On the sultry title track of her new independently released breakout recording Let Me Love You, Rena Scott
is right at home, singing soulfully about the first spark of romance. Yet the seductive invitation taps into something much deeper, reflecting the passion of her relationship to audiences worldwide over a fascinating musical lifetime.
Starting out at 12 in her native Detroit singing for the local Baptist congregation, Scott won her first talent contest at 13—where she performed with The Temptations--and was soon playing two or three gigs a night on the weekends at local R&B clubs, opening up for The Temps
, Four Tops
, The Originals
and many other well known acts. She recorded her first record, "I Just Can't Forget That Boy," while still in high school. When the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin
, also a native Detroiter, needed a third backup singer for a few gigs, the 18 year old got her million to one shot to sing onstage with her idol at the Pine Knob Ski Resort in Northern Michigan and, more importantly, in front of thousands at Carnegie Hall.
While Scott was busy over the years pursuing that goal, she wowed many thousands in other places—first nightclubs in Detroit and later Los Angeles, and then crowds of up to 50,000 people touring top R & B and Jazz festivals in the U.S. and Europe, such as the famous Montrose Jazz festival in Montrose Switzerland. She toured in the 80s with The Crusaders
, sharing the stage with legends like George Benson
and Natalie Cole
. She came on board with founding Crusaders
members Joe Sample
, Wilton Felder
and Stix Hooper
after the departure of Randy Crawford
, performing picture perfect renditions of their 1979 pop hit "Street Life" for audiences who sometimes didn't even speak English.
"What an incredible time that was, working with so many beloved legends and some of the best musicians in the world," she says. "It was great having people screaming for more, reaching out to connect emotionally despite the language barrier. They may not have known what the words meant, but they could feel it the music. I love it when it comes together, the music, the lights, the sound, the band, the crowd…Like my new song I wrote 'I Know It's Right,' you could just feel the magic.' Everything came together just right."
"The songs on Let Me Love You reflect my growth through experiences, and those that people I know have been through," Rena says. "All of these songs, 'A Love Thang,' 'Good To Me,' 'Plaything,' 'I'll Keep Coming Back,' tell the story of life and love, there are good times and bad times. Life is a onetime journey that should be filled with lots of love, these are the things I'm passionate about, and the things I'll continue to write and sing about."
Scott hasn't been back on the stage at Carnegie Hall since she was a wide-eyed teen singing her heart out behind Aretha. God's been testing her patience, but the day is coming. She'll provide the talent and drive.
Listen to "A Love Thang"
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