renforshort: “Yungblud and Mike Shinoda have been like mentors to me”

As she kicks off her tour with Yungblud, renforshort has spoken to NME about the “mentorship” of the Doncaster hellraiser – as well as that of Linkin Park icon Mike Shinoda. Watch ren discuss this and the work on her debut album in the video above.

Having kicked off a lengthy run supporting Yungblud on his ‘Life On Mars’ UK tour this week, 19-year-old Canadian Lauren ‘ren’ Isenberg has revealed how fans can expect “new and exciting stuff” from her set.

“It’s going to be crazy,” ren told NME. “We’ve just been practicing every day since I got here. My MD and drummer has put together such an incredible show, my guitarist is insane and is going to rip the solo on [Gorillaz’s] ‘Feel Good Inc’. There’s going to be a lot of energy.

“I’ve been told that the crowds here are quite rowdy and probably some of the best ever. Playing off that will only give me a better performance. I’ve been to a couple of Yungblud shows too: I know how the crowd goes, and I’m anticipating it being crazy.”

renforshort. Credit: Steph Vershuren
renforshort. Credit: Steph Vershuren

Asked about her friendship with Yungblud, ren described him as “such a lovely person”.

“He’s been almost like a mentor to me and given me so many opportunities, and only been so lovely to me,” she explained. “He’s probably one of the kindest humans I’ve ever met, genuinely. I’m not just saying that; he has such a good heart. I’ve spent a good amount of time with him and became close with him over time. He’s given me so much and I’m so thankful for everything he’s done for me.”

Would they ever collaborate together?

“Hopefully!” ren replied. “I admire him as an artist and have been a fan for a long time. Even this [tour] alone is really incredible for me.”

Speaking of famous friends, last year also saw ren’s viral hit ‘I Drive Me Mad’ remixed by none other than Linkin Park legend Mike Shinoda – who later described her to NME as “super-young, but knows what she’s doing with her music” and told us “my instinct is that she’s got a tonne of raw talent and I’d love to see where she takes that”.

“That was insane,” said ren of their first encounter. “I just got a DM in class from Mike Shinoda. I was in class in high school and just stood up like, ‘Woah! Guys! Mike Shinoda just DM’ed me!’ There were a few cool people in my class like, ‘What the fuck?’ I DM’ed him and he said he loved ‘I Drive Me Mad’. I said, ‘Do you want to remix it or something because that would be very cool?’”

She continued: “Also, Mike Shinoda ended up being a huge mentor for me. He gave me so many tips and just things that I wouldn’t otherwise know about the music industry. From that point on, we’ve had a beautiful relationship.

“I’ve had dinner with his family, we’ve spent a few days together making music, it’s crazy. I made slime with his daughters. If you’d told me even three years ago that I’d be making slime with Mike Shinoda’s daughters I’d have said, ‘Oh shut up! No I won’t.”

Renforshort. CREDIT: Press

Describing her latest EP ‘Off Saint Dominique‘ as “really showing her growth”, ren told us how her new material sees her evolving to take a “different approach” this time around.

“It still has the O.G. ren elements, but it’s more synthy while with more grunge-y, hyper-pop-y elements,” she said. “It remains accessible, so it’s not completely jarring and like, ‘Argh! Who is this? Who killed ren and took her body?’ I’m very excited about it. It’s a really great direction for me.”

Lyrically, the new songs also see ren explore “feelings more than scenarios” as well as themes regarding her mental health, she explained.

“Over the past year I’ve experienced a lot of things with my mental health,” said ren. “I’m touching on those points in the newer music. I moved to LA earlier this year and it’s so different to anywhere else in the world, especially in the entertainment industry.

“Having everyone around you is almost like a class thing with people saying, ‘Oh I have this, so just do what I do and you’ll be OK’. Or, ‘Just follow me and you’ll be fine’. A lot of it is about that adjustment as well – a power dynamic that’s very wrong and new.”

While teasing more new music from her time with Shinoda, renforshort said that the rest of 2021 would be spent adding the finishing touches to her debut album once the tour with Yungblud is wrapped up.

“It’s all done,” she said of the record. “I’m so particular about the final product. I had a call recently and said that we just needed to give it 10 per cent more of everything to make it perfect in my eyes, or as perfect as anything could be. It’s done – it just needs to be more done! The foundation is there, it’s just little things like making sure the mix is perfect.”

Watch our full interview with renforshort above, where she also talks to us about her attempts to master the British accent and how to make slime.

renforshort’s remaining tour dates with YUNGBLUD are below. Visit here for tickets and information.

29 – Plymouth, Pavilions

1 – London, Alexandra Palace
2 – Portsmouth, Guildhall
4 – Bristol, O2 Academy 
5 – Bristol, O2 Academy 
7 – Manchester, O2 Victoria Warehouse 
8 – Manchester, O2 Victoria Warehouse
9 – Doncaster, Dome 
11 – Edinburgh, Corn Exchange
12 – Newcastle, O2 Academy 
14 – Birmingham, O2 Academy 
15 – Birmingham, O2 Academy 
16 – Leeds, University
18 – Liverpool, Mountford Hall 
19 – Liverpool, Mountford Hall