When renforshort was announced as a SXSW official artist, I was transported back to her 2020 EP, teenage angst. The maximalist aesthetic of the album cover drew me into renforshort’s discography, giving me something to escape the four walls of my quarantine abode. Lauren Isenberg’s honest and nuanced depiction of female adolescence prompted a list of questions I had the opportunity to discuss with the artist herself at SXSW 2023.
We met following her performance at Inn Cahoots after I was able to catch her set the night before at Augustine, preceding her final show of the festival that took place at Stubb’s later that evening. Lauren was quick to express her frustration and confusion with the central Texas weather, yet the imminent postponement of her upcoming show was unbeknownst to the both of us.
renforshort’s most streamed track “fuck, i luv my friends” was the first song I heard when the single was released in 2020. Emotions were heightened during the peak of the pandemic, and proximity of relationships became an idealization. I had not thought of the song much since its release year, but renforshort’s performance of the track at Augustine immediately made me nostalgic for my best friend, who was only a short car ride from Austin away at that point.
I asked Lauren to tell me about her friends and her inspiration for the track:
“I have a couple best friends, and it was actually during the pandemic that I wrote that song because I was reminiscing on the times I would miss with them; like those fundamental years being a teenager, all the things that teenagers do…we didn’t get to do so I wanted to write a cinematic song about that.”
renforshort’s debut album was released this past summer although she has been releasing music since 2019. With the gap between her initial works and her recent release, I asked Lauren how her songwriting process has developed:
“I think I follow a similar process, kinda play something, find a melody, and then write. I don’t think that’s really changed. It’s just about finding ways to say some things again in different ways, how to talk about anxiety without it being the same song as ‘i drive me mad’ is, and how to talk about friendship without it being the same as ‘fuck, i love my friends…’ a human only feels so many things and can write so many things, so it’s about really channeling those emotions a lot more.”
“i drive me mad” is a powerful pop rock ballad that turns the struggles of anxiety into a release of emotion. Prior to performing the song onstage, Lauren encouraged the crowd to dance despite the lyrical element of the 2020 track. The next day during our discussion, I asked how songwriting helps Lauren turn a negative emotion into a positive expression:
“The positive experience for me is from writing the song and just getting everything out and having that release is happy, exciting. And I want people to feel that when they hear the song, and when it’s in a live setting…let everything go for a second.”
renforshort accomplishes the cataloguing of intense emotions through the cathartic release of songwriting and performance. The L.A.-based musician is now in writing mode, so stay tuned for new content from the rising pop sensation.
In this Monday edition of Bobcat Radio, the crew of Preslie Davis, Joey Gonzales, and Orlando Smart discuss Bobcat baseball's series win against Arkansas State, Bobcat softball's away sweep over App State, KTSW Hoops Fest, NCAA Championship game preview and MLB opening week! Catch BCR every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Live on KTSW 89.9! https://soundcloud.com/ktsw89_9/softballbaseball-weekend-win-ktsw-hoopfest-preview?si=a8b6a176bae5491abbf5976d33dd2a04&utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing
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