“Success to me now is just doing what I love,” Remi tells What We Seee. “And in the past two years, even though I have a son and my life has to be much more scheduled now, I’ve been able to create so much more.” This singer, songwriter, and producer’s path has been a unique one. After being discovered on MySpace at a young age, she was catapulted into success with two studio albums with Island Records, My Conscience and I and Cupid Shoot Me. But that success and exposure came with a loss of creative control.
“My previous experience was such a whirlwind,” she explains. “I was completely washed away with it and not really conscious of what was happening. When that all kind of collapsed, you do feel discarded. Before the deals, when I was just putting music out there, I wasn’t talking about success or anything. It was just so fun — but going through that mill and having come out of it not how I would have liked, it didn’t seem fun anymore.”
Though she kept up with songwriting and has remained active in the industry, she’s finally rediscovering the naturally joyful process that initially garnered her such attention. With the release of Just Kids, there’s a purity of purpose and sound that marks a return to the artist’s authentic self. Citing influences like John Lennon, The Supremes, and Santigold, Remi is a genre-busting creative powerhouse who has found her stride.
It Spread To Every Part Of Myself
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Remi speaks with a unique openness and honesty about the struggles of success at a young age in a brutal industry — and the lingering effect that can have. “Every time I wrote something, the music was changing and the content was at rapid speed,” she says. “I felt like I couldn’t keep up — I was striving for perfection, there was a lot of self-consciousness, which is really out of character. I’m a really strong and confident person usually, that’s how people would describe me. Obviously, I have my insecurities like anyone, but it felt really alien to doubt myself in every way. Because it wasn’t just music, it spread into every part of my life. I started to doubt myself everywhere.”
For Remi, there was a clear catalyst that helped her rediscover her confidence — and her sound. “It wasn’t really until I had my son, when suddenly it’s not all you anymore,” she says. “Your focus isn’t just on yourself — it’s on someone else. It just put everything into perspective for me. Why did I make music in the first place? It wasn’t for record deals or commercial success — it was because I absolutely fucking loved making songs and loved the whole process of it. I just need to do that and who cares what happens?” And, as with many artists, as soon as she was able to tap back into the sound that makes her unique, the buzz followed.
More Creative Than Ever
Bouncing between London and LA, Remi and her family live a slightly nomadic lifestyle — and draw inspiration from everywhere. “I’ve moved to a new area of LA now and I feel more inspired than ever at the moment,” she says. “Where I am now, there are so many different people. I was in West Hollywood before and you just see a thousand selfies and gyms, it felt stagnant. The positivity in LA, a lot of the time it’s not real — but I feel at home here. Feeling like a part of the community makes me feel more inpired, it’s easier to be myself here.”
A sense of community and family run through Remi’s work — and Just Kids was a distinctly family affair. Shot by her husband, Guy Lowndes, they went to the park with their son in tow. “It worked out perfectly for us,” she says. “It was just us, it looked like we were just shooting a family thing.”
The shoot also marked a return to her London roots. “I wanted to capture that the park has two huge tower blocks in them. They’re ugly, but I just love that element of London — these two huge tower blocks in the beautiful park,” she says. “I think that the grittiest parts of London are beautiful and that’s really the heart of the people there. I grew up going to these parks, I wanted to reminisce and have the nostalgia of that carefree feeling from childhood.”
Doing What I Love
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In her home city, with her family — Remi has returned to her sound and her soul and, like any true artist, she realizes that that is enough. “I’m not in control of what happens with this — and that’s OK,” she explains. “Whatever happens is fine. I’m still doing what I love. My music always had and still has a self-empowerment and positive edge to it that I would like to share. It’s for anyone who wants to listen to it or feel empowered by it. That for me is success.”
And that assuredness shows in the music. “I spent a lot of time honing this sound,” she says. “Because I have had no label waiting, no people knocking on my door — it’s been freeing, but it’s quite difficult as a creative to keep yourself motivated. There have been times when it’s been really difficult, but I embrace those times because that’s all part of it. I just want to continue to make music. I think the next couple of songs that I’ve got coming up are pretty special and I want to share those. I feel like my music is little notes to myself, little reminders to myself. A lot of people write about love, and I think there are enough heartbreak songs in the world — and at the moment I’m not having any heartbreak, so I’ll leave that to the heartbroken. I’ll send reminders to myself of who I want to be and the person I would like to listen to.” And she shouldn’t be surprised to find out that a lot of other people are listening, too.