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The man behind the music

Football and classical romantic music, an unlikely pair of passions

Born into a family of musical influence, Job René, grew up touring the country with his dad’s reggae band, Phase 2. Continuing the family’s musical legacy, René plays both the piano, and cello skillfully as well as pursuing a music major at HSU.

“Music has been a part of me since childhood,” René said. “I started piano when I was six or seven and my dad’s a musician. He kind of said you’re playing music, I don’t care what you say, you’re playing.”

René continued playing the piano up until high school, deciding a break was best for himself.

“That’s when I said, I’m done with the piano for now,” René said. “I want to play sports, I want to do high school things.”

After quitting music, René played basketball and a year of football. With a lack of funding, the football program closed and René was pulled back into the world of music, where he decided this time he would learn a new instrument.

“I always wanted to continue to play music, that never went away,” René said. “What jump started it was in high school, around 10th grade I started playing the cello. A music program came to the school and I thought, I have to get back on this, this is a calling. I told myself I’m doing this and I’m learning a new instrument.”

Even though René went back to music and started learning a new instrument, he felt discouraged to pursue music as a major.

“There’s no money in music, I was set on broadening my horizons,” René said. “I did settle for a minor in piano because I knew I had to do something with music.”

René explored departments and opportunities outside of music to see what else he was interested in.

“I was undeclared for a good two and a half years,” René said. “At the end of that semester I changed my major to music and started that spring.”

René decided to embrace the musical aspect of his life and pursue it as a career.

“I am very happy with my music major,” René said. “I mainly play classical music, it’s what I was brought up on since I was seven. It’s really what I lean towards and I actually like it!”

René takes pride in his passion for romantic classical music, having dealt with judgements and push back over his preferred music choice in the past.

“My mom is my biggest supporter. She was really proud I was learning piano… It was the fact that she could see a future in it.”

Job René

“Me being a black person, I get it all the time,” René said. “Like, bruh, why are you listening to classical music? “I connect with it, it was destined for me to like [classical music].”

Regardless of the judgement, René continues. He said his biggest supporter keeps him motivated.

“My mom is my biggest supporter,” René said. “She was really proud I was learning piano. I was doing something that a lot of other kids weren’t really doing. It was the fact that she could see a future in it.”

Mae René, lives 13 hours south of her son in Los Angeles, but still takes time off work and drives to see every recital.

“I try to be a supportive parent in the audience,” Mae René said. “To me, it’s not a 13 hour drive, it’s me seeing my child.”

Mae René has trusted her son’s music abilities since a young age and saw a future for him in it early.

“He picked up music right away,” Mae René said. “To be honest, I wanted him to be a music major from the beginning but I allowed him to step out, and now he knows, mom knows best!”

Mae René isn’t the only supporter in the audience, fellow Brothers United members also strive to support René.

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Brandin Thomas (left) and Ronald Taylor (right) stand in front of Brothers United table in the HSU quad. | Photo by Grace Caswell

Ronald Taylor, a third year kinesiology major, and fellow member of BU, described his first experience watching René perform.

“I went to one recital at the end of last year,” Taylor said. “It was really nice, he did well, no mess ups.”

Bradin Thomas, a fourth year kinesiology major and member of BU, is a fan of René’s romantic classical music interest.

“It’s nice,” Thomas said. “I like his music, it soothes you.”

With support from friends and family, René embraces his musical interest more seriously, and is considering sharing his interest with young kids.

“If I have to stop music, it’d be like taking a piece of my soul.”

Job René

“Right now, I’m taking a pedagogy class that teaches you how to start your own business,” René said. “Like how to start your piano studio and teach students how to play piano.”

Wanting to share his musical interest, René emphasizes the impact music has had on his life.

“If I have to stop music, it’d be like taking a piece of my soul,” René said.

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