Ren Stedman is a transgender singer-songwriter from Essex. Fresh from touring the UK, supporting acts including Lucy Spraggan, Mica Paris, Latrice Royale and Hazel Dean, Ren has also been a featured artist on The London News. Combining folky melodies with sincere and honest lyrics, Ren has been compared to artists such as Frank Turner, Greg Holden and Billy Bragg. For his #CLICsLIVENOISE, he exceeds all expectations - confronting the topic of gender identity with a subtle simplicity. Kicking out the queers.
When and why did you start playing?
I started playing music at an early age when my parents encouraged me to start piano lessons at around 5 or 6 years old, so I’ve grown up playing music. I didn’t start playing the guitar until I was about 14. I’d left school early and needed something to keep me busy, so I would sit for hours every day trying to perfect it.
What instruments do you play?
I play the piano, guitar, bass, banjo, ukulele and harmonica.
What was the first tune(s) you learnt to play?
The first song that I learned how to play on the guitar was ‘Holiday’ by Green Day. As a teenager I was absolutely obsessed with the band and insisted on teaching myself pretty much everything they’d ever written.
Vinyl, tape, CD, or digital?
As much as I love having a physical copy of a song or an album, I’m always travelling so much that often I only get the chance to listen to music digitally. I like the convenience of having access to digital music, because it means I can listen to it whenever and wherever.
How do you handle a fuck up on stage?
When performing, I usually fuck up at least one song. So usually at a gig people will hear me say ‘oh shit’ in the middle of the song because I’ve sang the wrong line or played the wrong chord. But it doesn’t bother me too much if I fuck up on stage, because I’m too busy having fun performing – and usually people don’t notice that I’ve fucked up, they’re generally wondering more about why I’ve just said ‘oh shit’ in the middle of a song.
Who or what is your ultimate influence?
My biggest musical inspiration is Frank Turner. I really like honest lyrics and that modern folky style of music.
What scares you most in the world?
As stupid as it sounds, I’m really scared of secondary school kids. I think it’s because I was an awkward teenager, so I had a really rough time at school. But I still find myself deliberately crossing the road to walk on the opposite side if I see a group of school kids walking in my direction. I can almost feel myself revert back to my awkward, nervous teenage self when I see school kids.
Where and when do you wish you’d been around to play at?
I really wish I was alive when John Lennon was around. I’ve always been a huge fan of The Beatles – more so John Lennon. I love how diverse his and The Beatles style was – I’m such a big John Lennon fan that I’ve even got a tattoo of him haha!
If I gave you an elephant where would you hide it?
I wouldn’t hide it, it would be my tour elephant and I would teach him how to play the drums so we could be a duo.
What is your colour socks are you wearing?
They’re green with pictures of burgers on them.
Crunchy or smooth?
If you could have anyone locked in a room so that you could torment them for a day, whom would you choose and how would you torment them?
Kanye West. I would force him to listen to his horrendous rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody for the entire day with it gradually getting louder and louder until it makes his ears bleed as much as ours did having to witness such a travesty.
Ren is currently in the process of writing and recording his new EP to take with him on his next UK tour in March 2017.