Rena Lovelis is an American singer and bassist who is currently affiliated with the Los-Angeles based pop-rock group Hey Violet. The daughters of musician parents, Rena and her older sister, Nia, grew up enthralled by both music and the performing arts. In 2008, they got together with a few others to form the all-girl, hard-rock group ‘Cherri Bomb’. Subsequently, they signed with Hollywood Records and released their debut extended play ‘Stark’ in October 2011. After Julie Pierce, their frontwoman, left the brand in 2013, they rebranded themselves as Hey Violet. Their music changed significantly as well. With Rena as the new frontwoman, the group released their new studio album ‘From the Outside’ in 2017. Rena and her band have opened for the likes of Chelsea Girls, Camp Freddie, Filter at the Roxy, and Foo Fighters, the last of whom Rena cites as one of her biggest inspirations. In 2016, the group won the Teen Choice Award for Choice Music: Next Big Thing.
In 2008, while all the girls were still in middle school, singer and guitarist Julia Pierce brought together Rena (bass and backup vocals), Nia (drums, percussion, and backup vocals), and Miranda Miller (rhythm guitar, keyboards, and backup vocals) to form the hard rock group Cherri Bomb. The unique name of the group came from ‘Cherry Bomb – The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Better Flirt, a Tougher Chick, and a Hotter Girlfriend, and to Living Life Like a Rock Star’, a self-help book by American music and entertainment journalist and author Carrie Borzillo.
The group landed a lucrative contract with Hollywood Records, which was signed on June 14, 2011. Four months later, on 18 October, they released their debut EP ‘Stark’. Soon, they found a loyal audience. The group opened for popular groups such as Bush, Camp Freddy, Filter, Foo Fighters, The Smashing Pumpkins, Staind, and Steel Panther. They also got the opportunity to be featured at several European music festivals, including Sonisphere, Reading and Leeds Festivals, and T in the Park in Scotland. At the Oxygen festival in Ireland, they were the youngest group to make an appearance.
On May 15, 2012, Cherri Bomb put out their first studio album, ‘This Is the End of Control’, which reached #24 on the Billboard's Top Hard Rock Albums chart and #11 on the Top Heatseekers chart. They received praise for their music. Some critics even lauded them for revitalising hard rock.
Following Pierce’s departure from the group in January 2013, Cherri Bomb rebranded themselves as Hey Violet. Rena took over as the frontwoman and guitarist Casey Moreta was brought in as a temporary member. He was asked to formally join the group on March 9, 2013, while they were performing on stage.
During this period, the group parted ways with Hollywood Records. They drastically and consciously changed their music as well, becoming essentially a pop-rock band. On March 19, 2015, Hey Violet released their new single ‘This Is Why’. Five days later, the news of the group’s signing with Hi or Hey Records, a record label created by 5 Seconds of Summer in partnership with Capitol Records, was made public.
On July 17, 2015, their first EP as Hey Violet and second EP overall was released. Titled ‘I Can Feel It’, the album reached #2 on the Top Heatseekers chart. With Rena being the group’s new lead singer, they desperately needed a new bassist. During the 2016 Sounds Live Feels Live World Tour, a new bassist named Iain Shipp was introduced to the fans and he became a permanent member in September 2016.
They released another EP, ‘Brand New Moves’, on August 16, 2016. Rena and her group’s most recent album ‘From the Outside’ claimed the #2 spot on the Top Heatseekers chart. In August 2017, Miller left, citing the group’s gruelling touring schedule as the reason.
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Controversies & Scandals
The split between Hey Violet and their former lead singer, Julia Pierce, was not an amicable one. In a Facebook post and later interviews, Pierce had stated that she did not leave the group willingly.
Rena Lovelis was born Pyrena Lucrezia Morze Enea on April 6, 1998 in New York and was raised in the Orangetown area. Her mother, Stacy Morze (better known as Ana Lovelis), is a musician and actress, who is best known for portraying Grace “Lambchops” Lamb in a production of ‘Fame’ and for being the drummer for post-punk groups like Uke til U Puke. Her father is a touring keyboard technician and studio builder. Rena is a year younger than Nia, whose real name is Szatania Angelika Morze Enea. She is of mixed German, Italian, Polish, and Russian descent.
She grew up in a musical, artistic environment and developed a deep love for music. She learned the intricacies of a bass guitar and the first song she played on the instrument was Green Day’s ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’. Her aspiration of becoming a professional musician was fully supported by her parents.