The healing power of the voice and music has fascinated Renee her whole life, however it is only recently that Renee has begun to delve deeper into what songwriting and singing may reveal to herself and others. Through the humble ukulele, Renee is discovering her true calling …
“I have explored many artistic mediums since my teens, including making one-of-a-kind cloth dolls, designing and creating clothes, performing as a stand-up comedian, and teaching dance therapy classes. Since my early 20’s I also dragged around a guitar and ukulele, but never learnt to play more than a couple of chords. It was as if unconsciously I knew that the day would come when I would finally tap into the part of myself which had remained hidden from view for so long…the part which I now see is my essence, my artist, my true self. My work as a therapist and my personal healing journey as a woman were somehow (and unbeknownst to me), leading me to the creating of music.”
For Renee the two worlds of art and music are intimately connected. But it is through her work with women that her own awakening as an artist has been realised. “For me, creativity and healing are intricately woven together. The healing journey for me has always been leading me back to the parts of myself I had not entirely understood or acknowledged….the poet, the singer, the weaving of stories and sound.”
Her first recording of original songs, all written for the ukulele, are exquisitely vulnerable, delicate, and spellbinding. They reveal intimacy and longing, and are the confessions of a woman in love. Inspiration for the music and the songs says Renee, came from a period of deep introspection.
“When I wrote these songs I was going through an intense personal crisis and had a lot of time on my hands to write. This passage of time allowed me to explore the unfulfilled longing I had carried all my life to sing and play music. For example, for many years I kept journals as a way of experiencing the well of my inner world …the mysterious inner world of the feminine. But it was a surprise to suddenly realise I had reams of song lyrics waiting to be given voice.
“When I write a song I feel I am deep sea diving …taking the finest details of a mundane situation and unravelling them to find jewels hidden below the surface of ordinariness, tiny moments of truth and raw emotion.”
Renee’s voice and her songs have evoked a response in her listeners which has been surprising and extremely rewarding. The simplicity of ukulele and guitar with double bass allows a spaciousness not often heard in highly produced commercial albums. Her voice has been described as angelic and mesmerizing … often leading to audience members experiencing their own vulnerability during her shows.
“Many times I have had women and (even more surprisingly) men come up to me after the show and share that they had laughed, cried and were deeply moved …as if some healing had occurred whilst listening. This is the great privilege of sharing music as a performer and artist. It’s a communion between artist and audience, a place where we come together and embrace the common thread weaving through our humanness, the thread connecting us all to some greater picture.”
“Lace Wings” is the first album by Renee Searles, and just a ‘taster’ for what this incredible singer-songwriter-and consummate performer is capable of. Catherine Mercer, The Art of Healing.
Words from the song "The Mountain"
"Birdwing calls and silk-fringed shawls
The mountain spoke to me
Ocean waves with sails ablaze
In dusky dulcet tones"
This article appeared in Vol 1 Issue 34 of The Art of Healing