How Reneé Dominique ended up collaborating with Jason Mraz
Since she was in grade school, Reneé Dominique’s playlists have always included music by Jason Mraz—“Lucky,” “I’m Yours” and her favorite, “I Won’t Give Up.”
So, when the 20-year-old, ukulele-toting YouTube singer was recently tapped by Jason and his team for a potential project, her immediate response was to “freak out.”
“It was completely unexpected. I received an e-mail from his team and, before long, I was in the studio working on the song. The original plan was for me to sing it solo. But as the song grew, we figured that it would be best to turn it into a duet,” she told the Inquirer in an interview.
The song is titled “Could I Love You Any More?,” which Reneé had the privilege of debuting and performing onstage with Jason in his Manila concert last Wednesday.
“We had been working on finishing the song as the show approached,” said the Star Magic artist, whose early exchanges with Jason was limited to e-mail. They finally got to meet each other, however, a few days before the concert at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
“That was my way of familiarizing and soaking in the song… We had met earlier for a quick run-through; it was amazing,” Reneé added.
With her soothing, whimsical take on contemporary and old-school hits, the young artist has managed to amass over 722,000 subscribers on YouTube since joining the website in 2012. One of her most popular videos is of a cover of the anthemic Keane ballad “Somewhere Only We Know,” which was used in a commercial for a Samsung phone.
It’s this very song, she related, that caught the attention of Jason’s team.
“According to Josquin des Pres, the producer of my single with Jason, they saw the Samsung commercial a few times on television, and it had them hooked and looking up for me right away,” she related, adding that her rendition’s “ability to connect to people” was one of things that made it attractive to Jason’s team. “Perhaps it made them feel calm, strangely euphoric and nostalgic.”
While she also writes her own material, a lot of Reneé’s most viewed videos are of her singing such classics as “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” “Close to You,” “Fly Me to the Moon” and “La Vie en Rose.”
Does she consider herself an old soul?
“It’s hard for me to classify my genre, but I believe I’m a mix of easy listening, alternative, jazz and indie folk,” said Reneé, who considers the ukulele an indispensable part of her music.
“I love the ukulele because of the calming, island sound it produces—it instantly takes you to a different time, and makes you feel something,” she pointed out. “I believe it suits my voice well, and gives off a relaxing feel.”
Standing out on YouTube, where new aspiring artists from all over the world pop out by the day, was a tall task. And the biggest challenge, she said, was finding her own identity, and not falling for fleeting trends for the sake of short-term exposure.
Her goal is to produce a body of work that would stand the test of time.
“My subscriber base grew a lot because I stuck to what I was good at—making music and creating my own renditions of timeless songs I personally love. It’s all about being authentic and focusing on what you’re passionate about,” she said.
While music is her priority, Reneé is open to branching out to other fields of art.
“I plan to continue creating. My goals are to put more music out there, collaborate with other artists, continue YouTube,” she said. “But aside from music, acting is also another passion of mine and I hope to get more acting gigs, as well.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.