Interview | Bearcat


July 26, 2012
By: Megan Washington

June 5th marked the release of your self-titled debut EP. Has the response from fans and listeners lived up to your expectations?
Rene:
I honestly would have to say that the responses the EP is receiving has blown me away completely. I didn’t put my music out there with the need for it to be validated, it was truly something that I had done for myself for the first time in years. It’s beautiful to see it resonating with a lot of different people, I’ve been really humbled to hear how it’s impacted some people… I think one of my favorite responses was from a girl on twitter who said she didn’t want to like my music simply because of TWLOHA, but that she loved it.. I wanted any positive response or opportunities for my music to be authentic and legitimate, based on the music alone. ..Yeah, I’m pretty floored.

What are your plans for the EP? (ie: tour, or is it just a teaser for a full length out soon)
Rene:
I’m actually in California til the end of August working on writing some new stuff and playing as many venues as possible. From there BEARCAT will be on tour for the next few months and hopefully most of the year. Check out my upcoming tour dates here: http://reneeyohe.com/tour. There are also some pretty sweet VIP packages available :)

When can everyone expect a full length from you?
Rene:
I don’t want to force anything, one of the ways I’ve seen the music industry change in a positive way is that you can put your music out really in any format from a full length to multiple EPs etc… I would love to make a full length (several, haha, I have no plans of stopping anytime soon) and have plans of doing so, but my focus right now is more on playing the EP.

Do you ever feel any pressure when your voice is compared to Zooey Deschanel or Kate Nash?
Rene:
I wouldn’t say I feel pressure from the comparisons, I think it’s a huge compliment and a very unexpected one, but it’s not something that’s running through my mind. I like to just be where my feet are, do my best to love whatever moment I’m in and what I’m doing, instead of concerning myself with everything else.

What types of challenges do you think those particular comparisons draw for you?
Rene:
I don’t know that they do really create any challenges, or ones that I’m aware of. I’m just being myself, and if it resonates with other people that’s a beautiful gift. I guess I wouldn’t see that as a challenge because I’m not in a competition with anyone, rather maybe I’d just hope that my music (my heart) is authentic and stands on it’s own…not contrived or trying to be so terminally unique, that it just, is.

You used to have a phobia of singing in front of people. What did you do to overcome that?
Rene:
It was certainly a process, and I still get anxiety now, but I think there’s a few things that helped. I tend to just jump right into things if they are true to me, and ask questions later… it’s mostly worked out well. Haha. When I first started singing I had to sit down because I would be shaking like a leaf… then I graduated to standing! Ha…then it was finding the comfort and freedom to move and give myself to the music. The biggest thing that helped was just hopping on tour and doing it over and over. I psyched myself out, I’d close my eyes and be calm, tell myself that singing is just what I do, no big deal.. and really, I think the need to sing became so much stronger than my fear and I just decided to allow myself to experience it. Another thing that actually helped calm my fear was watching videos of my favorite artists specifically messing up (not that I’d really even consider it that). I’d watch a bunch of Regina Spektor videos of her forgetting the lyrics or something and seeing how she carried herself, laughing about it, it actually created a very human and intimate moment with the audience. I think it could be boiled down to perspective really, perhaps my phobia before stemmed from a fear of exposing my heart, for me, in the most vulnerable and transparent way and possibly being rejected, that people wouldn’t like my heart.. that’d be painful… but maybe now since the focus has shifted inward and I choose to love and accept myself, and this is just for me, then the rest doesn’t really have the power to shake me… haha, I could probably write an entire thesis paper exploring why the phobia was there, and how I’ve worked past it.

You are the inspiration behind since a special movement called To Write Love On Her Arms. For other young people who are faced with a similar situations to yours, what’s the most important thing you can tell them now that you wish you would have known back then?
Rene:
I would tell them that perspective is EVERYTHING, you have the key to your freedom… and by empowering yourself with a positive perspective and truth, you can change your life. I don’t think there’s one specific thing that I could do or say that would fix or save anyone, everyone comes to their truth in it’s right time, when they’re ready.. the most important thing is finding whatever that is for you and truly owning it. More specific little things that helped me a lot was this quote for one, “Failure isn’t falling down, it’s staying down.”… or just the simple fact that they aren’t alone, that there is nothing you’ve said or done that someone else hasn’t done as well… and not just that, but they have made it out, lived beautiful, full lives…. God, there’s so much I could say. The thing we all have to figure out first is what the problem is, we realize the problem starts in us and everything else is a symptom… It’s simple, but not easy… but you have to love yourself, and the rest will come in turn.

What is your one go-to song that when you hear it, it instantly reminds you of summer?
Rene:
Toothpaste Kisses by the Maccabees and I’m cheating and saying one other, the entire Passion Pit album called The Reeling.

You’re going to be heading to LA soon to shoot a video. What song are you going to be doing? What’s the concept for the video? And, was the concept something that you had thought of?
Rene:
I’m in LA right now actually, we’re going to do a video for “The Nothing.” I’m really excited and a bit nervous (to say the least) as I’m not good at getting my picture taken or being on film, it’s pretty awkward for me. It pulls a lot from several influences and experiences I’ve had, the major one being the film “The Neverending Story”. Yes, it’s been a lot of brainstorming and trying to envision how I’d want to depict the song and the story behind it, what symbolism I wanted to use, color schemes, everything… I’ve never made a music video before of course, so it’s been a challenge and I take ownership of the things I do, so yes, it’s a concept straight from yours truly.

What’s next for Bearcat?
Rene:
Lots of touring, writing, the music video, and who knows… I’ve got a few things lined up in the near future and I’m really excited to grow in this project.

For More Information:
http://www.facebook.com/officialbearcat
http://www.bearcatmusic.com
http://www.twitter.com/reneeyohe