photography Sony Music
interview by Sigrun
“The writing process helps me put things in perspective.”
“Rani means queen in Hindi and having a name that carries this title and honours my grandmother is my motivation to create music that is heartfelt, that is genuine, and that inspires – something that I feel even more passionately about now that she is no longer with us.” What a wonderful meaning and intention to make music. And in fact, Dutch singer and songwriter RANI has enchanted us already all through. In our interview we talk about her amazing debut album, the importance to see your own strength, and on wanting to keep a realistic image of herself on instagram.
Your full-length debut album 396 completes the circle that begun with the release of EP3 in 2020, followed by EP9 and EP6 2021. On your album the listener will get all songs ouf those 3 EPs along with new tracks. The full story of it is about self-love, self-learning, life lessons and the many faces of love. What has been one of your best life lessons so far?
One of the most important things I realized the last couple of years is that I am beautiful in my own way. Everyone is beautiful in their own way. How other people see you is their reflection of themselves therefore no one can tell you you aren’t worthy of respect and love. You’ve got to see your own power and strength and make yourself happy in order to reach your full potential. I started thinking more about what I like and what I want for myself in life.
Why was it important to you to deal with those topics on your album?
I think you go through stuff in order to grow. I kinda feel like things I go through happen for a reason. They happen to make me stronger. For example, I grew up in a town where I was one of the few people of color and in the beginning of my high school periode that made me quite aware and sometimes insecure about what I looked like. Now that I look back I always tried to fit into a standard that was never reachable for me. When I started university in Amsterdam I met a lot of different people. That made me realize that you don’t have to fit in to be liked. You have to be you, because the most important thing is that you like yourself. The same hoes for relationships. Every person I meet no matter how bad it ends or good, I learn stuff about myself in that process.
Which song on the album was the easiest to write and why?
I wrote a song called Mind At Ease together with Lodewijk, Matthijs and Will in like 3 hours. We already finished another song that day and Will just started playing on his guitar. I really really loved what he was playing and we started vibing in it and it was like the song almost wrote itself.
“Exhibition Closed“ Video
“Exhibition Closed“ – is about not feeling the need to share your love and relationship on social media. It´s about retaining an an essential sacredness in relationships. What other things would you never share on instagram?
Personally I like to talk to my family and friends about what I want them to share of theirselves if I post them. They didn’t choose to be in the media like me so I feel like certain things that don’t have to do with just me I keep more private. Besides that I do want to keep a realistic image of myself on socials. I want to show the happy and beautiful moments, but also the sad and painful moments that everyone goes through. I want people to look at my instagram and listen to my music and think that it is okay to be not okay and it is okay to feel stuff. It’s totally normal.
Your voice is so beautiful– do you have a professional singing training or are you self-taught? And when did you start to sing?
Thank you! I startes singing when I was 6. I used to do musical lessons here in my town and I had singing classes till I was around 15. After that I stopes following any training, but I actually recently started again. I want to be in good shape when I start my tour in in the Netherlands, so that’s why.
On 396 you worked with production and songwriting team of of Lodewijk Martens, Matthijs de Ronden and Will Knox. What parts of the whole song writing and producing do you enjoy the most and how much were you involved in all processes?
I love love love the writing process the most. I think it’s so special that you go from a random thought to a song that describes your personal feelings. Also how that process helps me put things in perspective. We always start the session with those guys asking me “Well Shannon, what do you want to write about today”. Then I tell them what’s on my mind and everything happens so organically. Will starts playing his guitar and we start coming up with melodies. In a day we have a song that I than play for 10 days straight in repeat haha.
“… I do want to keep a realistic image of myself on socials.”
Who are your musical influences?
I’m a big fan of H.E.R., Lucky Daye. There are more amazing artists that I listen to a lot like Rihanna is a legend of course and I keep playing the ANTI album over and over again haha.
I am sure you can´t wait to present your album live. Do you ever get stage fright? And if yes, how do you deal with it?
I do get nervous sometimes but that’s also because I haven’t played a lot live before. Especially not with my own songs which are super personal so I’m like most vulnerable. It helps to have such an amazing band playing with me and after playing 1 or 2 songs the nerves disappear and I absolutely enjoy being on stage.
You just celebrated your 22nd birthday- happy Birthday from us! What are your wishes and plans for your new year in life?
Thank you!! More music, more shows and especially more shows abroad. I want to meet new people and see more amazing places.