Artist Spotlight: REYNA

Electronic indie pop sister-duo REYNA headlined the 88Nine Radio Milwaukee Awards/Backline Showcase at Turner Hall Saturday night. It had been their final show of the year, although they are gearing up for one hell of a 2020.

REYNA is Victoria and Gabby Banuelos, originally known as the act Vic and Gab. The word “reyna” is a play on the Spanish word for “queen,” which the duo have been using as their moniker since 2016.

“We’ve been playing together since I was eleven,” Gabby said. “When we watched the movie School of Rock I remember really wanting to be like the bass player girl – I was obsessed with her, like to this day I follow her on Instagram. After that we started writing songs.”

The sisters dropped a single this past summer called “The Way I Loved You.”

“It’s about your first love and how you give everything, because it’s brand new and it’s a new feeling and you’re not scared of it,” Vic explained. “You’re kind of just all in but then you get hurt, and you’re scared to love again the way you loved that person. You’re guarding your heart and being careful…like you’re always hesitant to just give everything. This song really just says I wanna love somebody like I loved you.”

“I think it’s impossible to do that,” Gabby added. “I feel like once you have a big relationship that goes to shit, you’re not ever really the same. Everyone can relate. When we were in the studio we were talking about that, and everyone there said they could.”

Just a couple weeks ago they dropped another single, “Clueless.”

“So I’m in a relationship with someone that’s older than me and I always feel like he has his shit so together,” Gabby explained. “He’s just so smart and put-together, and I feel like I’m clueless….but it’s also saying that you know who I am and love me anyway, and I love myself. It’s like an ode to self. This is me – I deserve love – love me back.”

They explain what their content will look like in months to come.

“We played our new acoustic song tonight; it’s called “Let Go For Dear Life,” and we’re releasing that in February,” Vic mentioned. “January we’re releasing a song called “Saw You With Somebody Else” … we’re releasing a song every month.”

“We’re keeping busy,” Gabby said. “We’ve recently gotten very involved in the video process, so there’s gonna be a lot of that coming too.”

“All the visuals…and the feels,” Vic added.

Vic and Gabby talk about how much the Backline program has impacted them.

“It gave us a lot of knowledge,” Vic said. “Both personally and professionally, I think it gave us tools. We didn’t know what those tools were and now we have a name for them. It makes it so much easier to actually put them to work. We’ve learned how to execute things that we were doing but we didn’t know we were doing them, so now we know exactly what we need to know. It’s made us smart with how we release music, how we put it out, and every aspect of being an artist.”

“There’s a part of Backline that deals with mental health,” Gabby said. “Every week there’s a group where we get together with all the artists and there’s a therapist involved, and that completely changed my life. Fighting for your dreams and being in this finger-quote industry is really hard and it really gets you down sometimes. Having the knowledge and the tools to know how to deal with and navigate that is fucking amazing, and I think Backline is so amazing for including that part of the program. It creates more of a community with the artists – we all go through the same thing when we’re in that room together and we cry and laugh. You just get to know them as a family, and that is amazing.”

REYNA has written over twenty songs this year and is focusing on getting them all out. They have a session in LA next month and will be releasing an EP in March.

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