Deniz Reno

Deniz Reno

Deniz Reno is a singer/songwriter from Toronto, Canada. 

Reno has just unveiled her debut EP entitled “Narcissus”. Written by Reno and produced by Mike Schlosser, the EP is about the dynamics of being in love with an individual with a narcissistic personality disorder.

“Hopefully this EP helps people in similar situations process their own feelings but also take responsibility and address what it is inside of them that may be calling in such an experience or a particular person. For me, being able to transform my feelings around the subject into music has been a massively healing experience,” says Reno.

“Narcissus” is now available on major streaming platforms. 

Photo: Edward Demin.    Dress designer: Tao Muse

Photo: Edward Demin.

Dress designer: Tao Muse

Introduce yourself. 

My name is Deniz Reno. I am a Canadian singer/songwriter and visual artist. 

What's your story? 

I’ve spent the past 6 years travelling the world having wild adventures, writing and performing music, as well as working on film sets as a scenic artist, designing jewellery and writing. I would say my story is an ever evolving narrative of a highly curious soul seeking to constantly expand its understanding of the material world.

Tell us a little bit about your childhood. What were the things you were passionate about? 

I was born into a family of sculptors and visual artists. I was painting and sculpting myself from a very young age and had a bit of success doing that until I started gravitating heavily towards my passion for music. My first instrument was the flute, I later taught myself how to play piano and chords on the guitar. To tell you the truth as a child I was passionate about a lot of things. Life in general and everything you could do from the arts to sports to academics, it was all intriguing to me. I loved exploring all the ways in which I could express myself, still do.

When did you know music was something very special in your life? 

I knew from a very young age that music made me feel a certain way. I could lay on the sofa for hours listening to a record. Music could make me want to dance, it could make me cry, it could do all these things to my emotional state which intrigued me and I fell in love with the idea of how music could connect to people long before I knew I could sing.

When did you start getting involved in the music industry? Could you tell us about your first experiences? 

I had a very unique introduction to the music industry. I literally just walked into the offices of Sony Music at the age of 16 and asked for an internship in media relations because I wanted to understand what made the machine tick. My first experiences in the music industry were from the business side of things. I wanted to learn what I would be getting myself into, all the elements of it from creative conception of a record to marketing and publicity. I was an eye opening experience for sure.

You’ve just released your new EP Narcissus on November 8th. What can you tell us about this project? Who did you work with? 

Narcissus is a four song EP that I cowrote with my friend and colleague Mike Schlosser, who also produced the record at the Little Noise Records studio in Toronto. The first day Mike and I met in his studio to casually jam and try to write together, we ended up writing “Fools Rush In”. After listening to the song we kind of looked at each other and said ‘well, this could be interesting, lets try this again, and we ended up writing four more songs. I wrote all the lyrics and Mike wrote the instrumentals. Three of the songs we ended up writing together made it onto this record, the fourth, “Miles”, I brought in last minute out of my own vault and Mike reworked the piano instrumental into this beautiful haunting mix you hear on the EP.

When did you start working on it? What did you write about? 

The majority of the EP was written in 2015. It’s crazy to think that was three years ago but initially we were just working on a series of singles, the idea to release some material as an EP came to me much later. The last song was recorded and added onto the lineup only this past May. The EP is about the dynamics of being in love with an individual with a narcissistic personality disorder and how it affects their partner and the relationship. There’s a lot of heartbreak and pain between the lines of these songs, but a lot of love too. That’s why the record is called Narcissus. It’s title derived from the Greek myth Narcissus. For those who don’t know, in the Greek mythology, a nymph named Echo falls in love with Narcissus, a young man of extraordinary beauty, he mistreats her and she spends the rest of her life pining for him and withering away until nothing is left of her but her voice. After encountering Echo Narcissus goes to quench his thirst in a pool of water and falls in love with the image of his own reflection which he sees for the first time in his life. He dares not disturb the water for fear of losing his reflection and eventually dies of thirst. In his place grows the beautiful Narcissus flower. On a sidetone, the flowers on the cover art of the EP and the press photos are in fact not Narcissus flowers, they’re Jacaranda, an Australian tree blossom which represents rebirth. There is a lot of hidden symbolism in all elements of this record.

Photo: Edward Demin.

Photo: Edward Demin.

What does this new EP mean to you? 

Narcissus represents my thoughts and feelings about a time period in my life about 3 years ago. This EP is the collateral beauty that materialised as a result of a really painful experience. The flow of the EP follows the pattern dynamic of being in a relationship with a narcissist - which usually commences with the Love Bombing Stage, your love interest idealises you as someone of high value and seeks to secure their hold on you and your world because then they by association feel of value. It’s important to understand that a narcissist can project outer grandiosity but on the inside they feel hollow and unworthy. So they data mine you and mirror everything you do and like in order to bond, essentially becoming your ideal partner. That’s the meaning behind 'Fools Rush In'. Once you’ve fallen for their  facade, the relationship moves onto the Devaluation stage, where the narcissist starts pathologically lying, chipping at you self esteem, making cruel remarks disguised as jokes, gaslighting, cheating, projecting things onto you that they’re guilty of themselves which you didn’t do and essentially breaking you down psychologically and emotionally where you’re not sure what exactly it is that you’ve done to fall from their pedestal but you’ve been convinced that it’s your fault. The songs ‘Over’ and ‘Selfish' address this part of the relationship. 'Miles Away' is rooted in the feelings and emotions experienced during the Discard phase. Once a Narcissist breaks you down they secure a new target and leave you for you are no longer of any use to them as a source of worthiness and energy supply. During the discard phase the will essentially unceremoniously disappear from your life leaving a trail of complete chaos and destruction. Essentially such dynamics are the meaning behind this record. I would encourage anyone who relates to this in their romantic or interpersonal relationships to do some in depth research into the psychology behind narcissism and associated disorders. It’s important to know these things to be able to recognise when you are in an abusive situation, but also to understand that these individual’s actions may be the epitome of evil, but that these disorders for the most part stem from severe childhood psychological trauma that has not been addressed. It is possible to remove yourself and heal from a situation and still have compassion for the struggle of the other person who has to live with the disorder. Im no psychologist but coming face to face with individuals who struggled with these disorders inspired me to learn as much about it as I could. Hopefully this EP helps people in similar situations process their own feelings but also take responsibility and address what it is inside of them that may be calling in such an experience or a particular person. For me, being able to transform my feelings around the subject into music has been a massively healing experience. 

How did your sound and artistry evolve since your very first release? 

I found my own voice. I did a lot of experimenting with my sound when i started putting out my first singles. I was still being influenced by what I thought others wanted from me. Today I make music that’s authentically me. It comes from a different place now, a happier more reflective place.

What's the hardest thing about being an artist? And what is the best thing? 

I would say the hardest thing about being an artist is being able to support yourself financially by only doing your art, especially in the very beginning. It’s a plunge that you have to take that really has no guarantees, it’s sort of survival of the fittest and the most determined. the best part about being an artist is you get to catch ideas from the universe and manifest them into being, constantly be inspired and connect with others through your art.

You've spent a lot of time in Bali these past couple months. How did this life experience shape you as a human being? What made you want to go there? 

I have been coming to Bali for a few months every year since the fall of 2016. Discovering this magical island has been an absolute gift of fate after a rather difficult time in my life which both gave me the inspiration for putting together this EP and led me to Bali. The practices Ive learned there and the friends Ive made have absolutely transformed my life and made me a better person, for myself and also for others. I go to Bali when I need to recharge or start a new creative journey, or both. It’s an extremely nourishing place for artists. I could write a book about every way in which that island and its people change the lives of people who visit there. I have recently spent four months there producing music videos for my recently released dance single “Fly” and my the Narcissus EP. I collaborated with a brilliant young Toronto based filmmaker Jessamine Fok on videos for “Fools Rush In”, “Miles Away” and “Selfish.” I also worked with a local filmmaker Edward Demin on “Over” and directed a fun shoot myself for my recently released dance single “Fly.” 

You are from Toronto. How would you describe this city? 

My family immigrated to Toronto when I was 10 years old from Almaty, Kazakhstan. I would describe Toronto as a melting pot of humanity. What I really appreciate in this city is how everyone who comes here finds their unique place in this society. It’s the mirror of the world, you walk anywhere and you see a hundred different faces of different nationalities, races, creeds, interests, it’s really incredible. I’ve travelled far and wide and I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s a very special place.

What can you tell us about your #YOULIVE2INSPIRE movement? What made you want to create this movement?

#youlive2inspire was an idea born in Bali. I had been sitting in my villa and thinking about a question that had been rampant on my mind for weeks, what was my purpose? Seems a bit of an odd way to spend an afternoon, but that’s the kind of thing that Bali inspires you to casually contemplate on the daily. That afternoon i logged in online and got a shoutout on Facebook live from Deepak Chopra whose work I really admire and I was sitting on my bed in high spirits when i got this download in my brain, it was just a phrase, "you live to inspire". The more I thought about it the more it started to make sense to me, that it wasn’t about what I did with my life, it was about the message, it was about how I did it. So it became inspiration for this movement, it belongs to all of us, we all live to inspire because that’s what happens when you’re aligned living in your highest truth and in your purpose, the light that radiates from that touches others. We’ve seen it with Martin Luther King Jr. , Mother Theresa, Princess Diana, Nelson Mandela, their conviction in the highest good of everyone, their passion for living their truth and advocating for justice inspired millions. That’s what this movement is about, living your truth and inspiring others to find theirs by setting an example. It’s an inner peace movement. It can be done alone in silence, in meditation, in groups, and in the greater collective. 

What keeps you grounded? 

The understanding that everything I do is just a story. It’s just a way my spirit chooses to express itself, it’s not more or less than that. Meditation and being with nature keeps me grounded.

What keeps you motivated? 

My endless curiosity for how far I can explore and expand the potential of my body, mind and spirit. 

What are the things you are the most proud of? 

Being able to self reflect and grow from my experiences. I don’t know if proud is the word, but I enjoy my affinity for solo travel and exploration, for adapting easily to different cultures and places and for never giving up on my dreams.  

What defines you?

I don’t think anything does. I’d like to think that I’m constantly evolving. I think the moment we let any one thing define us, we get attached and attachment impedes growth in a world which is by nature ever changing.

In your opinion, what would make the world a better place? 

If each one of us took responsibility for everything that’s going on on the outside in our world and looked inwards to find the cause and heal it within ourselves instead of jumping out of our skin to try and fix others. If when triggered people could reach out and talk about it with compassion and respect for all parties involved instead of building walls and wielding weapons. If each one of us learned how to truly love, respect and honour ourselves, to know that we are enough, then we could proceed to connect to others on that level and I can tell you now the results of that would be miraculous. For starters meditation should be offered to kids at school as a mandatory class. We as a society need to understand and heal our own traumas, and stop pointing fingers and looking for answers somewhere out there. It’s all within.  

What's your purpose? 

I think we have more than one calling, but one of mine is to channel creative energy and connect with people through the arts. 

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Van Bobbi

Van Bobbi