Conversation with singer and actress Ren Harlow


ORANGE:  In your career thus far, you've excelled in multiple art forms. How do you feel that this versatility influences your work? Does your acting help your singing, or vice versa?

REN:   It's all the same to me. Different pathways to the same place, different vehicles for how we can express the human experience.  I always find the things that I learn in music, theatre or poetry always lend to each other--whether it's certain metaphors, ways to solve a problem or express a feeling.  It's definitely a fun advantage to be able to draw from different wells when creating. It can only make things more full.

ORANGE:   What first attracted you to acting? When did you first feel it was your path?

REN:  It's so hard to think back and try to pinpoint a moment--it seems like it's something that I've always known since day 1 ( pretentious that sounds ).  I guess when I realized that being on stage not only affected me but others as well--that I was able to have a shared experience with the audience--that what I was doing was breaking through.  That kinda blew my mind.  Where maybe this isn't all in my head. What I'm doing is having a positive impact on those around me. This is how I'm supposed to contribute. 

ORANGE:   Do you have any advice for young artists trying to concentrate on their work while still making a living? How do you find the time/energy to balance all of your projects?

REN:  I think it's about focus and a little bit about sacrifice. You have to know what you want and not be ashamed to take the road the get there. Work, work work and learn about your craft in every way possible. I also read this great thing one time that got me out of my head that said something about just producing as much as possible and not worrying about how good it is at first. That's part of the process. Also, valuing your time (used to create) as your greatest asset. 

ORANGE:   I know you're a huge fan of Adrienne Rich, who is such an iconic feminist poet. Who are some other female writers/artists who have inspired you in your career?

REN:  Tori Amos, Kate Bush, Georgia O'Keefe, Louise Bourgeois, Anais Nin, Martha Graham

ORANGE:  Finally, what is the biggest creative dream you have for the next five years?

REN:  I'm starting to work on recording my latest EP. I've been "in the lab" as I call it writing material for the past 2 years. It's surreal and scary. I hope to work on it for the next year, release it and hope it takes me around the world. Also, do more film and tv and hope to start producing and writing more narrative work and...more poetry! 

"a good song either speaks to you where you stand

or takes you somewhere else to escape" 

Ren Harlow grew up in Leonia, NJ, a small town right under the George Washington Bridge. Upon arrival in New York City, she started working in major recording studios writing music and singing demos for top artists and writers. Her love for the vocal booth led into voice over. Since then her voice has appeared in National TV and internet ads for major brands such as Splenda, Tampax, Adidas and Huawei/Microsoft Windows. She has also worked in front of the camera in commercials and print campaigns for major brands such as Estee Lauder, Origins, TJMaxx, Lyft, Etsy, Budweiser and Buchanan's Whiskey.  Catch her on season 5 of Orange is the New Black and in Slolight, a 12-part film featuring the music of Neil Davidge of Massive Attack.