Creator’s Corner: Tracee Reynaud—Singer/Songwriter
By Shelah Moody
From New Orleans to Hollywood, Tracee Reynaud’s life has been an amazing journey. Reynaud, a single mother, and activist, survived poverty and homelessness and rose from her disparity through hard work, determination, and the healing power of music. At one point, she began collaborating with the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson. Reynaud recently shared her new song, “Wake Up,” some highlights from her journey and secrets of success with Streetwise Radio.
Streetwise Radio: Tell us about your background and what brought you from Louisiana to Southern California?
Tracee Reynaud: I was born and raised in New Orleans, LA, the jazz capital of the world. I come from a very large family of 12 brothers and sisters. Some of us had a lot of hopes and dreams. In a small town, it was limited to us. I started out in my hometown performing in hospitals for terminally ill children and schools as a motivational speaker from city to city. That was a joy, seeing the kids' faces light up. I love giving back. I would compete in talent shows, winning every contest I entered. Use the money for travel and I brought gifts to distribute to the kids in the hospital. I was able to do that impersonating Michael Jackson. Everywhere I would perform, the crowd loved it! I wanted to do more with my talent, so I asked my aunt and uncle who lived in California if I could move in with them and they agreed, so I was Cali bound at age 13. That was the best thing that ever happened to me at 13 years old; moving to LA and going after my dreams.
Streetwise Radio: What were your first impressions of Southern California and its music scene?
Tracee Reynaud: It felt like the land of opportunity it was great being in a city that was so diverse. The music scene broadened for me and I was open to new adventures. I was introduced to a lot of different styles of music that inspired me to get to where I am today.
Streetwise Radio: Tell us about some of the songs you’ve written and recorded.
Tracee Reynaud: The first song I’d ever written was the song that I wrote for my daughter, who at the time was four years old. Titled “Giovanna,” It was a love song to my daughter; people everywhere just loved it and I adore that song. I worked on a song called “I am Somebody” with my brother Jeffrey. “I am Somebody” is a very encouraging song. I wrote it to inspire people. “I am Somebody” is one of my favorite songs;, it needs to be heard today. “Nuvision” I wrote because I wanted to see a new vision for the children, a new vision for myself, a new vision for single moms who are struggling, and a new vision for the homeless. A new vision for the frail elderly; those who have no place to call their home; my heart goes out to them. “Judging Me,” I wrote after seeing how the tabloids would publish fake stories about Michael Jackson just to sell their papers. I wanted my listeners to hear the lyrics and stop and think that this man, Michael Jackson, was a human being just like you and I and to turn all that negativity into something positive; that’s what he was about. “I Feel the Spirit of Love” is a beautiful love song about falling in love. When someone falls in love with your inner beauty more than your outer beauty, now that’s true love. In 2005, my hometown was hit by Hurricane Katrina and I wrote a song entitled “Do You Feel What I’m Feeling.” I had to give back. It’s a heartfelt song that touched a lot of lives. I was able to donate my time to different fundraisers, performing the song. It was very rewarding! My latest song is called “Wake Up.” I wrote it because I want to see a change for all humankind. I want people to be able to listen to my song and be enlightened and inspired and to help make a difference which is so needed today! I started working on a new spin, which is inspirational gospel music. I just completed two gospel songs, “Hope of Glory” and “My Trust is in God.” With all my songs, my hope and desire are to encourage people and inspire them. My hope and dream are that I am given the chance to be heard.
Streetwise Radio: How would you describe your style of music?
Tracee Reynaud: My style of music is very soulful and motivating. When I write, I put my heart and soul in every song because I want the listeners to be able to feel what I’m feeling and to touch their hearts and inspire my listeners.
Streetwise Radio: Tell us how you came to meet Michael Jackson and how he impacted your life and music.
Tracee Reynaud: I met Michael Jackson when I was 17 years old In Encino, CA. I had a nanny job in Encino, I was on my way to work in the morning and Micheal was driving down the hill and I was headed up the hill he saw me and stopped to pull over and he said to me: “I know who you are! I want to thank you for all that you’re doing helping the children.” Somehow, he had heard about me impersonating him at children’s hospitals, schools, and convalescent hospitals. I was in a lot of newspaper articles because of all the charity work that I was doing We talked for a while. He wanted to see my photo album of all the places that I have entertained. Michael Jackson was one of the kindest individuals I’ve ever met. He would also give me gifts to give to the kids in the hospital and schools, like autographs and other items. I had the opportunity to visit Neverland ranch many times. I also was able to invite as many people as I liked and he made sure that they were treated very well. He truly inspired me, not because of his fame and fortune, but because of his compassion for people and his wanting to make a difference in this world. That’s what I want to do today, continue to strive to make a difference; writing music to help bring about a change, and to uplift people of all races and creeds with my gift.
Streetwise Radio: What did you discover about Michael Jackson that most people did not know?
Tracee Reynaud: Michael was humble. He was one of the biggest entertainers of all time and I’ve seen him shop at the thrift store in our hometown at times, haha.
Streetwise Radio: Tell us about your new song “Wake Up” and how you are using your music to create a healing space during the current pandemic and social unrest.
Tracee Reynaud: “Wake Up” is about bringing awareness to the need for change. I want people to not only listen to the lyrics but understand the deeper meaning behind them. Music is universal and the message is about love and unity and I feel that is what people need during these hard times.
Streetwise Radio: As an artist, what inspires you to create?
Tracee Reynaud: There are a couple things that have inspired me to create as an artist. First would be from the influences of other artists such as Michael Jackson, Arthea Franklin, Andrea Bocelli, Whitney Houston, Patti Labelle, Diana Ross, Celine Dion and so many more. Another inspiration would be my experiences in life and what has shaped me as the person I am today. I always had to work extremely hard for the things that I wanted and have been through so much in life and I feel like so many others can relate to what I have been through as well and know that you should never give up. Music is one language of universal love. My music is about triumph over life’s painful experiences and overcoming life struggles and challenges.
You can listen to the music here on Streetwise Radio and download her music on YouTube and other streaming services:
“Do You Feel What I am Feeling”
“My Trust is in God”
“Hope of Glory”
And then look up my name on streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music.