Saturday, March 17, 2012


"An immersion in blues, 
as well as an upbringing in 
Toronto's rock scene 
and the music and culture of 
her birthplace, the former Yugoslavia, 
created a bicultural artist."
Last year I had the privilege 
to connect with another 
independent Canadian artist with Balkan roots, 
REENIE is currently in British Columbia, 
where she finished her Bachelor of Music 
at the University of Victoria
and completed her first solo album 
with NY-based producer, Charlie Van Kirk.
On March 29th, REENIE will release her debut album 
and host a special CD release 
and visual art exhibition 
that will feature a performance by Chris Ho 
and contributions from 
the Canadian Federation of Artists 
and Island Illustrators.

Shortly thereafter, REENIE will relocate to Toronto
where she will reside for a number of years.
I recently had the opportunity to ask REENIE 
a few questions regarding her upcoming album 
and future plans in the city.

 RT - Could you please tell me more about your background and upbringing?

IP - I was born in Sarajevo, BIH. My family left in 1992 
when the civil war was just beginning. 
I was only 5, so I remember the people I was surrounded by 
more clearly than the physical surroundings... 
I was raised in Toronto, and later Kitchener-Waterloo, 
where I started a punk/rock influenced band in high school. 
We signed up with a company called Supernova 
that made us sell lots of tickets for them in order to play. 
Looking back, it was kind of a pay-to-play situation, 
but it was really exciting cause we got to play in these really awesome 
Toronto venues (like the Opera House and The Docks) 
and we met other great bands… it was an inspiring time. 
Luckily enough, I was able to see my extended family 
and Serbian family friends quite often, as they all lived in Toronto, 
so even though I had grown up very much Canadian, 
I felt that my roots were still present, and still feel bi-cultural.

RT - What brought you to Victoria, B.C.? 
What were some of your experiences there?

IP - University. I went into a classical music program on percussion 
and soon took an interest in composing modern “classical” music. 
It started out super fun, but halfway through I felt pressure 
to make everything complicated and lost touch with the soul of music. 
At the beginning, my extra-curricular music mellowed out, 
I began listening to more blues, jazz, and folk, 
and started a funk/pop band called The Vista. 
We gigged around town and in Vancouver, 
played a bunch of festivals including Victoria’s Jazz Fest. 
The band fell apart after a couple of years, and with all the academic pressure, 
I was less inspired to write music outside of school. 
I did get some wonderful opportunities to have my work read 
by professional ensembles, such as the Victoria Symphony… 
it was really cool to hear my piece come to life.

RT - I'd like to know about the making of 
How long was this project in the works 
and what was it like recruiting 
the collaborating musicians involved?

IP - The Real World happened just as I was finishing university (laughs)
It was just after I had gone through a long period of writer’s block, 
I was coming to terms with where I really wanted to be and 
thinking a lot about real world experiences versus institutionalized education, 
and all these songs came pouring out. 
I was just going to record the first two in August 2011, 
just to have a demo of where I was at, and then all these other songs happened. 
I wasn’t thinking of “the real world” concept with the album at the time, 
but after realized how autobiographical 
and how in touch with human emotion and experience all the songs were, 
I decided on that title. 
The collaborating musicians were all friends, 
or friends of friends I had met along the way. 
Amazing performers, improvisers, composers.

RT - Was it difficult as n independent artist to make this album on your own? 
What would you say were the most crucial components to see its release 
and what tools were you working with 
that allowed you to come this far, independently? 

IPYes and no. 
It didn’t really feel that I was on my own in this project, 
since there were so many other musicians involved; 
some of the best parts of the album happened by accident in rehearsals. 
I’ve been in so many bands where it felt more like jamming than rehearsing; 
we never really explored the meaning behind the songs 
and never tried to execute it through the arrangements. 
I feel that this album is the first where I’ve been in control 
and could focus more on the soul of each song. 
The most difficult part was definitely the financial side of things. 
I got some help from family and friends 
through the IndieGoGo fundraising campaign. 
Other than that it’s been coming from my pockets 
and borrowing from lovely people. 

RT - You'll be relocating back to Toronto immediately after the release of the album; 
what can we expect from REENIE this year? 

IP - Yes, I’m very excited for the move. 
Looking forward to a change of pace and LOTS of performing. 
A couple of music videos are in the making, 
and my Toronto debut will be on 
June 1st at the Trane Studio

taken from the upcoming release
available March 29, 2012


photographs by Ryan Wyllie