A native of Rochester, NY, Rena started singing at the age of 6 in the church choir. Her early talents continued to surface and evolve with the Salvation Army Band, where she sang and played timbrels and Eflat horn. She also took voice lessons each year at summer camp from early childhood until she was 18. Rena's promise and talent enabled her to gain further training and experience at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, where she was on a special scholarship during her four years of high school.
Soulful and chocolaty, Rena's voice brings a soothing, melodic quality to ballads, mainstream art, and original compositions. From jazz and folk, to country, contemporary Christian, and rock and roll, Rena's sense of musical adventure is inspired and eclectic, with energy and passion riding on every note.
Influences and comparisons include Sarah Vaughan, Sade, Billie Holiday, Patsy Cline, Bonnie Raitt, Anita Baker, and Toni Braxton.
Rena has been singing professionally for several years and has frequently performed at clubs, restaurants and special events around the Capital Region, including Angelo's 677 Prime, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), Alive at 5 in downtown Albany, The Hotel 74 State Street, The Four Corner Luncheonette-Delmar, Feesteliik Bethlehem, The Van Dyke-Schenectady, Siena College, and The Boat House-Coeyman's.
She has performed with groups and solo artists such as the Rena Graf Quartet, Soul Session, The Brian Kaplan Band, Weasels, Lovin Life, Michael Roach, and Brian Melick among others. As a career highlight for any singer, performances of the Star Spangled Banner at Shea and Yankee Stadiums in New York City are also included on Rena's resume.
Beyond her regular engagements, Rena also performs at weddings, funerals, special luncheons and dinners, and private, family, and corporate gatherings. Even the recognition of life's milestones (such as divorce parties) are made more memorable by Rena's sensitive and engaging artistry. She is accompanied by other artists for your listening pleasure and upon request.
Brian Kaplan (Guitar)