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What a journey I've been on. How in the world can I begin to  summarize the crazy, careening ride that I call my life? Well, maybe I should just stick to the facts. I was born and raised in Kirkwood, Missouri, the youngest of four opinionated, imaginative kids raised by Mark and Annabelle Renick. Lived at the legendary 1050 Barry Court address for umpteen years. Grew up surrounded by energetic playmates who helped nurture my imagination even further; the most significant of these were Karen Ahlquist (nee Bowles), Melinda and Julie Farrar, Kim Caston (nee Sanders) and the late Patty Burns. Attended Kirkwood High School, where I experienced evocative moments and existential angst in equal measure. Grew up listening to glorious 60s pop music, worshipping the Beatles but listening to everything with attentive ears. When I first discovered the music of Neil Young in 1972, something clicked; Neil's music resonated deeply with me, and set me on a unique new creative path. This website and my own early forays into songwriting would likely not have happened but for Neil's enduring influence on my life. Later in the 70s, I discovered Brian Eno, and this, too, altered my creative aesthetic quite profoundly. Eno's ambient music and ideas about art and culture were intoxicating for me, and showed me that there was a whole world of creative options out there.

I attended Webster University in the 80s, earning my B.A. in "English with a Journalism Emphasis." Wrote for the Webster University Journal regularly, getting attention for my music and film reviews and various feature stories. Won a St. Louis Journalism Foundation Scholarship in 1981. Evocative memories and existential angst again occurred in equal measure. Met four of my closest and most amazingly talented friends at Webster: Ted Moniak, Debra Mitchell, Tina Carl and Annalise Raziq. They continue to enrich my life in surprising ways. Key players also helping to offset my intensity during these pivotal years were Brett and Barry Brazier, brothers who proved a perfect foil to my typically brooding disposition. It's hard to maintain that "tortured artist" blather when you're laughing your butt off.

My work life has been a little erratic; creative impulses tended to make me restless. Significant jobs included managing a record store called Record Bar in the late 70s (got a terrific music library out of it), working in Chicago as a news clipper and freelance writer 1984-1985, refining my skills as a proofreader and copy editor at the 
Riverfront Times from 1996-2000, and serving as proofreader at top advertising/marketing agency Momentum North America from 2000-2008. I was laid off that November, an event that kicked off the odyssey you are reading about right now.

I've written reviews and articles for many publications in the St. Louis area through the years, including Concert News, Esprit, Metro, Reverb, Jet Lag, the Riverfront Times, NoisyPaper (for which I served as Managing Editor for two years), Sauce and Playback:STL, a wonderful online entity that houses many of my significant writings at I've also contributed reviews to the Scandinavian music site It's a Trap, the ambient music site and I've completed a hefty book of poems and autobiographical writings titled SELF, which I may edit and try to actually SELF-publish. And I am working on a novel, with the working title SHAEMON, which is a combination horror/love story about an ethereal young woman named Sabine who is trying to solve a murder mystery via her deranged aunt.  And in 2008, I collaborated on an ambient and spoken word CD titled The Road to Olandra with Canadian soundscape artist John Sobocan; the disc was finally released in early 2011.

In Fall of 2008
I began playing gigs as “Kevin Renick and Friends” at a small restaurant in Webster Groves called the Grove Deli, an intimate little place with a living room-style vibe that proved perfect for my early performances. My musical compadres included lead guitarist Ned Watson (of the Blue Lemmings), vocalist Kathy Pour and multi-instrumentalist Ted Moniak, who ended up becoming my roommate and chief collaborator after moving to St. Louis from Seattle; Ted was my chosen companion for an eventful trip to Japan in early 2010 where we had the privilege of promoting Up In The Air on a Paramount/American Airlines junket.  Everything that happened due to UITA has been nothing less than astonishing, and I can hardly sum it up adequately. My dream for many years was to record my own songs, and while many different things interfered with this pursuit, in April 2010 I finally released my debut recording,  Close To Something Beautiful.  It followed the official soundtrack to the film Up In The Air, which I'm honored to share with my musical heroes/songwriting influences Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. In 2011, I released Come On Down, a 7-song EP that featured an unlikely collaboration with my junior high school crush Christa Juergens and a pivotal tune titled "Call It A Life" recorded with Grammy-nominated engineer Adam Long. Without taking much of a break, I dove right into a new project with Adam and another engineering whiz, Jacob Detering, that lasted throughout 2012. This became Under The Wishing Tree, a 16-track disc that features some songs I am truly proud of, including my second collaboration with Ms. Juergens ("There For My Life"), a tune written with Ted Moniak ("The Box It Comes In"), and some deeply personal, introspective songs like "Song of Longing," "Sad Song 217," and "Lost Time." The disc was released in December of 2012 and I'll be promoting it throughout the new year. I've also commenced work on another recording, Our Mother's Place, an album about grief and transition, as a tribute to my mother, Annabelle Renick.

Mom was my best friend and biggest supporter. She passed away in April 2009, and life has been different ever since. But surprises continue to mark my journey, and any time you're lucky enough to have devoted friends, or to meet cool, visionary artists like Jason Reitman, all things are possible...

MySpace Tracker
These are a few of my favorite things...

My favorite musical artists of all time:
The Beatles             R.E.M.
Neil Young              Radiohead
Brian Eno                Ephemera
Nick Drake              Wilco
Cocteau Twins       Simon & Garfunkel

Some favorite movies:

To Kill A Mockingbird          Sideways       
Walkabout                             Witness
Groundhog Day                   Taxi Driver
Field Of Dreams                   Dances With Wolves
Lord Of The Rings saga     Lucas

Some novels that influenced me:

To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter (Carson McCullers)
Stranger In A Strange Land (Robert Heinlein)
Lord Of The Flies (William Golding)
Tarzan Of The Apes (Edgar Rice Burroughs)

20 favorite or influential albums:
The Beatles - Revolver
The Beatles - The White Album
The Clash - Sandinista
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu
Danielson Famile - Tell Another Joke at the Ol Chopping Block
Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left
Brian Eno - On Land
Ephemera - Balloons and Champagne
Lisa Germano - Lullabye For Liquid Pig
Joni Mitchell - Hejira
Pete Namlook - Air 2
Pink Floyd - Meddle
Radiohead - OK Computer
R.E.M. - Automatic For The People
Simon and Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water
Talking Heads - Remain In Light
XTC - English Settlement
Yes - Fragile
Neil Young - After The Gold Rush
Neil Young - Harvest

Some random things I love:
Going to wineries
Time travel stories
Bird songs
Nature in general, especially wilderness
The smell of campfires
Ambient music
Long talks with friends, preferably in person
Viggo Mortensen (my favorite actor)
Trying to find the perfect rhyme when I write lyrics
Norway and Iceland...the culture, music, terrain, etc.
A starry night sky when viewed from the countryside
Monty Python's Flying Circus. They're the Beatles of comedy, really!
Dancing to the great tunes at almost any Brian Capps show
Falling snow, when you can see that it's gonna stick!

The Daily Show, i.e., Jon Stewart's wickedly topical comedy

When someone you love surprises you

The random people you meet on the road, when traveling by car...

Kevin's Official Biography

As the closing credits rolled in Jason Reitman's 2009 Paramount Pictures release UP IN THE AIR, starring George Clooney, many moviegoers wondered who was singing that high, breathy tune about uncertainty and indecision, a now classic song also titled "Up In The Air." The correct answer: Kevin Renick, a singer/songwriter whose stirring, autobiographical tune about the unpredictable and often anxiety-producing nature of life not only caused moviegoers to stay in their seats a few extra minutes at the end of Reitman’s Oscar-nominated film, it also appeared on the offiicial soundtrack to UITA alongside contributions from artists such as CSNY and Elliott Smith.  Renick also recorded a  fresh new studio version of the song for his debut full-length CD, Close To Something Beautiful, available on, and iTunes.

The story of "Up In The Air" reads as a serendipitous

alignment of stars for Renick, a St. Louis native--one that aspiring artists usually can only dream about. Renick is a passionate music lover previously known around his hometown as a freelance journalist who'd contributed countless album, film and concert reviews to publications such as Playback:STL, Sauce, The Riverfront Times and various online music hubs over the past three decades.  Renick’s talent as a songwriter, however, remained hidden from all except his close friends. In Fall of 2008, after an unexpected layoff from his long-standing proofreading job at a top ad agency, Renick was moved to take his secret musical dreams public. Guitar in hand, he began performing live for the first time at the tiny Grove Deli in suburban St. Louis, mainly to an audience of close friends and family members. The set lists consisted of covers by Neil Young, The Beatles, Bob Dylan and other iconic artists, as well as a handful of originals.

Only a few months later, in February 2009, Renick’s chance to meet director Jason Reitman at a college lecture provided him with the opportunity of a lifetime.  Renick handed Reitman a cassette tape featuring his original composition titled “Up in the Air” and told Reitman the story of his recent layoff.  After Reitman looked at the primitive format and wondered aloud where he would be able to listen to the cassette, Renick admits he left the encounter without a lot of expectations.  But thanks to Reitman’s unique diligence in seeking out a cassette player, the song – which echoed the movie's theme and aesthetic – would not only become the title track of Reitman's new movie, the version appearing in the film would be the same one Renick recorded in demo form, sitting on the couch in front of his old cassette recorder, specifically to give to Reitman. In Dec. 2009, Up In The Air was finally released in the U.S., with openings in other countries throughout 2010. What followed for Renick was a whirlwind of attention: appearances on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric and numerous TV programs in St. Louis; live hometown performances at the 2009 St. Louis Film Festival and the Songwriters Showcase in nearby Greenville, IL; a press junket to Japan with UITA actress Anna Kendrick co-sponsored by Paramount Pictures and American Airlines; and articles in the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, the Los Angeles Times, St. Louis Magazine, the Riverfront Times and many others. Blogs around the world upon Up In The Air's release buzzed with Oscar talk sparking debates over why the Oscar rules (that made Renick’s song ineligible for nomination) should be changed...

Renick launched a recording career following his song’s appearance on Rhino Records' Up in the Air soundtrack with a pair of self-released CDs: Close To Something Beautiful in 2010 and Come On Down in 2011. He also released a long-gestating ambient/spoken word collaboration with Canadian electronica artist John Sobocan, whose Eno-esque soundscapes proved the perfect complement to Renick's soft-spoken meditations on life, love and loss. That project, The Road To Olandra, was a crucial and influential stepping stone on Renick's creative journey. In late 2012, Renick released his fourth outing, Under The Wishing Tree, an ambitious song cycle that features "Ballad of the American Farmer," a song he'd been commissioned to write and record  for the upcoming James Roberson documentary about the history of American agribusiness, In the Interest of National Security.

Renick performs gigs regularly around St. Louis and neighboring cities, in both a coffee house singer-songwriter format either solo/duo, and as a 4-piece band. He has played at venues including the prestigious Sheldon Concert Hall, the Old Rock House, Blueberry Hill, Off Broadway, the Way Out Club, Vin de Set restaurant and others, and appeared as a featured performer at the Nashville Songwriter's Festival in June 2011. With Renick’s special ability to channel Neil Young, he also performs periodically in a Neil Young tribute act called Shakey Deal. And he has recorded a children's song called “Read A Book” about the joys of reading; this song was submitted to the American Library Association for consideration in their literacy campaigns. Having penned close to two hundred beautifully crafted songs, Renick has forged a singular aesthetic that captures the timeless themes of love, friendship, loss and leaving childhood behind.

MTV called Renick's journey "one of the best true-life success stories we've heard lately." The international film magazine Empire, published in the U.K., chose Renick's "Up in the Air" song as #5 on their list of "Best Movie Songs of 2010." Renick keeps in active touch with his fans through Facebook, Reverb Nation, YouTube and other online hubs. He hopes 2013 will be a pivotal year, and is busy making lists of goals and songs needing to be finished. Both lists keep getting longer and longer...


No matter where you go, there you are.
A. Nonymous
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