Written by Killian O’Neil
For many people, living in more than one country would be a dream come true, but for Heavenly Reyna it was her reality. Heavenly was brought up in a “digital nomad family” and growing up in a “digital nomad family,” plus living in 48 different countries has not only shaped her as a human being but as a musician too.
Last year, Heavenly went viral on both TikTok and Twitch, and recently released her newest song “Exit,” acoustically this past July. I was lucky enough to catch up with her and pick her brain about “Exit” and her successes with social media. Upon listening to “Exit,” it immediately sucks you in with its gentle build-up of the piano and its picturesque lyrics. As it continues to play, the storyline is portrayed in such a way you have to relate to it.
One of the things that struck my curiosity was how long she has been a songwriter due to how much imagery is used in her lyrics. The lyric that stuck out the most was “Start and stop again, will I ever get off this ride,” so naturally, I had to ask what the hell that meant! Upon hearing that single lyric, it could literally be applied to anything in life; A bad relationship, a drug habit, a constant hamster wheel of hell, who knows? I guess that’s up for you to decide.
I asked her what she was trying to convey to the audience and what was the metaphor for.
Heavenly answered, “Thank you! Since the melody and some of the lyrics came to me while I was sitting in traffic, I kind of dismissed it at first, but it stuck with me. As it kind of percolated on the backburner, I started to think about how being stuck in traffic had a lot in common with being stuck in a relationship. The metaphor and juxtaposition with traffic in that line, I think, bring it home in a way everyone can understand. I think that’s why the song appealed to my audience so much. Sometimes, the most empowering thing you can do is to exit!”
That couldn’t be more true! No matter how one interprets the lyrics it may still speak to you on an entirely different level. I was itching to find out how long she has been writing songs. You don’t just hone that talent overnight or master the craft of songwriting in six short months. so I posed the next question as “It’s very clear you’re a songwriter as your lyrics paint a picture of what is going on while listening to the song. How long have you been a songwriter and when did you first start? Has music always been your primary focus?”
She answered, “I have always loved music. I began writing songs at four years old and I’ve always had a passion for making my own music. I got really into music when I was ten years old and was living in Asia. When you’re a kid, you think you can do anything, so I just went ahead and did it. Even my parents were surprised, but they supported my passions. When I was thirteen, I auditioned and got into the same music school where Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez began and started formal songwriting training. I wrote some songs and started working with some amazing professional songwriters and producers which helped me to grow and get better at the craft of songwriting.”
Even having a passion for something at four years old says it all. It seems that Heavenly was writing songs long before many of us were speaking entire sentences.
My next question for her was with her most recent release, “Exit,” being an acoustic piano accompaniment, the question now was what doesn’t she do, and why did she release it as an acoustic track? How long have you been playing the piano and do you play other instruments?
“I released ‘Exit’ acoustically initially because my Twitch audience wanted to be able to listen to it in their daily lives. I will be releasing a produced version soon that I am creating with Sueco… I’ve been playing the piano since I was three, but it was actually the second instrument I started learning, as I started learning the violin before I was two years old. Later on, I started the guitar, ukulele, and didgeridoo, but primarily just the guitar and piano,” Heavenly explained.
She later went on to explain how social media platforms like Twitch and TikTok have been wonderful for her career. So I asked, Tell me about your experience with TikTok and Twitch? What brought you to use those platforms for your music? How have they helped your career thus far?
“Like most people my age, I love social media. Places like TikTok and Twitch have become lifesavers during the pandemic,” Heavenly admits. “I only discovered Twitch because of lockdown. I feel so lucky that I went viral there and ended up finding an amazing global audience who have been so supportive. I love how the Twitch chat allows us to connect in real-time and the big family of global friends that I have there. I hadn’t done that much live streaming before and wasn’t really fond of it, but singing for people around the world on Twitch from my bedroom is one of my favorite things to do! I love that my audience has helped me do some fantastic fundraising for great causes like Make-A-Wish and Pancreatic Cancer! TikTok is fun too because of the humor. I’ve been singing songs in three different languages in 30 seconds which people seem to really enjoy – plus it’s a fun way to learn Chinese and Spanish! Speaking more than one language is impressive, let alone singing a song in a different language.”
Heavenly is a well-diversed artist who has incorporated all of her travels of culture and experiences and transferred them into an art form.
When the time came to finally ask more in-depth about her upbringing, the conversation was fluid and quite interesting, to say the least.
What is it like having lived in 48 different countries? How has being raised all over the world contributed to your music and shaped you?
“I really loved growing up as a part of a family that was ‘digital nomads’ for a decade and I still love to travel! I will never tire of going back to my many ‘homes’ around the world, seeing old friends, and meeting new ones! As it’s all I’ve known, it seemed like a normal childhood to me, but I think it definitely shaped me as a human and as an artist,” She explains. “Hearing different languages, living in different cultures, hearing different instruments, understanding the day-to-day life, and celebrations of many countries have given me a unique perspective and gratitude. It inspires me to help bridge and unify our world as I think music can change consciousness and lift us all.”
With being what would be called a modern-day gypsy ( in the traveling sense of course!) she has seen so much and morphed and grown into the woman she is today. Of course, she’s just like any other girl who likes the simple things in life but it really is a testament that there are still positive role models in the industry. If it is fundraising for Make-a-Wish or connecting to her fans 1:1 via a social media platform, Heavenly is front and center. Don’t forget to check out the acoustic video she just released, “Exit”!
Connect with Heavenly Reyna