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"Up In The Air" Artist Kevin Renick Debuts New Music

Kevin Renick shot to international fame after the inclusion of his song, "Up in the Air," in the Jason Reitman film of the same name. photo by Diana Linsley (click for larger version)
April 25, 2011
Kevin Renick has been landing all over the place since recording his "Up in the Air" song, featured in actor George Clooney's film by the same name. Renick's next big gig is at the Sheldon Concert Hall on May 19.

Much of the highly-acclaimed movie was filmed in St. Louis, and Renick's own music career began catching on in St. Louis right after the movie's release in late 2009. He was invited to play his melancholy movie tune at Vintage Vinyl, the Tivoli in University City and beyond.

Renick could be forgiven for counting his biggest "invite" as the one that took him to Japan in 2010. The University City resident was invited by movie director Jason Reitman to help with the promotion of "Up in the Air" in Japan.

"Japan was a spectacular dream for me," said Renick. "Everything was done for me there as if I were some kind of a rock star. Fans were asking me for signatures and the movie hadn't even opened there yet.

"It was pretty weird having all these people coming up to me, and I am just some dork from St. Louis," laughed Renick. "But when I was in Japan, it was explained to me that they love American movies and they read up on everything about them even before the movies open."

As for Renick's opening at The Sheldon, he said he couldn't be more excited. The Sheldon Concert Hall, located in the heart of Grand Center, is Renick's kind of place. He will perform at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 19, at the Washington Avenue venue.

"When I first started performing and I was thinking about where I would most like to play, The Sheldon was always high at the top of the list," said Renick.

"The Sheldon allows for the kind of intimacy that I always hope to achieve in my music: the ability to tell stories about the songs," he said. "I want a relaxed vibe between performer and audience – and there's just a warmth there."

Two Music Debuts

Renick will simultaneously launch the release of two innovative and contrasting albums at The Sheldon. In a budding music career marked by surprises, the dual release show will mark the realization of yet another dream for the upstart musician.

"Come On Down," a 6-song EP that Renick has recorded with local engineer Justin Robinson, is his first new material since his self-released "Close To Something Beautiful" in 2010. All but one song features his core band of Ned Watson, lead guitar; Ted Moniak, bass; and Andrea Spencer, better known from local band Pelvic Girdles, on drums.

Renick's second release is "The Road To Olandra," an ambient/spoken word odyssey recorded over two years ago with Canadian soundscape artist John Sobocan. "Olandra" bears the influence of Renick's ambient guru Brian Eno, as well as experimental artist Laurie Anderson.

Renick called Brian Eno his hero, because he once came out with a rock album and a very weird instrumental ambient album at the same time. Renick said his "Olandra" is a sort of combination of sound, poetry and meditation with the message that friends must treasure each other and not take each other for granted.

Renick's penchant for bringing other local musicians into his shows will be on display at the Sheldon concert, as his band will include renowned performer Gretchen Hewitt on violin and piano. Hewitt appears on Renick's new EP, and is fresh off a recent choral performance in the St. Louis Symphony's "Lord of the Rings" extravaganza.

All tickets for the May 19 concert are $6, and are available only at The Sheldon's box office the day of the show. Doors open at 7 p.m.; call 533-9900; visit www.kevinrenick.com and www.thesheldon.org for details.

"Up in the Air"

"All of this would not be happening without the success of 'Up in the Air' and that strange turn of events that followed," conceded Renick. "When I wrote that song, I had no idea a movie would be coming out with the same name."

When Jason Reitman, director of "Up in the Air," was billed to speak at Webster University in early 2009, Renick saw it as an opportunity to show his stuff. He had written his song the previous year and thought it was only serendipity that the titles were the same. As Renick researched the film, however, he discovered that the plot was about job loss, uncertainty and loneliness – the same subject matter as the song he had written.

Renick attended Reitman's speech at Webster about the upcoming film. During a Q and A session, Renick asked Reitman about the movie, ending his question by telling Reitman about his song and asking if he would be willing to listen to a demo. Reitman liked it. The rest is history – music and movie history.

"I've been on a pretty strange ride. I was laid off from a job and wrote this song, and along comes this movie where the song is a perfect fit," said Renick. "I think you have to be open to possibilities – and aware of them.

"The movie and my song opened doors for me, but I don't intend to be a one-trick pony," insisted Renick, a 1975 Kirkwood High grad and 1983 Webster University graduate. "I've written lots of songs and stories over the years and I have a lot of material to draw on."

By the way, Renick has another song being considered for another movie in the making. He said it's for a documentary and is a ballad about the plight of the American farmer.


Where: Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63108

When: Thursday, May 19, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $6

For Details: Call 533-9900 or visit www.kevinrenick.com or www.thesheldon.org

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