lack of fortitude in that situation as a young woman.
I also came up in a time when you didn’t go get a musical theatre degree in college and if you got a vocal degree then you just taught – so it didn’t serve my interests in performing. So I took a bit of a weird road professionally, for sure. Definitely wish that would have been different for me.
However, when I discovered bands and gig-life, it was great. Being in a band gave me creative freedom and I didn’t have to look like whatever idea they had for a character. The Lost Boys band came up at just the right time when I needed it. It’s also a funny thing to think about ‘timing’ with regard to the band because it is, in fact, a retro project that captures a moment in time. We have seen the demand for 80s nostalgia come and go and we have stood the test of time.
For me, personally, I have decided to balance The Lost Boys with a tentative return to musical theatre. Finding my way back is weird and I’m not always sure I know what I’m doing. Is it too late to be successful in musical theatre at this age? Maybe. I don’t know. I’ve decided recently that I’m going to find out – and I’ll let you know.
Meanwhile, all I can do is focus on the present. And that means giving The Lost Boys’ clients and fans and crowds the best quality performance and show that we can. We are always looking to make sure they have as much fun as they can and I am both humble and grateful for the opportunity.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
I have been the lead singer of the 80s cover band The Lost Boys for over 15 years. Time flies!! We have played every major Houston venue and the minute a new one crops up, we’re there. We love Houston and want to reflect the amazing community that makes up this city. Back in the day – IE the early 2000s – there wasn’t much of a central music scene. It was really all scattered. We were part of the emergence of Midtown and had crowds of thousands passing through each night and celebs and sports stars – it was fun playing for the Astros. And I loved playing for the Big 12 Championship game – Go Longhorns! We were on Great Day Houston more than a few times, did a music video for TXDOT, and opened for some 80s heroes – A Flock of Seagulls, for one. Lots of things to be proud of.
Mostly, we were so thrilled to be able to fill a niche and that has just grown and expanded with a bunch of new music lovers. Tribute bands are huge now but I like the variety of doing all different artists in our sets. Although we do have a Madonna tribute – Lucky Star. She’s still so empowering after being in the biz for so long. She fought misogyny and she fought anti-gay sentiment and now she’s fighting ageism.
In terms of public gigs, you can catch us at House of Blues, Pub Fountains, and our favorite neighborhood spot the Barking Pig. That’s an awesome venue to just chill and enjoy great food and drink – and dance! Anyway, I adore all the new venues and opportunities in our city. I look forward to meeting new people and continuing to bring the party!
And as an aside, though 80s is our specialty, we also up the game with some modern tracks. I love doing GaGa, Ariana Grande and Sia. Those ladies are keeping the power soprano alive and well. So many other bands are just all-male. Like they just cut out 50 percent of a decade worth of hits! We love that we can do it all. And we also love requests and composing specialized playlists for our private clients.
What can society do to ensure an environment that’s helpful to artists and creatives?
I think society sorely undervalues the role of artists and creatives unless they are “famous:” and I use that term loosely. The Pandemic shutdowns showed us the value of the fruits of creativity. What did we do? We listened to music, we watched tv/films, we bought beautiful art to put in the homes we were stuck in and we read. The end.
The arts are an outlet for every human – you may not create it but you crave it and you need it. And those of us working on a local level – I left NYC due to their crap climate and I love driving – are stymied by lesser opportunities here. And therefore we are looked at as not really “working.” Society needs to understand that talent doesn’t equal money and that those of us working in the arts deserve to be looked at as viable members of society providing a service. Speaking of money, society needs to stop expecting artists to perform or create for free – IE for “exposure”. You need to open your pockets and pay for the entertainment that provides you with the release and recreation you clearly can’t live without. Houston very much needs to support artists by creating opportunities (it’s a VERY insular city – it’s easier to get cast or get gigs in Chicago or New York, seriously), supporting young artists, and nurturing local talent.
For you, what’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative?
Fun! You basically are just constantly telling stories. From the time humans sat in caves at night over a fire after eating whatever they had hunted or gathered, they told stories! Humans need that connection to something …. more. Whether just getting lost in a really great binge-worthy show or you had a bad day at the office and you’re out with friends and some song you used to love in your youth suddenly plays…it’s THAT ephemeral moment that transports you out of your everyday for a time. I love that feeling myself and so I want everyone else to feel it too. It’s like when you’re a kid and you’re like, “Hey, come play with me!” It’s the same thing. I want everyone to come play with me – and that’s what it feels like to perform. Let’s just all have a blast and unite for one freaking minute, please! It’s why I love being in a band or in an ensemble instead of going solo. I like the feeling of joining together to tell the story.