With songs drenched in the rich sounds of southern soul, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re listening to one of the classic divas of the 1960s when you first hear Raquel Reno sing. Perhaps that’s because, as a young girl in Cheltenham, Raquel dove into her parent’s music collection, discovering Aretha, Dusty, and Dinah Washington, whose voices she aspired to emulate.

Never one to sit at home waiting to be discovered, Raquel’s drive to sing and make music took her across the world; to China, to Abu Dhabi, and finally, to Nashville, where she found herself recording with the some of the legendary singers and renowned musicians responsible for the famed Muscle Shoals sound.  

She’s certainly come a long way from the days of school music competitions, when teachers encouraged her down a path toward musical theatre, and even ballet. Raquel never fitted that mould.

‘I just wanted to be me when I was singing rather than playing a character.’

In 2013, scrolling through a Facebook page, she accepted a job on a whim, and surprised her parents with the news that she was moving to China to join a band.

Eventually relocating to Abu Dhabi and then Dubai, she formed a rockabilly outfit, giving current pop songs a vintage twist, but when Covid hit, everything came to a crashing halt!

Back in London, Raquel started writing her own material, diving into her growing collection of classic vinyl, and rediscovering her love of Memphis soul.

‘The female performers of the sixties had such raw energy and edge. I was inspired by their boldness of style as well as their sound. I wanted to find ways of keeping that energy alive, while giving it a new twist.’

It wasn’t long before she’d caught the attention of both investors and music management, who hooked her up with producer Nigel Lowis, the man behind the hits of Dina Carol and Eternal.

It was through these connections that Raquel landed in Nashville, recording at the famed Sound Kitchen Studio, home to artists like Taylor Swift, Dolly Parton and Carrie Underwood.

‘Nashville opened up such a creative door in me. I completely immersed myself in the city’s atmosphere and music; it was the perfect fit and I learned so much.’

With storytelling lyrics that are both dramatic and romantic, and a rich soul voice, Raquel draws on her experience when she writes and performs. She sings honestly and openly about broken relationships, past family pressures to abandon her dreams and settle down, and the perils of being a young woman, fighting to stay afloat in the choppy waters of the music industry.

Now, having recorded the best part of a debut album, she’s looking forward to finally performing her own music on her terms.

‘I get such a buzz stepping on stage. It’s always been the place where I can be myself and let go. It’s been quite the journey, but now I can’t wait to bring my music to the world!’

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