Meet Renee Cullen, a Singer/Songwriter based in cookham

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When did you first realise you had a talent for singing?

My mother was a country music singer and she would compete regularly all over New Zealand. I used to go along with her and watch her perform and that inspired me to start singing. My first performance on stage was as a four-year-old and I sung a song called “Delta Dawn”. It wasn’t the most appropriate song for a four-year-old, but I must have liked the song, so my mum let me sing it.

How do you look back on your singing career to date – and what have been the highlights?

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Renee Cullen performing at Half Moon Pub, Putney

The “Small Town Girls” album launch party at the iconic Half Moon Pub in Putney was definitely a highlight of my career. One of my producers on the album, Rob Castell’s band supported me and they are super talented musicians. We only had one practice a few days before the launch. My family came over from New Zealand for the launch and I got to sing “Karakia” from my album with my sister Gina, who also wrote the song. That was very special.

How would you describe your sound?

It’s a country pop/country rock album. Some of the songs could definitely cross genre between pop and country, but the heart of the album is country.

On the new album, you’ll find a collection of stories from my life. When I write my music, I like it to tell a story and there is definitely a theme that runs through the whole album. I grew up in a small town in New Zealand and then moved to one of biggest cities in the world, London. It was a huge culture shock for me but I absolutely loved it. Ultimately the album is about a small town girl travelling the world but always holding those small town morals and values close to her heart. For me, it’s very important to remember where I came from and to always keep my feet firmly placed on the ground. It’s a coming of age album and I definitely changed a lot through the process of writing it. I left my home and family, I met my husband and I became a mother to my four beautiful kids. The album resonates all of this.

What has the reaction been like to it?

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I know my children, my family and my friends are very proud of me and this is what matters most to me. I wanted something that I had created so that I could share that with my children and hopefully their children too. So overall, I am super happy. Looking at the album on a wider scale, the reception has been hugely positive! I have people I’ve never met contacting me saying they love a specific song on my album, which is really touching. When people I don’t know relate to my music and my lyrics, it makes me want to write more.

Whereabouts are you based in Berkshire and what do you love about it?

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Cookham – Photo cred Colin Beresford Godfrey

We live in Cookham and I am so glad we chose the village as a place to bring up our children. We moved out of London 12 years ago and Cookham is beside the river with lots of beautiful open green walking tracks. It also has amazing restaurants and pubs, plus it’s so close to London. It’s the community that makes Cookham such a special place to live.

What music and entertainment venues do you love around Berkshire?

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Bel & Dragon Garden Room

Norden Farm in Maidenhead is such an amazing Venue for live music events. We are also very lucky in Cookham to have The Odney Club and the many local pubs that offer live music including Bel and the Dragon and The Kings Arms. I definitely have to give a shout out to our local Pinder Hall – we have had some cracking band nights there and these local halls are so important in bringing the community together.

When not singing, is there somewhere you love visiting to get away from it all?


Morzine in the French Alps is my home away from home. You’ll find me there on the slopes in winter and drinking “Hugos” at one of the many mountain restaurants in summer!

Do you have a favourite local restaurant or pub/bar?

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Anong Thai

Our favourite places to eat with the kids in Cookham are Anong Thai, Peking Inn and Maliks Indian. Bel and the Dragon for an alfresco lunch with friends. The White Oak for fine dining and date night. Out of town, Caldesi in Bray is our favourite dinner spot.

How about an outdoor spot?

We love impromptu summer drinks at The Crown in Cookham and The Kings Arms in Cookham has a huge beer garden for larger gatherings.

Our favourite outdoor eating spot, with a stunning upstairs bar and terrace, is

Roux at Skindles, which is on the river by Maidenhead bridge.

What’s next for you?

I will be recording a live acoustic video of my entire album which should be out at the beginning of next year. I’m also hoping to play at a few music festivals next summer. Before Christmas, you can catch me once a month on a Monday evening at The Swan Uppers open mic night in Cookham, The Cookham Village Christmas Concert on 2 December. and on 3 December at The Cookham Christmas Street Fayre.

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