It takes a lot to become a successful manager. It takes even more to be the successful manager of an unconventional personality, someone who has everything to make it to the top—they just need the rest of the business to catch up! This is Big Freedia's world, we're just living in it. Behind her is the super organized, longtime manager Renee.
The forty-something mother of four is nothing short of extraordinary. Even in the most tense of situations, she displays grace under pressure, understanding how to keep everyone in check. Perhaps most impressive is her dedication to handling Freedia's global expansion while serving as her national manager (who could forget their magical trip to Brazil?)
We sat down with Renee to find out just what you can expect from the new season.
What was the vibe like going into Season 2?
I was a little reluctant! I’m not used to being in front of the camera. I’m usually not comfortable. A lot of it was a good experience for me in terms of what we need to do to get Freedia out there and her music out there. I focused on that. The show is part of the bigger picture.
Did everyone else share that feeling?
Me and Freedia, we learned so many things from Season 1 just across the board. We took that and decided “Ok, we’re going to do this differently for Season 2.” We knew we were really going to try and make the best of the situation.
Were you happy with how the first season came out?
From a professional standpoint, the show actually did what it was supposed to do. It increased her visibility, his popularity. I think a lot more people know Freedia now. They know her music.
Right now are you between Oakland and New Orleans? Where is home?
I live in the Bay Area but I frequent New Orleans at least twice a month, especially during production. I’m usually there once a month when we’re not in production because we have to keep up busy. Or I’ll meet her wherever she is, if he’s traveling or if she’s on tour.
Which do you prefer?
To be honest I prefer to meet her when she’s not in New Orleans because she has so much going on it’s hard to get her focused. But I also know that’s where she records a lot of her music, that’s where she needs to be to stay focused . It’s important for her to be there because that’s where she’s getting her culture from, that’s where she’s getting her inspiration. It’s important for her to be there. I’ll go wherever she is to get the work done.
Has there been any visible moment when you realized how successful the show was?
When we were in New York doing the promos! She has a huge fan base in New York. She gets recognized more now walking down the street. Everyone notices her wherever we go. It was really crazy for her that, after a few weeks, people were really recognizing her everywhere—not just in these little pockets, not just in big metropolitan cities.
How close do you think bounce music is to breaking into the mainstream? On a scale of 1-10?
I’d give it a 6 catapulting into an 8. Each day, I’m getting emails about it. I just got one from Okayplayer because they’re covering bounce. I think it’s a steady incline. I think it’s getting more and more out there.
Are there any new bounce artists from New Orleans that you see Freedia embracing?
I know she and Katey Red will always work together. There’s this “Big Freedie and Kay Reddy” track that they did a long time ago that I would really love to release. I’m just trying to hunt down the original session files. If we can’t find it we’ll go back and re-record it. It’s timeless! It reminds me a lot of early ‘80s hip hop. I think people will really embrace it. It has a real MC feel.
What can fans expect from the new season?
I think just scratching a little bit more below the surface. The first season was really more of an introduction. It was a broad stroke of who Freedia is in this world. I think Freedia gets a bit deeper into the ins and outs for what it really takes for this to operate. I think you really see the struggle of Miss V’s [Vera, Freedia's mother] cancer and her degrading health really trickling down on Freedia and then the rest of the team. You can really see that—how we’re all really working through it. In contrast, it made us work a little bit harder, take things a little more seriously and get a little bit more focused. I think for Season 2, there’s more togetherness. There was a lot of division and a little bit of chaos. In Season 2, you’ll see everyone’s willingness to work things out.