Rence Is a Break-Out Star in the Making

Rence Is a Break-Out Star in the Making

Speaking on personal feats and New York's music scene, the rising star looks ahead to a bright future.

Speaking on personal feats and New York's music scene, the rising star looks ahead to a bright future.

Text: Valerie Stepanova

Here we are at the gorgeous Ludlow Hotel garden hidden deep inside behind the lobby, about to meet the guy who might be the next big thing on New York’s bustling music scene. Going the old-school route, the young musician arrives promptly and on foot—no escort, no chauffeur, no-frills. “Rence,” he says, shaking my hand. “Nice to meet you.” 

You can tell right away the guy is really into music. Setting a pair of professional-looking headphones down on the table (we later find out Rence started off his career with DJing at parties), he immediately fills the room with that charming creative aura that indicates a high level of artistry. “So, how are you guys?”

The up-and-coming artist is currently on tour with Ryan Caraveo for his newly released six-track project titled Fall 2019, exposing his darker side to his fans around the country and loving every second of it as he goes. “It is especially amazing because Ryan’s fans are the type of music listeners that are so hungry for new good music, they’re so welcoming,” he shared. “A lot of them research me and listen to my music before the show so they can sing along, come and meet me afterward—just get to know each other.” Simply going through this experience, he said, feels like a dream.

The 22-year-old songwriter was born in DC and raised in Seattle, eventually making his way to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. While at school, Rence AKA Jackson Hirsh spent most of his time working at a recording studio, interning by day, and bussing tables by night. The hard work paid off, as it always does. In 2018, his breakout track “Baby Blue” garnered over 4 million streams on Spotify, followed by “Expensive” in 2019, a top-notch collaborative single with Noah Cyrus.

The guy is a big fan of New York’s collaborative music scene. In comparison to LA’s overwhelmingly large pool of musicians, New York’s more intimate community makes it much easier for musicians to connect and come up with creative collaborations. “As an artist, it’s easier here in that sense,” he explained. “So if you are the type of artist that likes to work with other people, it’s a much ‘smaller pond’, so to speak.”

He is ceaselessly curious and describes himself as eternally receptive to new ideas and creative influences. Though he released Fall 2019 only two months ago, he continues to make music and plans to put out some new records soon. For Rence, it’s just a matter of listening to his internal gut feeling and seeing what feels most topical and current right now, what makes the most sense at the moment. “This is why I called [this EP] Fall 2019,” he explained. “It’s almost like a little time for me that I could revisit in 2020 or later.”

In the EP, the singer reflects on the time where he felt a bit lost in himself, feeling the weight of the world while trying to keep a positive outlook on life, which is something that people around him expected at the time. “Darkside,” one of his favorite tracks from the project, discusses his initial self-realization and personal discoveries that he hadn’t explored or faced before. “I just want to sing,” he said. “I don’t want to necessarily deal with it.”

Singing, especially in front of an engaged and supportive audience, is one of the most therapeutic experiences a singer-songwriter can have. Touring and meeting fans left Rence mesmerized and enchanted with the entire experience, inspiring him to put out more music and keep going around the country (and eventually the world), meeting those who truly enjoy his work. “More music, more shows, more collaborations, more smiles, and more life experiences,” he smiled. 

Besides his personal projects, the singer-songwriter has even more exciting collaborations currently underway. Rence admits that he looks for people to add to his creative web everywhere, all the time — at parties, studios, events and even on Instagram. “Collaboration is everything, that’s how you learn what you like,” the artist explained. “New sounds, new energy, new feelings…”

As we start preparing to leave, I pick his brain one final time and ask if there’s anything on his mind that he would want to share — just to see where his thoughts are at this moment and time. I’ll let Rence take it from here:

“The earth is dying, take care of it. That’s all I got for you.”

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