Renee Leavitt is a 20-year-old Assumption College sophomore with big dreams, a lot of talent, and local roots.
The aspiring country music singer and songwriter lives in Woburn, but her dad, Gary Leavitt, is a former long-time Peabody resident.
In many ways, Gary is his daughter’s biggest fan, supporter, and promoter. He’s also the one who sparked a love of music in Renee.
“When I was two or three, I remember watching my dad perform his impersonation of Bruce Springsteen,” said Renee. “I just loved the entire aspect of performing, and then I found out that I could sing in second grade.”
When she hit her teenage years, Renee had moved from just singing to singing and writing, inspired in a big way by Taylor Swift.
“I loved how she wrote songs about guys, and that set me up to write Boy, Oh Boy, which I recorded when I was 13 years old,” Renee said.
Gary is quick to talk up her daughter’s talent and accomplishments, from playing in front of thousands of people alongside Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes to her unique sound that Renee hopes to break through with in Nashville.
“There is no sound in Nashville currently like Renee’s style,” Gary said. “It’s very country, zydeco, bluegrass, and pop. She has eight originals that are all equally as good.”
While all the songs may be equally as good, Renee said she does have a personal favorite.
“My favorite of all the songs I’ve written and recorded is Boy Next Door, which I wrote in my sophomore year of high school about Ed Sheeran, who is definitely the perfect guy for me,” said Renee. “Every time I perform the song, it’s a different experience; I love to express the emotions of that song.”
Outside of music, Renee keeps a busy schedule as a double major in political science and theology at Assumption.
“I love conflict,” she joked about her majors.
She’s also on the school’s rowing team, but all those activities aren’t slowing down her music dreams.
“The plan is to go down to Nashville at least once the summer, and hopefully to go down during some breaks next winter,” Renee said.
Gary has some contacts in the music business, and he said his daughter’s music is being reviewed by Warner Nashville and Toby Keith’s people.
Locally, she has been country music station WKLB’s Catch of the Week, and she has been played on a number of other local radio stations.
Anyone interested in catching Renee in concert should make a trip to BreakAway in Danvers on Sunday, March 18. Renee will be performing a mix of her original songs, covers by the likes of Fleetwood Mac and Bon Jovi, and a few surprises backed by the members of the group Eleventh Hour and former Asbury Juke’s saxophonist Joey Stann.
If the music career doesn’t work out, Renee said she plans on becoming a lawyer.
Gary said the goal might be a little higher than that.
“She has aspirations to be a Supreme Court justice and the first female president,” he said.