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Women Who Rock the Fort: Renato Rio

While it may seem trite to suggest to anyone facing a pile of lemons to make lemonade, it is also true that sometimes, given the right circumstances, adversity can provide an opportunity for growth and even life-altering change. That was definitely the case for Fort Wayne singer and performer Renato Rio who, despite her obvious talent, spent much of her life afraid of performing. The nudge came in an unexpected and unwelcome way.

“As a kid I would watch The Little Mermaid and sing all those songs,” she said. “But I had a lot of shyness and couldn’t get on a stage in front of people. But in 2008 I was the victim of a random act of violence, and when I woke up, I was a different person. I had nothing to lose anymore.”

That change led to Rio taking the stage and sharing her voice. For more than 10 years, she had played and sung on stages around the area, and she is no longer afraid. She credits her parents with providing her both the talent and the encouragement to pursue her musical dreams, and she also appreciates the music which has come to define her style.

“In 2010 I was hanging out with girls who were into burlesque, and I started singing with them. I love rock music, 60s music – the Mamas and the Papas, Roy Orbison, the Animals, the Hollies, Diana Ross. I love music from a time when people wrote from the heart.”

She currently works in a two-piece band called Basketcase who will be performing Friday, Oct. 8th at Byler Lane Winery (5-8 p.m.), Friday, October 15th at Garrett Legion Post 178 (7:30-10:30 p.m.), and Friday, Nov.12th at Rack & Helens in New Haven (8-11 p.m.). But as she looks to the future, she thinks the time is right for a return to a full band sound.

“I want to start a golden oldies band, bring back the bigger sounds that brings people onto the dance floor. It’s been therapy to me, and I’m feeling better and am ready to rock.”

Renato Rio with Chris Liechty

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