UPDATE: Genesis Renji spoke about his journey on the Power of Possible podcast by U.S. Bank, available for download on iTunes, Google Play and PlayerFM. This story was originally published on June 15.
Genesis Renji is having one of those moments that feels like destiny. The 25-year-old hip hop artist has been creating music since he was 12, freestyling with his cousins, then laying down tracks in his high school's sound studio. When he was 21, he started an independent record label with his friends. Although it hasn't been easy, his commitment to his music is unwavering.
On May 25, Renji won U.S. Bank's #TourPossible Milwaukee, a competition designed to bring up-and-coming artists one step closer to the possibility of a music career.
Finalists for #TourPossible were selected through online voting, and a panel of music industry judges awarded Renji the $20,000 grand prize after a live show at Turner Hall in Milwaukee.
With a background in spoken word poetry, Renji has competed in international poetry slams and is no stranger to the stage.
"Performances are the only times I'm truly in the moment. Every show is an out-of-body experience; I'm only thinking of capitalizing on every moment with each person."
His poetic perspective is reflected in his music, which he describes as a hybrid of Childish Gambino's musical composition and Kendrick Lamar's lyrical storytelling.
"My music is vibes with a narrative," he says.
He plans to invest his winnings from #TourPossible in growing his label, The House of Renji, expanding his reach and that of the artists with whom he collaborates. He wants to reach a wider audience and create meaningful moments by connecting people with great music and memorable live performances.
"[Winning #TourPossible] is a reassurance that everything I'm doing, all of the hard work and sacrifice, is finally paying off."
Monica Wiant is a member of U.S. Bank's social media team. Check out the bank's video interview with Renji.