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Renaissance Marie Austin "My Story"

My name is Renaissance Marie Austin and I have finally built up the courage to tell my story. But first, let me lay the groundw...

I am Fine with my Life

I can not speak for anyone else, but I am fine with my life. It is a mental state I have arrived to and I hope that many people get to this place at some seasoned level of their life for the sake of finally finding inner peace and acceptance of ones self according to the ability of all they've been able to give so far, even if they desire to go back and relive past events or change mishaps. I pray they are okay with what can not be changed. I...have become okay. 

I am fine with my past, my present, and I am excited for my future because I learned a little while back that God, without a doubt, orchestrates everything happening in my life, even when I think I am making decisions for myself. See, when you are obedient to a spiritual comforter and guide, you are not really engaged in decision-making on your own. You are in partnership with your gut, your intuition, and the energy that surrounds your thoughts and the energy given off of by the people you come into contact with. 

I am fine with every person who thought, or still thinks, of me as strange, too unique, and too different. I am glad I was comfortable in my skin, with my unique appearance and not in a state of mind to want acceptance from people by being a "pleaser". I was fine not following the crowd and I was never afraid to go against the grain. 

Surprisingly, this can be embarrassing and uncomfortable for people. But then again, I was always in the wrong tribe, around the wrong community, those who did not really understand, and that includes close friends and family. I learned that my community is the tiniest of all human sectors on the planet, a remnant of spiritually connected loners who see the world not just in the natural but through supernatural sight, dreamers and visionaries often times disconnected from reality, but "see" mostly everything. The masses, most of them, can not see and they should not be expected to. 

When I was a little girl the only person I wanted to be was Whitney Houston and by her I learned to sing really well. I had an expectation and vision for what I believed my music career would be because, let's be honest, I had, and still have, an amazing voice and was talented in dance and choreography, among many other things. Education administrators saw me and said, "She is going to be someone someday". I thought life would happen like how I saw it happen for Whitney and other artists. Then I met a little girl by the name of Brandy when I was 10. We immediately became best friends. Truth be told I was the only person who enjoyed her constant singing while other classmates were always telling her to shut up. Having a friend like me at that time was a saving grace when looking back in hindsight. We walked hand in hand, spent all of our school time together and participated in drill team for a couple of years. We were both naturally loving and affectionate toward each other. Kindred spirits for sure, but not really knowing this as children. When observing many of our classmates and their attitudes toward Brandy I learn something about how my brother and I were raised. We were loving, non-judgmental, and never harbored jealousy towards any of our friends. I believe Brandy was able to detect these qualities in me and therefore latched on like Elmer's Glue.  

As an adult I reflected on our childhood and thought about what was the same in our lives and what was different, how we both desired a life in music, but it was the differences that determined the outcome. Brandy was not shy at all, while I was. I was the quiet friend who allowed her to be who she was while I never made mention, ever, of me having the ability to sing. She was a star then and without a doubt she knew she would have her own television show and that one day she would meet Whitney Houston, her greatest inspiration. The confidence she had in the certainty of her destiny stemmed from her mother Sonya (really, both her parents), a women who at times seemed overly controlling and determined, but was Brandy's greatest cheerleader, supporter, and career guide, even if Brandy did not always want her to be. 

However, the mother issue was a sensitive subject for me and I realized way later in life that the maternal void I will forever carry to my death plays a huge role in the level of confidence I have in living my life. Now, I had confidence in other areas because whereas many do not grow up with their fathers, my father was an amazing single father who was like Willie Norwood, a musician, church organist, bassist, and saxophone player. He encouraged me to sing in the children's choir and knew I had a gift before I even knew I had a gift, yet I was so, so shy. But, imagine being 7 years old and people always expecting you to have a mother and finding out that she died in a tragic car crash. Things are not supposed to be that way right and even more so no one is raised by a single father. That was literally unheard of during my childhood. So, I was automatically made to feel like an outcast very young, made to feel a sadness that contributed to my shyness. I also felt ashamed, imagine that, for not being "normal". Eventually I made the connection that my quiet observance and shyness was due to the facial expressions going from normal to shock and worry, expressions which remain etched in my mind today. Quite frankly it makes me really mad because it was impressed upon me that was unlike everyone else and that caused me to withdrawn internally and become a loner even as a kid!

I can be honest and say that this is not easy to write about. I am not happy about being born into a family that did not know how to cultivate talent. My twin brother who is a two time Grammy nominated music producer and songwriter made the choice to not create music with me for a reason I don't know. My whole life from childhood until now I searched for an advocate hoping they would see everything they needed to see in me and then propel me to the place I needed to be. I mean, my parents were not here to do it and I know for a fact that if my mother had lived my life would be completely different. I thought perhaps, I would find that advocate by going back to school to receive my free education afforded me because I was a ward of the court. Fours years later, after becoming a double graduate in 2019 and 2020, with two associates and a certificate in Fine Arts, Music, and Commercial Music, I found nothing, though I gave the best effort I could give. But, while studying music I learned something that I am fine with knowing. I may never attain what I desire in the realm of music. When I looked at all the examples present in the world, I saw that there was a formula and that formula was and still is a strong family and supportive unit. It's the formula of "seeing and believing". This became clear to me some time after discovering Billie Eilish. I looked at the O'Connell family and thought about how similar we were raised. I saw in Billie and Finneas a surety that can only be had by how Maggie and Patrick raised them. Then I worked my way backwards and thought about how Justin Bieber's mom, although a single mom, recorded everything he did, took him to meeting after meeting, advocated for him. I thought about The Jacksons, The Carpenters, The Osmonds, and so many groups that were family entertaining groups. Then I went back to the very beginning to someone I knew personally, Brandy, and realized that there was always someone there carving a path and that was her mother. With a cornerstone like Sonya Brandy's voice, personality, and outspokenness flourished from the very beginning while my abnormalities caused me to become the complete opposite. After contemplating these revelations I understood that no one advocated or carved anything for me, not as a child or an adult. I have been more ignored, rejected, and made fun of, which I am so used to that I expect it. My father did his best before he unexpectedly died when I was 14. I did ask if I could take singing and dance lessons around 8 or 9, but I don't think he wanted to pay for it. By the age of 10 I at least had the opportunity to participate in military drill with Brandy, and when I was 15 I put myself into my very first ballet class. Yeah, pretty late to be starting but I was a late bloomer anyway, which also made me feel awkward in comparison to others. 

Now a college graduate in 2020 during a strange time in the world before an approaching election I can say that at 41 years old I am fully awakened, I know it all (not in the way that God does), and I am fully found. I understand that I have nothing left to do but to put my art in the world by my own efforts whether I am helped, supported, or advocated for or not. I feel like Emily Dickinson at this point, like I have mentally retreated from what is sucky about people and although unfortunate, I am sad to say that majority of people are not insightful at all, nor do they have the ability to "see". Speaking of "seeing" let's go back to Billie Eilish for a moment. I don't think people really get how instrumental Finneas was in catapulting her career and I don't just mean him being her collaborator. What I am saying is that Finneas had the ability to "see" something in his sister that made him want to make her a star, her personality, her unique style. This flies right over people heads when he mentions this in interviews and I adore how he gives Billie very intense looks into the side of her face when she is speaking. It's the look that says, 'I really know you sister'. Half of the time I don't think Billie is even aware. When you think about it, it was his desire to pursue music heavily and his reaching out to music makers and managers he loved that brought about the connection and we all know the rest is history. 

Over the years and very sporadically, I would run into Brandy at recording studios when I was with my brother writing songs. I always had some project with me whether crochet or making jewelry. Each time it was like old times, reminiscing about drill, doing old combinations (that is what they were called), her checking out my crafts. Then one day she pulled me aside and quietly asked, "Oh my God, can you sing?".  Smiling, I shook my head and said yes. Then she turned around to my brother and asked him the same question. He laughed and said yes. She just stood there wide-eyed and open-mouthed in humorous surprise. 

It's been a long time now since I've seen her and there is always a possibility that someday again I will. I love her dearly and miss her based on childhood memories. I miss that closeness with someone like her and the few others I have been kindred with. 

I am fine. I am fine with all because I am still alive and breathing. I have my health and I have all the things I have accomplished that makes me proud of what I have done. Famous or not I have treated myself like the celebrity I am and I can count on one hand, the people who have really gotten me. I am ultra talented, meritable of all I have received, scholarly, and born to two genius parents who left a legacy within me. I know that this time in my life is the best time, that I have the ability to still carve out a great path for myself and give to the world all that I am. With the help of God who has never failed me I can do all things through my spiritual and supernatural strength. I have experienced many miracles and I know there are more on the way. I feel it. That's all for now. Heart's joy wherever you are in the world. 

Legendary Hitmaker Babyface Cover's Billie Eilish's "my future"

THIS. IS. EPIC. Legendary songwriter, producer, and hitmaker, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds recently covered Billie Eilish's "my future" with his 12 year old daughter Peyton for a virtual school event. In his own words he stated:

"First things first, my daughter Peyton and I love us some Billie Eilish...and since we were asked to do a song together for a school event this past Saturday it only made sense, that she'd wanna do a Billie Eilish song. So for sheep-doodles and giggles, we went in the studio and recorded My Future... and also shot this little video on my IPhone." IG: @babyface

I love Billie Eilish too and when I saw this video roll through my Instagram feed I was wide-eyed and all smiles, but also perturbed. 

It's no doubt that having Babyface for a father, the adorable Peyton would be bound to come out with smooth vocals of her own, which she has. The video itself is fun, bright, and joyous with the perfect Babyface aesthetic all throughout the music, including his own falsetto background vocals that sent glitter flying throughout my body! Jesus! That man's voice. And perhaps the blond kid was a cousin or classmate. He added to the vibe as well. 

Yet, I was jaded. I mean, this is the man who gave us Toni Braxton and numerous collaborations from Mariah Carey and Boys 2 Men, Brandy, Tamia, Chaka Khan, and Gladys Knight, Babyface and Madonna! "Take a Bow"!, Whitney Houston and so many more. And let's not forget his own masterpiece, Grown and Sexy, which I played on repeat for a year straight. There is nothing like picking up a new release while on a road trip and playing that same record for 28 hours straight. Grown and Sexy will always connect me to that time and the magical beauty I witnessed driving through some of the most amazing countryside. 

To say the name Babyface is to also think of Diane Warren, another world renowned songwriter he shares the ranks with, ranks that clearly showed in the comment section of his post. There lied replies from stellar celebrities, from supermodels to label executives, Naomi Campbell, Holly Robison Peete, Tommy Mottola, Kris Jenner, just to name a few. Even my sweet angel Brandy, who shares my fan page with her angel sister Billie, sealed the deal with her red heart, an artist Babyface had always been a huge advocate for showcasing her on many tracks as the primary vocalist. The who's who of all who-isms was present. What was not present were Billie Eilish fans. 

I scrolled for a while, admiring plenty of blue check marks, but could it be that I was the only fan account excited about sharing this rendition, and commenting to let it be known that Billie stans were in the place to be? Yeah, I like showing off for the people I am passionate about and if I were Billie, or any artist for that matter, and Babyface covered one of my songs I would be laid out on my back staring up at the ceiling for a week in disbelief. If I were a fan I would be even more stoked about someone giving Billie her flowers while she is alive to receive them, showing her all the love in the world. But hey, that's me. My main thought was really about the fandom as a whole, and I get it, this could all be purely generational. But let's just say I was not 1,000 years old and I was 16 and I ran across Billie content of a random guy and his daughter covering her song, but I did not know who they were. After seeing a comment section of major celebrities I would want to know who this person was and then look into it. 

Unfortunately, there are biases within the fandom where younger stans judge older stans for even having accounts. Also, if Billie content surfaces by someone the fandom does not know, they are ignored and no re-posting takes place. Doesn't seem fair really. And let's be honest, younger stans only know who older celebrities like Julia Roberts and Naomi Campbell are, because Billie has mentioned them repeatedly and has taken photos with them, and I am not going to lie and say that I knew who Rosalia, Jessie Reyez, and Denzel Curry were before Billie made mention of them in her interviews. That is the beautiful gift she has and one of the reasons I love her so much, the gift to blend many generations into one musical construct. As a 15 and 16 year old I was stunned to see how much she related to the music and culture of my time. But then again, Billie does have older parents and also, she is an old soul. So if I am able to connect myself to Gen Z artists as well as music from my childhood, younger stans should be able to make that connection as well. You love on who's loving on the the one you love. 

Overall, I would have loved to have seen Billie stans show up and show out in Babyface's comment section, not just to show him love, but to show all the love to his 12 year old daughter who holds a love for Billie just as much as most of us in the fandom does. 

The full video can be seen on Babyface's Instagram @babyface. What a beautiful visual I have of them having a blast in his home studio recording a song by an artist they both love as parent and child. 



MTV Video Music Awards VMA's 2019 is Generationally Sound

I am back in the saddle again folks and you know who put me there? Billie Eilish. It was her nine, and according to some sources, ten nominations that drew me to an award show I have not watched in years and this goes for the majority of award shows including the American Music Award, the Country Music Awards, The World Music Awards, The Grammys, The Latin Grammys, The Emmys, The Oscars, and so on.

Considering the fact that I am a Gen X-er, I was not sure what to expect. I have always loved music deeply and the award show was the best and most inspiring part of being a music lover. Although I am nearing the finish line of my education as a music student, my head had been buried in the sand since 2016. My time was spent staring at sheet music, drawing circles on lines, studying for my general education, and traveling with choirs. My awareness of pop culture and who today's artists were had been completely lost. It was not until this passed summer of 2019 that I dove heavily into the ocean of the current music industry discovering artists like Lizzo, Sabrina Claudio, Tyler the Creator, Rosalia, Tierra Whack, and so many more. Not only that, but somehow, after commencement in June, I became a serious concert goer, as I did not do this before. I attended Billie Eilish's concert at the Shrine, XXL Freshman Class to see Tierra Whack at LA Live's Novo Theater, and recently the iheartradio Music Festival Daytime Stage in Las Vegas to see Billie Eilish and H.E.R. I discovered Billie Eilish before them all though, in the Fall of 2018, and she was very instrumental in pointing me in the right direction toward great artists and by the time the VMAs came around I was just as excited as the time when I was 16.

Might I say, the MTV Video Music Awards did not fail me and at the closing of the ceremony I was wowed. I sat at my computer thinking about how I felt relevant still. It did not feel like I missed a beat at all. High school felt like it was just yesterday. This feeling was attributed to Missy Elliot being honored with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, an award presented by today's female rapper Cardi B. Facts! That relevancy was upheld with the final tribute to hip hop which included Queen Latifa, Naughty by Nature, Wyclef Jean, Redman, and Fetty Wap, artists that took me back a couple of decades, but have set the path for millennials and Generation Z entertainers ruling the music world today. Not only that, but having personalities like John Travolta, Peppa from Salt and Peppa, and Lenny Kravitz present awards showed me that although it has been a while since I'VE seen an award show, not much has changed. In many ways MTV still has a good head on its shoulders honoring its veteran artists.

Here is another beautiful moment. The win for Billy Ray Cyrus and Lil Nas X for "Old Town Road". Two individuals generations apart but brought together by a situation of discrimination. Yes, it still happens in the music industry which is why I can easily think that the "old" artist is obsolete because in my time to start at 24 was old and a size 2 was everything. Not anymore. Look at Janet, Cher, Madonna, and Mary J. Blige to name a few. These careers are still strong. You can be an all around artist, any size, and you don't have to be in the Disney kids club to make it. You can also be Lil Nas X whose song was made popular through an app, yet those big wigs are so resistant to change. Thank God for Billy Ray Cyrus, a man of integrity and morale who saw an opportunity to support a young kid who was simply trying to get a few emotions off his chest. With Cyrus on board the industry had to take Nas X seriously and it paid off.

Speaking of Cyrus. How about that Miley. She gave a heart wrenching and passionate performance and it was the most moving of the night for me. First off, she is a specimen of a human being with those long legs and arms, those broad shoulders. I recently watched her doing a yoga routine on her Instagram story. No wonder. The woman is an art piece. So is her voice. Genetics as well as facts! Her performance changed my life while Missy Elliott's was the most exciting to watch. She showed every artist of today how it was and is done and there was not a g-string in sight. I cannot say the same for Megan Thee Stallion and her outdoors performance. People like her, I know. I have not delved into her music yet, but I will. However, I only remember there being something about fishnets and ass. The song? Far from my memory as parts of my childhood. Don't get me wrong, there were some shockers in my time, but looking back you find it all tasteful, like Lil' Kim and the lavender jumper and nipple cover, Toni Braxton and that "white dress", and J Lo with that beautiful tropical low cut and flowing Versace dress. It was the kind of sexuality that made news, including the butt wars, but at least they were covered in denim.

Spanning the audience whenever the cameras captured them I saw a wide variety of demographics, 20 and 30 somethings, seasoned music executives on the floor with their guests. Of course the true stans were in the balcony which they usually are screaming the loudest and most likely the youngest. Overall, it was a beautiful show. I was revived and happy to see that the world of music has changed but has also remained the same. MTV mixed in the new with the old and it was fabulous and classy. The show was very well thought out and I was pleased with all the artists chosen to perform inside the venue including the Jonas Brothers who were in a different location. Congratulations to Billie Eilish for her three wins. The fandom as a whole is so proud.