While fleeting dreams of musical stardom might have consumed her since she was thirteen years old, Athena Renee is nothing close to your typical pop culture songstress. In truth, if fate hadn’t intervened, the corporate ladder would be her fate. Accomplished, business-minded and professional, she is as much a business woman – running Wisdom Reborn Entertainment and Publishing Company – as she is a stage commanding performer who is capable of booking a show and turning it up just the same.
Since she can remember, Athena Renee’s voice has been a vehicle she could rely on for joy, passion and random thoughts of fame. Yet, there was a thing called life that insisted on obstructing her path.
In 2005, the Douglas, Georgia native moved to Atlanta not to pursue her dreams of grandeur as a breakout artist, but those aspirations were deferred because her in-laws suffered simultaneous, deleterious health ailments.
With personal matters in her immediate sight and years removed from her first professional gig as lead to the Georgia Mass Choir, her life was all figured out. She’d continue to climb the corporate ladder, pursue her CPA and blow away the occasional room of bystanders with her unique, powerful voice.
Suppressing a deep seated desire to perform however, was not as easy as she thought it would be. In fact, it was something that kept her up at night – literally.
“All I could think about was music,” Athena discloses. “It was music everywhere. In my dreams… I would wake up at 3 o’clockevery morning. My husband thought I was crazy, but every night I would wake up with music [on my mind]. In my dreams, even the flowers were singing.”
After one of those long nights, Athena was called to use her gift at her godmother’s bedside. “She was diagnosed with stage four cancer and hadn’t moved in two weeks,” Athena remembers. “She was full of pain. She had morphine in her system, the whole thing … But, when I sung ‘The Lord’s Prayer,’ she lifted her hands to the sky – and that was her last time moving before she passed away.”
To the astonishment of doctors and nurses who said she would never move again, the family rejoiced at the miracle they had witnessed. Amazed and equally stirred by the moment, Athena Renee vowed this would not be the last time her voice made a difference in someone’s life.
“I made a promise to God that if I can move somebody on their deathbed, I was meant to move people that are alive and well,” she tells. “I didn’t have any plan. I just knew that I had to do something and once I started doing that, people started coming to me.”
As she set out to dominate the local underground with soulful renditions of top 40 hits, Athena’s act caught the attention of the General Manager of Tree Sound Studios, Malissa “Mali” Hunter. This lead to an audition with Grammy-nominated hip hop artist B.o.B.
Of the forty girls that were there to audition for background singing duties, Athena was among the most impressive – earning praise from the man of the hour.
Athena then recalled an amazing revelation, “He told me, ‘Honestly, you don’t need to be a background singer for anybody; you need to have your own mic.’”
With that endorsement, the determined singer took her act on the road, courtesy of a private audition Hunter set up with producers of NBC’s hit television series ‘The Voice‘. Upon wowing another group, she was off to Hollywood where she spent two months waiting on the opportunity that would change her life.
“I learned a lot about the system and the machine that is needed for an artist when I went out there,” she says – citing a similar experience with the X-Factor in Atlanta, then Dallas. “I also learned about the politics behind the scene as well,” Athena added.
Subsequent to her plunge into the unpredictable world of entertainment television, Athena Renee continued to push her brand – landing writing opportunities with Keith Sweat & CoCo (“My Valentine” – 2011) and CyHi Da Prince’s Black Hystori Project (2014).
She is currently developing an EP project series tentatively titled, This Is She, which contains production by CountJustice (Chris Brown, Usher, Seyvn Streeter), EveryBodyKnowsStrou
She first had to build relationships within the music industry, as a songwriter, before beginning her own journey to artistry.
“I want people to warm up to me,” she says. “I understand that part. I want to build a podium for myself before I release my debut album. If I do that, I think I’ll be alright.”
Outside of music, Athena Renee is also very passionate about mentoring and encouraging young females to be leaders of tomorrow and to remain focused on achieving their goals for their future.
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