This month we are spotlighting Assata Renay, who is now an alum of our annual Music for Mental Health Benefit Concert series, thanks to her performance at this year’s 2019 concert! Read on to learn more about Assata:
How would you describe your music in three words?
Soulful, fiery, and inspirational!
Speaking of musical descriptions, what’s the earliest musical experience you can remember that made you think, “I want to do that”?
I grew up around music and started going to concerts at a young age. There was a concert that my mom brought me to, and I remember watching all of the performers thinking to myself "Wow... I can really see myself doing this one day!"
In addition to being a songwriter, performer, tarot reader, and now a real estate salesperson, you’re also a mother. How does that role influence your other hats outside of motherhood?
Balancing being a mommy and entertainer has its challenges, but since starting home school with my daughter, I am finding things to flow a whole lot better. I love having my daughter nearby so I can not only teach her the basics, but I can bring her around my element and teach her about the music business with her right by my side.
Allen Toussaint once stated, “Music is everything to me short of breathing. Musical also had a role to lift you up – not to be escapist, but to take you out of misery.” With that said, how has music gotten you through hard times in your life?
Music has always been my go-to method for healing. I can think back to times where I may have been going through a breakup, or just when I needed time to figure out what was next in my life. The creation of music, or simply listening to songs that I liked, have and still do play a role in how I choose to express myself in my craft.
What does “Music for the Mind” mean to you?
When I hear "Music for the Mind,” I think of music that carries healing vibrations.
What is a message you hope others receive through your music?
As an artist I find it to be important that I make music that inspires, uplifts and sparks a movement of progression to my listeners. I want my listeners to feel like they can accomplish their goals step-by-step while listening to, or reflecting on, my music. My mission is to create my own lane in the industry that shows people the perfect balance between maintaining a family life, career, and how to be successful in managing both.
In addition to music as a cathartic measure, what other coping tools do you use to care for your mental health?
In addition to pouring my heart out on-stage, I meditate daily, pray and burn lots of sage in order to protect my mental state, and to help keep me balanced and grounded.
We’ve reached the end of our interview, and we’d love for you to share any last thoughts on the concept of music and mental health, and all that comes in between!
The best advice that I would give to someone that is struggling with some of life's hardships would be to focus more energy on becoming the best version of yourself that you can be! Often times we compare ourselves to others instead of putting time into advancing self. You slow yourself down by constantly looking over into the next lane...meanwhile missing important signs that are needed to advance yourself in your own journey!
Assata Renay is a New Orleans-based songwriter, performer, clarity reader, and now real estate salesperson, known for her inventive work across RnB, soul, and pop genres, as well as appearing in the Top 40 Contestants for American Idol, Season 2019. To listen and learn more about Assata, check out the links below.
Official Website: https://assatarenay.com/
All photos by Camille Lenain for the Brett Thomas Doussan (BTD) Foundation.