On ‘Invisible,’ Reesa Renee Opens Up About Her Depression

By Briana Younger

After the release of her debut album Reelease in 2012, Maryland soul singer Reesa Renee went somewhat quiet. But recently she re-emerged with “Invisible,” a single that makes no effort to conceal what’s been going on in the vocalist’s mind.

Produced by Renee’s brother PKay The Producer, “Invisible” explores how it feels to lose loved ones far before their time. In 2007, Renee says, a car crash claimed the lives of two of her friends, Vernard Whitfield and Alycia Polzine. In the aftermath of the loss, Renee lapsed into depression.

“At that time in my life, and even a short time following, I didn’t care about much. I felt pointless,” Renee writes in an email. “Seeing everything the way I did that night was a true smack in the face.”

Renee vowed to make something of her friends’ loss. “I swore that day that their deaths wouldn’t be in vain, and if I could do anything about it, I would,” she writes. “Little did I know that decision would motivate me to the space I exist in today.”

The new video for “Invisible” opens with a dedication to Polzine and Whitfield and thanks them for “inspiring her out of” her depression.

Fellow D.C.-area native Amil Barnes shot the video at the site of the deadly collision in Charlotte, N.C., and another significant location: a road in Maryland where her mentor Minnie Exum, pictured at the end of the video, was fatally hit by a drunk driver. Scenes intertwine, building into a montage of moments leading up to her friends’ deaths, and the bouts of rage and grief that followed.

“This video hits home for me in every aspect,” Renee writes. “I decided a long time ago that I would follow my heart wherever it led, and when I heard the music for this song, the lyrics just fell out.” In the song, she asks, “You ever feel so low, you can’t adjust to highs?” It’s a state of mind that many struggling with grief would recognize.

“It is my reality — depression is real,” Renee writes. “I can find myself experiencing ‘high’ moments” — like winning amateur night at New York’s legendary Apollo Theater and performing with Chuck Brown, Wale and Roy Ayers — “and still struggle with low moments. And that sucks too,” she writes. “Oh, to be human.”