Savannah Ré is the perfect combination of sensitive and aggressive while also being more of either whenever need be. 2018 has been a year full of changes and new opportunities, including collaborating with GRAMMY Award-nominated producer, Boi-1da (Drake, Rihanna, Beyoncé) and recently writing with veteran R&B hitmaker, Babyface. Savannah’s lyrics and general approach to music offers listeners a relatable experience. She’s very passionate about telling the story behind how those two identities come together for her and other women like her.
Over the last two years, Savannah Ré has become the one to watch in Canadian R&B. Soaring to dizzying new heights in her career with grace, poise and a ferocity indicative of someone who understands who she is and what she wants, there’s really nowhere to go but up.
Born to Jamaican parents and raised in Scarborough on R&B and Jamaican sounds, Savannah almost always knew she would be a singer. Though she initially attended school for visual arts, something clicked the first time she sang. “I loved the feeling of the emotional outpour. Music felt differently than if I were using my hands as a visual artist, or my body as a dancer,” Savannah says. Once she started using her voice, she felt complete.
No stranger to the hustle, Savannah often worked two jobs in order to facilitate her dream. But she also had to battle the lack of Black female representation in the Canadian music industry.
Savannah’s rise to the top of the Canadian music scene and beyond proves just how hard she’s worked to carve out a space for herself (and future Black women)in the music world. Savannah released her debut EP —the critically-lauded Opia, which earned her shoutouts from the likes of SZA and Timbaland, her historic JUNO Award win (she was the first-ever artist to receive the Traditional R&B/Soul Recording of the Year Award in 2021) and three JUNO Award nominations, two Prism Prize nominations, a nomination for the Polaris Music Prize, a SOCAN Songwriting Prize nomination, and the Slaight Music Emerging Songwriter Award nomination —all in the middle of the pandemic. Opia was bottled honey infused with breathtaking honesty —a way for Savannah to share her truth and journey up to that point.
Simultaneously processing the malaise and loneliness of the pandemic alongside the immense praise for Opia, she used the quiet time provided by the lockdown to do some deep self-reflection and focused on honing the vision for her next project. Savannah’s creativity slowly but surely began to re-emerge, and she surfaced with a newfound understanding of herself, how to use the gifts she’s been given, and the conviction that sharing truth through music is healing. Now set to release her second body of work, she’s still serving vulnerability and authenticity through potent and provocative lyrics —this time with a shot of whiskey on the side. Equal parts gritty, sultry, and vivacious, it’s a celebratory, unapologetic, and unflinching look at the way the world sees her. Lyrically, she toes the line between joy and heartbreak, tenderness and frustration. R&B sets the perfect stage for this breadth of emotion, providing a crucial arena for Savannah to express and accept every facet of herself. “We don't often get those moments to express anger as Black women, and when we do, we're deemed too aggressive,” she says. Savannah’s conclusions that if you can’t handle all of her, you can keep walking.
Everything thrown at you in life, whether it be challenging or exciting, is part of your journey.Savannah explores questions about self-love and acceptance from the perspective of an ever-evolving woman, who is right now brimming with confidence, clarity and drive. “I hate that women are supposed to be one thing. I’m a tomboy, a potty-mouth,” she laughs. “I like long nails, tattoos and alcohol, but I’m also nurturing. I’m not a role model, I don’t come to you a complete woman, but I am someone you can look at and say, ‘she’s being herself’.”