“It happened at one of the most convenient times in my life,” Rey Fonder croons melodically over a low tempo beat referencing an eye disease, called acute retinal necrosis, that nearly took his eyesight. Today, Rey is preparing for the release of two albums entitled “T.R.U.S.T, a Hip-Hop record, and Concert, a Pop-Alternative record. With over 100,000 views on Vevo, a distribution deal through Sony under MCR, putting out his own App recently, a book released, and a hit video on MTV and VH1 already under his belt, several questions inevitably goes through your mind, ‘Who is this kid making all this noise? Who is Rey Fonder?’
Rey Fonder is a Decatur, Georgia native that started off as a songwriter, executive producer, and label owner that recently began to explore his talents as an artist. “Rey Fonder is a mindset. With everything that I’ve been through in my life, I’ve gotten to a point of applying a routine and having this positive edge of how I approach this music industry,” he says. “My middle name is Renard so that is where the Rey came from, and the Fonder, was a joke from my homeboys talking about females always being fond of me, so I took it and put it together,” Rey explains.
Rey’s approach on how he came up with his name is not by happenstance or default. Every move that he makes in the music industry is all about strategy, a game of chess if you will. He is all about branding and building his own packaging from the ground up. “I decided to do it for myself, to be self-sufficient. It seems like the further you go along, the better it is to not have everyone’s hand in there because you end up wasting time and that is the only luxury,” he explains.
Being self-sufficient is certainly the name of Rey’s game. He is the proud owner of his own record label called Uberwood with several artists under his guidance and development. “The music industry has turned into a service versus an actual product, I decided to have as much of my foundation as possible before I approach them (record labels).” His self-sufficiency and uniqueness creates the basis for the creation of his music and how it sounds to the world. “I always wanted to have freedom in creating, I just wanted to be able to create whatever I wanted to. That’s part of the reason I came out as a song writer first to put that branding out there, so people will know when I decide to do the artist thing that I can put out all kinds of music.”
Influenced by a variety of music genres from the likes of Outkast, early T.I., Eightball & MJG , Three 6 Mafia, Pastor Troy, Cee Lo, and Goodie Mob to Incubus, The Fray, Cold Play, and Haim to name a few, one can sense this mixture of influence directly in his song writing. “I always write from a song writers perspective, so in essence I’m telling my story and I write in such a way where it is general, but if a person knows me they would know that I am talking about them. I write it in such a way where it’s general so everyone could relate.” Great song writing hooks people in, but what exactly makes us listen to Rey Fonder over some of our cult faves such as T.I., Kanye West, and Outkast?
“I mean I come from them really, I think that people who listen to me are in a space of like kinda zoned out. I’m not for the club and turning up and all that, I’m not in that lane,” he says. “I understand it, if I’m song writing for someone I might make one of those records, but for my stuff I’m not going to really have all of that, because I’m naturally chill and laid back, but I would say if a person just wants to kick back and chill and have some cleaning up music, some riding music and all that type of stuff then they can pop me in,” he says. And that variety is something that we all crave depending on what mood we are in and on what day.
With a track listing as extensive and diverse as Rey’s, it can be difficult to choose just one song that you like. When asked to choose his favorite record, he immediately mentioned a track called ‘Slow and Low’ because it “…describes me perfectly. How I move, like just being in the presence of certain people having the relationships that I have and never speaking on it. You will never know who I know when you come up to me and talk to me,” he says before trailing off a bit. “I kinda like that whole mystique thing and just let me get to know you as a person. Don’t nobody need to be name-dropping or nothing. Let’s just see if we create organically whatever it is we gone create.”
The music industry and especially hip-hop, is at a stage of needing something fresh and new. Rey Fonder may be the answer. With creating music as fast as he does (he wrote and recorded a song twenty minutes after this interview), excitement over his debut album is increasing. “…it’s like a whole pop EDM project. It ain’t no rapping on there, its totally veering off left field from what I usually do. It’s like a pop EDM alternative record,” he said. And we are not surprised from his influences and the amount of music that he produces currently. And truly, there is so much music in his repertoire that you can’t help but wonder how he creates it at that type of magnitude.
“I mean its like practice. If you wanna play piano, if you don’t spend hours practicing you wont be good at the piano,” he says. “I’m always doing something that gives me fresh ideas and a lot of my music is based off perspective, so I can write in 3rd person, 2nd person, 1st person, switch this up, come at this angle. You can write ten songs about one story, come at different angles, and no one will ever know.” This versatility is what will make him a serious threat in the music industry. The public may be ready for a Rey Fonder and he agrees.
“I feel my music and my brand is for people that are completely creative, who wanna branch out, who just wanna do more out here, I feel like that’s what I represent. The purpose and the path, the will to drill it down they throat, step on people neck. Push your product out there, just be yourself, you know just have that drive, that ambition,” Rey says with confidence and a giddy excitement.
So, there you have it. Rey Fonder is certainly an artist to watch. Not only for his music, but for his raw passion for his craft and seeing other people around him succeed. Inspiring others through his music is one of his number one motivators. Just as he was motivated from what seemed to be the eminent loss of his eyesight. He put’s it simply, “Just do it, jump. Why not, you don’t know where anything is gone come from, ain’t nobody got all the answers. Can’t nobody tell you the correct way to do nothing, all they can do is aim you in a direction where it’s gone mess your mindset up, or make you keep going and work harder.”