Standout Track: No. 4, “Hello Mama,” an upbeat, joyous R&B cut from the Landover-raised singer’s second effort, the seven-song Lovers Rock. A preacher’s daughter, Reesa Renee first broke into the spotlight when she won Amateur Night at the Apollo in 2011. Recorded at House Studios in Hyattsville—where Renee had previously recorded her 2012 debut album Reelease— “Hello Mama” starts off with a repeated rhythm guitar lick and handclap percussion courtesy of producer Reggie Volume, before Renee comes in with conversational vocals slowly cascading into soaring and jazzy harmonies. Renee’s soulful and vibrant delivery of the phrase “ride, ride, ride” stands out melodically.

Musical Motivation: Contrary to the title, the song is not about a mother. Rather, it’s a searching-for-love tune about a flirtatious guy who wants the singer to go for a drive. “The lyrics for ‘Hello Mama’ were written on the spot—some of which were organized as I was recorded,” Renee says. “This is where [House Studios] writer Mikki Carlton came into play. It was our first time working together and she really played a big role in helping me organize my thoughts during the recording/writing process.”

Teamwork: Though the polished production of “Hello Mama” may make it seem like a purely studio experiment, Renee says it’s one of her favorite tunes to play in concert. “I don’t know if it’s more fun for me or my long- time drummer Silky [aka Silk Gates],” Renee says, referencing the rhythmic aspect of the cut that has a bubbly Pharrell Williams feel to it. She’s written “I love you but I hate you” kind of love songs in the past but her manager challenged her to write one that was purely positive. “Hello Mama,” Renee concludes, “was my way of letting it all go—all the stress, all tensions, and everything—and just escaping with love.”