“Hi, Ren” Examined (Pt. 1: The Overview)
Note: The following is the first of a three-post series I plan to publish over the next three weeks digging into the online phenomenon of the song “Hi, Ren” and its creator, Ren Gill. This post is an introduction to Ren, with an overview of the reasons I think this deep dive is necessary. Those reasons include: the cultural impact of Ren, especially in bringing people together through the Reaction Video phenomenon; his authentic, vulnerable storytelling that deals with various health challenges; and his exploration of deep psychological, and spiritual issues that every human faces. Future posts will go into each of these reasons in more detail.
Introducing Ren: A Galaxy-Heart, Empathetic Genius
When I was in high school in the late 1980s and obsessed with horror fiction, especially Stephen King, I remember browsing the horror section of a bookstore and seeing a blurb on a book that read: “I have seen the future of horror and its name is Clive Barker.”
Over-the-top? Indeed. But I did buy that book, Hellraiser, and Barker was, indeed, a supremely talented writer with an extraordinary imagination.
Well, as a music connoisseur, today I’m aping that blurb to say, “I have seen the future of music and its name is Ren.”
Specifically, Ren Gill. He’s the following and so much more: a British singer-songwriter and rapper; a phenomenal guitarist; a writer of ingenious rhymes, perfectly-timed beats, and theatrical lyrics; a musical bard and a storytelling genius; a deep Soul diver and Lyme’s Disease survivor who has been through the wringer; and a singer of emotional range from the highest joys to the most crushing pains.
In some of the online worlds I inhabit, there is the concept of “galaxy-brain thinkers” such as Daniel Schmachtenberger and Jamie Wheal who are doing important work to help us make sense of our world mostly through the intellect.
For Ren, I’d like to coin a phrase: “galaxy-heart performer.” Ren uses his musical talent and skill, and his lyrical, musical, and visual storytelling to engage the listener as he fully inhabits wide-ranging characters from a place of…