by Devyn Imholt
Rina Chanel is a recording artist who creates a unique sonic blend of RnB, classic soul, and jazz. With an extensive background in live performance, Rina’s impactful vocals are causing her to receive well-deserved attention as she ventures into the world of studio recording. I had the pleasure of speaking to Rina about her upbringing, her relationship with her producer Bennie Pearce, and her upcoming summer release, the EP “Rina.”
Rina Chanel spent the first decade of her life in Brooklyn, New York. Always around music, she cited Anita Baker and Sade as some of her biggest inspirations from when she was young. Rina went to a school for gifted arts where she began to realize her talent for vocalization. Her mother would describe a sixth-grade chorus performance as the moment when she realized her daughter’s true talent for music. It was Rina’s first public performance, and she had a solo within the performance that left her mother in tears.
When Rina and her mother moved to Virginia Beach, Rina continued to perform, participating in chorus, musicals, and opera. She also participated in a jazz choir, one she cites as being impactful by helping to instill improvisation skills within her. Her teacher would put them on the spot, forcing her to truly feel the music, testing her vocals, and allowing for her personality to shine. Eventually, Rina was able to attend Radford University on a voice scholarship for opera.
Rina spent her time at Radford extremely busy with rehearsals, recitals, and other performances. After graduating, she moved to Washington DC where began to perform opera professionally. She began to work with international recording artist Tracy Hamlin as her voice teacher. Tracy went on to have a huge impact on Rina, helping her to make a transition into soulful music like RnB and Jazz. Rina had the vocal talent to do so, but Tracy helped her by showing her the ins and outs of being a professional singer. Tracy set Rina up with producer Raymond Barton to feature on 2017’s “Don’t Give Up on Love,” her first studio recording experience.
With a background in vocal performance and a successful teacher by her side, Rina was ready to make the transition into becoming her own artist. She met producer Bennie Pearce on Bandmix, and after singing in a band where Bennie was the bass player, they established a powerful working connection. They began to collaborate on a series of singles, released under Bennie’s independent label Phillie-BOP Productions, “Worthy” and “Made” in 2020, and “More Than Enough” and “Sweetest of Melody” in 2021.
Since meeting and working together, the two have established a musical connection that Bennie describes as “yin and yang.” Rina talked to me about the importance of having someone like Bennie to help her in her journey as an artist, explaining that the two are extremely flexible in their creativity. This doesn’t just end in the vocal performance, but also extends to the production and structure of the song itself. They both want the product to come out the best it possibly could, explaining that there’s no “diva or ego” between them.
In a world where artists are constantly trying to “claw their way to the top,” Rina is confident that her tribe will find her. Her naturally bubbly attitude is captured within her music which she describes as “wrapped in love and positivity.” Rina and Bennie are currently working on Rina’s debut project, an EP entitled “Rina.” The project is self-titled for a reason, as Rina explained to me that the EP is introspective and reflective, providing her fans with an in-depth look into who she is.
Bennie and Rina both share a passion for trying to make music that they would consider “classic.” They want their product to be quality and are not pressured by the release-heavy era that the music industry is currently in. They would rather take their time to create a classic than rush and release filler. Rina is very excited about her EP and her musical future working with Bennie and Phillie-BOP Productions. Aside from releasing engaging music, Rina wants to extend herself into synch licensing for film and television, venture into the worlds of health and beauty, and continue to perform live as much as possible. Rina has an incredible background in vocalization, in combination with her partnership with Bennie, contagious personality, and dedication to quality, Rina Chanel is an artist to certainly keep your eye on.