Kingston University alumnus Samuele Rendina, 22, is keen to share his musical talent with the wider world.
Rendina was doing just that as he busked outside the Bentall Centre towards the end of last year. People fumbled for their phones to capture the sound of his voice as he sang Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’ and Kings of Leon’s ‘Use Somebody’.
The half-Italian, half-Ethiopian singer now lives in Surbiton after moving to the area to study three years ago. In November, Rendina signed his first major publishing deal with Universal Music Group.
Seated with his headphones resting around his neck and a coffee at hand, he elaborated on his love for music and his first single ‘Flowers’.
Recalling how the chords and melody fell into place naturally he said: ”There is no story behind it. People think it’s about a girl, but I wrote it during exams and I was channelling that stress.”
Rendina’s first instrument was the piano. He said regular practice was essential. ”The work ethic, consistency is key.”
Michael Jackson, Prince and Stevie Wonder are amongst his musical influences. He praised not only their vocals but composition, identifying the 80s as a source of inspiration.
Rendina also appeared to be in awe of the musicality of Bruno Mars, intrigued by the fact that he grew up surrounded by musically gifted family members. Without much hesitation, he named Bruno Mars as the artist he views as the ideal collaboration.
Asked what song he wished he had written himself, Rendina struggled to choose. Snow Patrol’s ‘Chasing Cars’, Michael Jackson’s ‘Rock With You’ and ‘Purple Rain’ by Prince were all mentioned.
‘Chasing Cars’ is his favourite cover to perform. ”It resonates with me and it really resonates with people. Let’s waste time, chasing cars,” he said, contemplative as he praised the simplicity of the melody and the simplicity of a message which speaks to overcoming distractions, getting caught up in studying and working without particular regard for our surroundings.
Rendina is already putting his thoughtful approach into practice. He once documented his encounter with Raul, a homeless member of the public, in an Instagram post. He used his vocal ability to draw attention towards Raul who was being ignored by the public.
He wrote: ”Buskers get ignored most of the time but homeless people endure that even more. Sometimes people just need to know you care, even if you can’t spare any change, just some acknowledgement can make their day that bit better.”
‘Social media makes a huge difference’
Rendina reassured musicians who are nervous about sharing their talent and gaining exposure. He emphasised the impact of social media platforms which allow people to follow his journey and interact with him. He said: ”Social media makes a huge difference when utilised in the right way.”
He highlighted the way that successful musicians we listen to are active in their use of social media. He noted that often there are people assigned the task of updating social media on behalf of these musicians, reinforcing the importance of maintaining an online presence.
When asked about his hopes and plans for the future, there was no focus on the attention or fame that he could potentially receive. Rendina’s answer was the answer expected of a dedicated musician in pursuit of his passion.
There was a look of determination in his eyes, but the smile remained. ”I wouldn’t call it a hope, I would call it a goal,” he said, ahead of a studio session booked for that afternoon. “To keep progressing.”