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Watch: Newly unearthed footage of a teenage Ren performing

01 Nov 2023 5 minute read
A 17-year-old Ren performing at a voice camp

A never-before-seen video of Ren has been unearthed on social media.

The footage shows a then 17-year-old Ren Gill, who is from Anglesey, performing at a Voice Camp with a large group of teenagers.

The video was posted in the Ren fans’ Facebook group REN’s Rabbit Hole by Susie Ro Prater, who led the sessions with the teenagers.

The musician, 33, is featured at 4 minutes 25 seconds into the video and even then the performer’s sublime talent was there for all to see. A shout of ‘Go Ren!’ can be heard before he busts out a thrilling rap over the top of a harmonious choral backing.

Susie wrote on Facebook: “Celebrating Ren getting to NUMBER ONE on the UK album charts on Friday! ⭐️🎉 Ren is about 17 i reckon in this video, back when i used to lead the singing for the teenagers at Unicorn Voice Camp (i was only a couple years older than them all!) – This song has double relevance right now because we are singing for peace, and singing Shalom Salaam.

“This was an epic year, we got so into writing, co-creating, and remixing this whole piece (starting with the barebones of a peace song by my dad – until the beat drops! Enter chief beatboxer REN!). We wrote ridiculous 7 part harmony backing parts (half the girls are hyperventilating in this video!) and the guys wrote their own amazing words for world peace.”

When Ren scored a UK number one with his album Sick Boi, these were the triumphant scenes when he discovered he had hit the top spot.

He was filmed listening to the UK album chart rundown huddled around a radio with friends, who celebrated wildly when it was announced Ren was number one.

The Welshmnan has built up a huge audience online and it was his loyal fanbase who helped push him over the line with a late surge to beat off competition from veteran star Rick Astley.

It had been billed as a battle between a famed and a fresh face going head-to-head in the race for the UK’s official number one album.

And it was Never Gonna Give You Up icon Rick who was in pole position when his ninth studio album Are We There Yet? stood at number one in the midweek charts, however less than 400 chart units behind was Ren with Sick Boi.

Following a late surge from Ren’s fanbase they propelled the Welshman to number one. Remarkably the album also charted in the Billboard 200 in the US.

It’s an extraordinary feat for an unsigned artist who has built his popularity through his videos on YouTube.

There was a gracious message from his chart rival Rick Astley who took to Instagram to thank his fans for helping him score a number two album while also congratulating Ren and praising his ‘amazing’ music.

The musician, who has been nominated for a Breakthrough Award at the Rolling Stone UK Awards, has amassed a dedicated cult following from his stark and confessional tracks that blur genre boundaries.

Much has happened in the intervening years since he left his North Wales home to live in Brighton.

He has battled a rare debilitating illness which has seen him seek specialist treatment in Calgary in Canada. He has also fought his own personal demons to attract millions seek out his videos on YouTube.

A word of mouth sensation, he’s achieving success under his own steam. Resolutely under the radar, he’s become a grassroots phenomenon.

With an ever growing following, he recently turned to his loyal army of fans to help him raise thousands for Beaumaris RNLI in Anglesey in memory of his close friend Joe Hughes.

Ren pictured at the cheque presentation at RNLI Beaumaris (Credit: ITV)

His full name is Ren Eryn Gill. To those who love his music he’s simply known as Ren

The musician, who wears his heart on his sleeve and who is loved for starkly autobiographical songs, said that being in the running for a number one album with Sick Boi, was something he still couldn’t get his head around.

Welsh musician Ren Eryn Gill, known as Ren (Credit: Ren YouTube)

In a post on his Facebook page, ahead of discovering whether he would clinch the top spot in the album charts, Ren wrote: “In a very surreal turn of events, I have entered at number 2 in the UK charts right behind Rick Astley. We find out the official results on Friday.

“Yes ladies and gentlemen, I have been rick rolled in the biggest way possible. There are only about 400 sales in difference between us.

“Getting a number 1 would be a super cool victory for independent artists who are competing with major labels, but more than anything it would be a victory for me over my health at a time I’ve been in clinic in Canada five days a week treating my autoimmune issues.”

READ MORE: Ren the Welsh musician attracting millions to his extraordinary music

The heartbreaking story behind Ren raising thousands for the RNLI

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