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The best kept secret in music


Renata has one their first Hartford Advoacate Band Slam after three years together as a group. Their music is like Matchbox 20 meets U2, alternative pop. Renata's CD, She Walked With Kings, is available at most local retail stores. They are in the studio right now recording a new CD, and have been gigging consistently in New York and Boston. - Hartford Advocate


Renata's music is alternative pop with a heavy rock influence. As a two-year winner, Renata's biggest goal now is to write great songs and gear themselves toward making arena rock. Last January they released four-song EP called R, showcasing their new music. It's not as slow and melancholy as their previous CD. Look for Renata gigging around the tri-state area. On Aug. 10, the band will be headlining at the Lion's Den in NYC. For getting on the bus call, (860) 745-4123. On Aug 11, they will be headlining the Taste of Northampton.

Best Male Vocalist - Kurtis Henneberry (Renata)

Kurtis Henneberry started singing when he began to play guitar as a 9-year old. In elementary school he sang in the choir and joined Voices Incorporated, a singing group out of Enfield. He started to write his own songs and he and his friend Mike Nadeau decided to play together. Since Nadeu was better on guitar, they decided Henneberry would do the singing. They also figured they needed a band. Renata, formed while they were all in high school, is the result. The writing of the music is a group compilation with most of the lyrics and melody coming from Henneberry. "I write a song on my piano and when I bring it to rehearsal it goes places where I wouldn't have thought to take it," he says. - Hartford Advocate

(News: Cover) Kurtis Henneberry - guitar, lead vocals, piano Anton Yorach - vocals, guitar, samples, harmonica Mike Nadeau - lead guitar, vocals John O'Leary - drums, percussion Leif Christensen - bass Renata seals their status as more than just a bunch of pretty young faces this year with their third consecutive Band Slam win.  by Rachel Reynolds<br><br>Best Male Vocalist 2003<br>Kurtis Henneberry (renata)<br><br>Kurtis Henneberry has everything it takes to succeed as the frontman to a pop rock band: brooding good looks, an air of mystery, and a voice that runs the gamut of emotions.  by Rachel Reynolds - Hartford Advocate

Alternative pop band Renata will be performing at Bill’s Bar in Boston tonight. The Hartford, CT based quintet has enjoyed a steady rise in popularity from playing gigs at empty clubs to recently performing in front of 7,000 people while opening for Avril Lavigne.

Renata began in 1997 when a group of high school friends decided to embark on a musical endeavor. Lead singer Kurtis Henneberry began writing music with guitarist Mike Nadeau and eventually called on the skills of percussionist John O’Leary. At first the band took on a very unplugged sound, falling somewhere along the lines of Guster. Renata began developing themselves however, bringing in two new members and expanding upon their sound, allowing themselves more room for creativity.

The band is currently in the studio working on their next album, while recently releasing a four-song EP, “r.” Their music has appeared in television programs like Dawson’s Creek and MTV’s Undressed, while also finding its way onto regional radio, both commercial and college. Recently the band received a national sponsorship with Budweiser, a partnership that will surely bring the band even more exposure. In fact, as time goes on, the band continues to feel more confident that they will reach success, yet fame isn’t their top priority.

“We were never really sure that we could do this as a real career,” said O’Leary in a recent phone interview. “I’d say our goals are pretty consistent and across the board. Mostly everyone just wants to live with a career in music. If it’s very successful, that’s awesome, but if we’re able to have a career doing it…that’s good too.”

Renata will continue to write new material as the months go on and they hope to have their album completed by September. With major labels beginning to circle them like sharks, the new album will act as a calling card to a possible record deal.

- The Sun Chronicle - Boston, MA

Monday: With several hits under her belt - "complicated," "Sk8er boi" and "I'm with you" - Canadian-born Avril Lavigne has established herself as a musician to watch. But unlike other young female singers who have topped the charts lately - Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, for example- Lavigne doesn't rely on barely there outfits and choreographed dance moves to sell her music. Her voice, capable of capturing the nuances of a soulful ballad or propelling an up-tempo track, does it for her.

Star maker Antonio "LA" Reid is executive producer for her debut album, "Lets Go"

Lavigne joins Renata for a concert Monday night at the Connecticut Expo Center; 265 Reverend Moody Overpass, Hartford(near the Meadows Music Centre). Tickets are $17.50; the doors open at 7pm. The concert is sponsored by WTIC-FM (96.5). Tickets 860-422-0000 or - Hartford Courant

The local band Renata has been creating a buzz on the campus of Central Connecticut State University for some time. Their following has now spread from local venues, to popular New England Clubs, and even to New York City; they are hoping to put Connecticut on the map of musical success.

Renata's road is only beginning, yet they have managed to accomplish things that other local bands haven't. They are not an overnight success. The band has learned that in order to attract label's interest, stamina and hard work must play a major role.

"You don't make a lot of money doing it, but you gotta keep everything in a good motion and keep on pushing," said guitarist and harmonica player Anton Yurack.

The members of Renata met during high school. Mike Nadeu and Kurtis Henneberry had been playing in a band called haze since late 1994. They got drummer John O'leary from another high school band, Phantom Caravan. In 1996, the band auditioned and picked up Leif Christensen as their bass player.

In 1997 Renata played their first gig at Common Grounds Coffeehouse in Enfield. Their opening act was Heather Hickson, now a photographer for the band. Among the fans in the crowd at Common Grounds that night, was Anton Yurack.

"We saw him jumping around,"said O'leary.

He was really into the music and he wanted to join. Before long he was singing back-up vocals, and playing harmonica and guitar for the band. The band changed their name one more time in 1998, and became Renata.

Renata's name was taken from a waitress at a local restaurant. After releasing their first CD, the boys went back to the restaurant to find her, but she had left the job.

With the support of their families, they rehearsed in Henneberry's basement and had been given a loan from nadeu's parents. Christmas and birthday's were all about music equipment and money for the band.

Almost five years later the band has played all over Connecticut in places like, The Webster Theatre, Toad's Place, The Madison Arts Barn, Equator Coffee, and bourbon street. They have also played smaller venues like Borders Books and Music, Media Play, and Sam Goody record stores -- promoting their CD's which can be found across the state. After the creation of their first CD, the band had been searching for guidance. Rick Clair, founder of Essential Group Management, happened to hear the band's CD, and was at one of their early shows. Essential Group Management pursued the band, and since, has been showing them how to move up in the music world, which has proven to be a lot more work than previously anticipated. Clair, who once worked for Universal Records invests time by setting up gigs for the band, and found someone to create the band's elaborate website. He sets up radio show interviews, and markets the band. "Its been baby steps," said Yurack.

They have been practicing and getting as much press as possible. The band is now ready to sit down with a label and work on a contract.

Renata has been compared by critics to U2, Matchbox 20, and Counting Crows. But all of their music is original. They do play an occasional cover song at certain concerts depending on what the audience demands. henneberry writes the majority of lyrics. The other members help out and contribute to the music. All members write their own parts.

Most of the songs Renata performs come from Henneberry's feelings about friends through certain experiences but others are autobiographical, and very personal.

The band is influenced by U2, and they strive to put on a theatrical show where the fans learn and sing along with their songs. Unlike U2, however Renata is not political. They have played at events such as Unify The People at CCSU, and have placed the American Flag on their T-shirts, but for now they have been concentrating on putting on a great show, rather than getting on a soap box.

In 2001, Renata was voted Best Original Band from The Hartford Advocate reader's poll.

"I never thought in a million years we'd be in this position," said Yurack. "Practicing twice a week has really paid off."

After this summer Renata will be a full time job for all the members. They have been getting attention from the press and positive criticism from radio station 96.5 tic FM. With an on-the-air interview and performance (being a first for the station), Renata has been making heads turn. Gary Craig said the bands creates music that people really enjoy. And if Craig's predictions come true, Renata will have a top-ten hit by this time next year.

Currently the band is working o raising funds for a music video. Their first CD, She walked with Kings is in 75 record stores throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York. The band has completed two songs since the January release of their self-titled CD.

One new song, No Time Like Times Square, was not easy to write. During their January 27 practice, the band was arguing back and forth about when the guitar would come in, and - The Recorder - New Britain, CT

After a five-hour drive from New York, I popped this in Renata's 2000 release "She Walked Kings", my first "real" introduction to the bands music. I have to say I'm happy I did. I'm probably a "rocker" by definition, but I like a variety of things. This, I liked. When I was given this pre-release ("r") for review I looked foward to hearing a progression from the band, where they were headed musically, etc. This too, si mighty fine! <br><br>For the Hartford, Connecticut based band, 2001 could be called a great year. Music featured on television's "Dawson's Creek" and MTV's "Undressed", about 200 gigs in the Northeast region, and voted the Hartford Advocate's Grand Band Slam "Best Orginal Rock Group". That may indicate bragging rights (I just helped, didn't I?)<br><br>Where "Kings" was more of a feet up, hangin' with your friends vibe, "r" brings the tempo up a bit. Still following the same path is their music, but when you listen to the first track, "I Remember You", one can't help but think of summertime. Driving with the windows down, wind blowing, stereo ranked. Great stuff here! I hate putting labels on music; It's hard to compare in today's world. One could put this in a changer with Dave Matthews, Garbage, No Doubt maybe. Its that kind of "go anywhere" music that's just plain good.<br><br>What will 2002 bring for Renata? A gig at the Webster Theatre on January 11th for starters, where the band will be headlining their CD release party "r" is a four song EP well worth picking up. You could almost call it "a staple for any CD player". Check out wherever they may be playing, they are well worth the trip.<br> - The Webster Star

Enfield - The Enfield-based band renata will perform with Dream Works recording artist Dana Glover on Thursday, June 26th at the Webster Underground in Hartford. Renata plans to debut songs from their album that is due out this fall.

Renata continues to light up the east coast, having recently played to sold out audiences at the Iron Horse in Northampton, Mass. and Bill's Bar in Boston.

In April the band signed a national sponsorship with Budweiser's True Music Live Campaign. They are Budweiser's only band in New England.

"We send them a list of our shows and they buy print and radio advertising for us." said John O'Leary, one of five Enfield residents that comprise Renata. The band, which most recently played at the Living Room in New York City, is currently recording a new CD, which will be their third one. O'Leary said the band's goal is to continue to expand the band's Boston to New York following.

In addition to O'Leary, band members include Mike Nadeau, Kurtis Henneberry, Anton Yurack and Leif Christensen.

Doors for the Webster Underground performance open at 7:30 p.m. - Enfield Press

Take the softer touch of early Counting Crows, Hootie in a chilled out mood, Dave Matthews after a hearty dose of Kava Kava and you might come close to the dreamy, sonic and altogether blissful sound of Renata. Fusing together Classic rock, roots rock, modern acoustic rock flavorings and a wee touch of country and folk, this band mesmerizes and charms. It's one of those sounds that hits you right from the first note and sweeps through you, lulling and fulfilling you to the very end. Keep your eyes on these guys. - CD Baby - Reviewer: Tamara Turner, CDBaby


2000 - "She Walked With Kings" (LP)
2002- "r" (EP)


Feeling a bit camera shy


"Life belongs to us." The Heights

Here is a story of five best friends who met in high school and began on an adventure the way they wanted. They have built all the roads, and travel them with honesty and imagination. "The ultimate goal of this journey is to write great songs," says singer Kurtis. "It's to take the five of our lives and create one sound that can speak to so many more. Yes, we want to be on the radio, but we want to be the stuff that gives a damn about how your feeling. The stuff that lets you know your emotions are clear and valid and not blurred by heartless rhymes and manufactured songs."

Through the years the music has seem to have spoken. In 2000, r e n a t a released there debut album, "she walked with kings," a 10 song catalog of artistic poetry and melancholy emotions dressed up in light and dark colors of guitar, harmonica, and piano. Consistent touring throughout northeast clubs, colleges, and in-store performances resulted in over 1800 copies sold within the first 12 months of its release. In mid 2000 Renata's "60" off the album was featured on MTV's "Undressed" and in October of 2000, Colombia Tristar licensed music for use on the WB series "Dawson's Creek."

The guys all grew up in Enfield, Connecticut, not even 10 minutes away from each other. "I would here Kurtis playing guitar and singing at parties and I'd step in and challenge him to a friendly guitar-off," says lead guitarist Mike Nadeau. "And Mike always won," says Kurtis. "We decided to start practicing together and agreed upon me handling the singing and him the cool guitar parts." John, who is now sponsored by LR silver fox drumsticks, and Kurtis had been in many after school jam sessions together and when the time called for a drummer, John was the one and only. Leif was the bass of the town, so Mike heard. Not only did his instrument shake the neighborhood but so did the trunk of his car. "It all started with Paul's Boutique," says Leif, the forth and still missing Beastie Boy. Now the group had a sound, but it was still missing something. A Longtime friend of Mike and Kurtis was doing his own thing on harmonica. Always playing to his fathers Bob Dylan and Neil Young collection, Anton sat in with the band and fell right into the palm of chemistry the rest of them shared. "It was magical and it has been ever since," says Anton.

"We'd practice and sweat every day after school up in my attic," laughs John. "The only careers we ever dreamed of building were in this band."

And it was a dream that was recognized by the bands manager, Rick Clair. After the release of "she walked with kings," in 2000, good friends and outstanding musicians of the band RANE, passed r e n a t a's music to founder of "Essential Group Management," Rick Clair. "Rick taught us the 50/50 rule," says Mike. "50% music and 50% business (give or take a few, of coarse)." We would not be where we are today without the drive, determination and direction of Rick," says the band.

Distributed by Enconn Entertainment, a self run distribution, promotion, retail marketing and booking company; the band's music is carried in over 50 record stores throughout the Northeast. From New York City to Boston, they have built a solid fan base of 2000 fans and street teamers. "Our first big show was at the Webster Theatre in Hartford, Connecticut in 1999," adds Mike. "And we played for 20 kids. Just this past January we headlined the venue for 900 plus. The road is long and the process is slow. Sometimes it's hard to see the progress being made, when you're on the inside looking out."

The bands second release in early 2002 titled "R," was a four song EP that led them in new directions. "I feel it has more sun to shine with, whereas "Kings" had more rain," says Kurtis. "It was the bridge we needed to build to get to where we are now and to where we're going. We just can't stop writing new music these days. Every time the five of us sit down, something new stands up."

r e n a t a has been awarded "Best Original Rock Band" in the Hartford Advocate's 2001 Readers Poll and appeared on CBS for winning the "Best Pop Band," and "Best Male Vocalist" in the Hartford Advocate's 2002 Reader's Poll.

"We are perfectionists," says Mike. "We are never completely satisfied, and when we are, it doesn't last for long."

Performing live has always been a great thing. "We have written many songs with the live show in mind", says Anton. "I've always enjoyed concerts that give the album songs a bit of a twist." Radio however, has not been shy with the band. Connecticut's largest radio station 96.5 TIC-FM has showed them much support. They have made several appearances on the "Gary Craig Morning Show," as well as giving their single, "No Time Like Times Square", daytime rotation. "Their music has an emotion that is indescribable", says Gary Craig. WMRQ is also a huge fan of the music, "If you like the CD then wait till you check these guys out live!" says radio 104'