renforshort Talks “nostalgic (luvsick)” Music Video, Quarantine, and More
The up and coming 18-year-old popstar from Toronto dropped a music video to go with her new single, “nostalgic (luvsick),” today.
For many freshly 18-year-olds in the music industry, pop stardom is the dream: the idea of being a Spotify superstar, the artist who everyone at the party is Shazam-ing when the DJ plays their song on aux. For emerging singer-songwriter renforshort, also known as Toronto-native Lauren Isenberg, pop stardom is the destination of the road she’s traveling on.
The magnetic, rising artist dropped her latest single, “nostalgic (luvsick)” last Wednesday, followed by the release of the music video today. Like the artist herself, the song and the video are unique, energetic, full of unrepressed charisma in a sweet, adolescent pop anthem.
Since she started putting out music with the release of a few singles in 2019, the prodigious renforshort has put her signature on smooth-flowing, hypnotic vocals and relatable, catchy alt-pop lyricism. Her debut EP, teenage angst, was released in March via Interscope Records, followed by her single “fuck, i luv my friends” which dropped in July to a staggering 2 million plus global streams.
Here, the 18-year-old talks the “nostalgic (luvsick)” music video, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, quarantine, and romanticization (specifically, of romances). Read below for the full interview and listen to renforshort’s new single “nostalgic (luvsick).”
V MAGAZINE What have you been up to lately?
REN I’ve kind of just been doing all this stuff around “nostalgic.” We’ve been waiting for the release for a really long time! I moved cities for a bit, to Montreal. It’s like 5 hours away from Toronto but I just needed a different location because I was like, I can’t stay in my room. So I was there for a bit, and I’ve probably just been doing that stuff, not much else to be honest.
V Tell me about “nostalgic (luvsick).” What was the process of writing and recording it like, and shooting the music video?
R The process of writing it was kind of tedious, more tedious than any other song I’ve done, just because we knew that there was so much potential in the song but it wasn’t there yet. Writing-wise, production-wise, kind of everything. So we worked on it for like—I wrote it probably last year, and we worked on it until May or June of this year, until we were sure it was perfect. There were—I don’t even know how many drafts there were, there were so many. It has never taken so long to get a song complete before, for me.
V What do you think was different about this song?
R It’s just, I think we set the bar really high for what the song could be, and so we were just trying to achieve that. And, you know, there were people in different areas that weren’t happy with it, so also making a compromise. I brought a bunch of people in from outside of the project just to get their advice on it, because we had all listened to it so many times. And the outsider perspective was like…we had to go back and change it again because it’s not right yet. We didn’t know what needed to change because we’d all heard it so many times, it was really difficult in that sense. I think that’s why it was really hard.
V So I saw the music video, which is going to be released on Wednesday, and it was super unique. What inspired the aesthetic of that?
R Basically the entire song is inspired by Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. I really wanted to capture Edgar Wright’s style, it’s kind of like the very quick and comic book-y style, because Scott Pilgrim is derived from a comic book. It’s just cool to have all the band shit, like the music stuff, but also the comic book world I think is really cool. I kind of play a couple of characters [in the music video], I play Scott and at the end I’m dressed up kind of like Envy Adams, who’s Scott’s ex-girlfriend, so it’s kind of a weird story there, but I’m not 100% a male manipulator, which is really cool. [laughs] The fast cuts of it and the animations were inspired by Wright’s Scott Pilgrim, ’cause I love it.
V It’s such a good movie! Would you say the male character in the music video is like Ramona?
R Yes, exactly!
V I love that. So, what do you want listeners to take away when they watch the music video, or even just hear the song without any visuals?
R For me, the song isn’t about bashing another person, which is very rare for me. Normally I’m out there, like, bashing a guy or whoever, for just being mean—or, in my eyes mean. But this one is reminiscing on past experiences and romanticizing the good things rather than the bad things, which I think is really important, because a lot of people like to romanticize bad things now. So I think that going back and thinking of the good memories is what the song is about. I want people to take that away and focus on the good things.
V The lyrics of the song are really intimate and personal, and like you said, very romanticizing of your past relationships. But the sound of the song doesn’t feel sad to me at all—it’s super upbeat, it’s happy, it makes me want to dance with my friends. Can you talk about the difference—the dynamic between what you’re saying and how you decided to record it and put out that message?
R The song, to me, is very “in parts.” The verse is very different from the pre, and the pre is very different from the chorus, and I think that the entire thing sonically is such a juxtaposition to the song lyrically. I think that the jarring and different parts of the song really help the listener focus, and just focus on the lyrics and everything. It just doesn’t get boring, or for me, it feels like it can’t be boring because there’s just so many elements to all the different parts and it’s never really the same. So I feel like it keeps you kind of going, it’s really cool.
V It’s definitely not a boring song, in my opinion. You talked about the influence that Edgar Wright had on the music video, and the sound is kind of glittery-pop, kind of alternative, and kind of electronic. What inspires you as an artist to combine all these things and produce music with all of these different elements?
R I have a very ambiguous music taste. I listen to everything, basically, except I don’t really dabble in country, it’s just like a “me” thing. Kind of not having to conform to one style of music is really a big factor in my stuff, because that’s kind of boring to me and I don’t want to feel held down by one thing, so being able to combine a bunch of different [styles]. For me, the beginning of the song is pop, it’s just straight pop. Then in the chorus its kind of rock-y, cool, kind of EDM. EDM rock, if that even exists? [laughs] But it’s cool! I don’t even know how I’d categorize the song because there’s so many elements. I don’t really have a particular style, I kind of like to do a lot of things. Obviously there are limits so it’s not super confusing, though.
V Can you talk a little bit about the feeling of nostalgia and missing someone? I feel like missing someone is something so many people can connect with right now, what with quarantine and lockdown.
R I wrote the song kind of channeling me if I were to break up with my boyfriend, so I went to that place and pretended that I was broken up with him. And it made me really get into like, “this is the ultimate version of me missing someone.” I wrote this a while before quarantine, but I realize now—I was saying this too, when I did a zoom performance, all my friends left for school and I’m not gonna see them for a while, and its also messy because I can’t visit them and whatever because of corona. Miss Corona! [laughs] So I feel like the song can be very relevant to that as well, it’s not necessarily about having a significant other, it can be just about drifting away or the anticipation of that from friends. I was kind of bummed performing it that day because I was like, aw frick, I miss my friends so much! It was kind of sad.
V You’ve released plenty of new music in 2020, including an EP. Should we expect another EP from you, or even an album, soon?
R For now, our plan is an album at the beginning of 2021. We’ll see how that goes, we’ve gotta figure that out, but I am getting into album mode now.
V Are the singles you’ve released so far going to be part of the album?
R They’re just going to live in their own world, I think. It’s kind of a weird setup we have right now. [laughs]
V Your other single, “fuck, i luv my friends,” Rolling Stone called “the perfect piece of quarantine pining.” Would you say that could also apply to “nostalgia (luvsick)”?
R I would. The only difference is, I wrote “fuck, i luv my friends” in quarantine, but I don’t think that makes a big difference. I think that this is definitely relevant for quarantine as well. Just put whoever you want in the other box, and it applies to so many different scenarios, I think.
V Exactly. Alright, I have one last, kind of fun question for you…what’s your absolute favorite thing to do during downtime in the studio?
R Ooh. We always go, when we have downtime, we go get a coffee. Or we go to the Humane Society to see puppies. We kind of go on little adventures which is fun, me and Jeff, the producer. We go on adventures, that’s what we do, or we order poke or sushi. Like, strictly poke or sushi.