A year and a half ago, singer-songwriter René Moffatt had never performed in public, but on February 1, 2009, he'll be featured at the legendary Bitter End in New York City.
An indication of talent? Perhaps. A result of intense dedication to his craft? Most definitely. His memorable song "Here And Now Is Home" was featured on the Modern Times Coffeehouse Compilation. He's also been the featured artist at both Modern Times Coffeehouse (D.C.) and IOTA Club and Cafe (Arlington, VA). Spring of 2009 will see the release of his debut EP.
A constant figure on the D.C. area's open mic scene, René has worked tirelessly on honing his performing and song writing skills. With a penchant for memorable melodies and insightful lyrics, this up-and-coming songster is quickly making a name for himself as a respected singer and song-writer in the nation's capital. René's music can be heard at both IOTA and Modern Times Coffeehouse on a weekly basis.
But where did he come from? How did he get here? Who is he?
Growing up in the absurdly normal town of Wichita Falls, Texas (Advertising Age coined it the most average town in the country), René spent his youth on soccer and baseball fields. "You know that movie The Sandlot, that's what my summers were like," he notes.
Sports would end up playing a major role in René's life: "I wanted to play professional soccer and ended up playing three years at the collegiate level."
By this point, you might be asking, where's the music?
It was there all along. While most kids were playing video games, René was digging through his parents record collection, creating music with his friends, and being influenced by likes of Pet Sounds, Simon & Garfunkel, Billy Joel, and of course, the Beatles.
But a VHS of Jackson Browne's Coming Home was a definite turning point. The tape was given to him by his uncle, a musician in his own right, and it played a huge role in René's approach to writing introspective lyrics and beautiful melodies like the fable-esque "Demons On Your Sleeve".
Those early years of formal and informal music training were to be the foundation of a pursuit that wouldn't resurface until almost 10 years later.
René attended two different schools on the East Coast where being a college athlete took priority over everything. But he always found a way of creating music by sneaking into the practice rooms of the piano department to hammer away on various melodies. He'd write a song here and there but would never consider his music a primary pursuit.
Playing Catch Up
After returning home to finish his degree in Texas René found a job as an interactive designer back on the East Coast. A year of the 9 to 5 made him realize that personal expression was his true calling. So he picked up a guitar and just started playing. But it was a move to D.C in early 2006 that propelled him into his own as an artist. Lessons at the Levine School of Music shored up his guitar skills and within eight months he began performing in public. Countless open mics, a handful of shows, and hours of practice have ensued. It's safe to say René is trying to catch up. But if the pace of his musical accomplishments say anything, it's that he's bound to do something big with his new found old love.