renforshort: virtual reality

A fast-rising young star delivers feisty pop-punk.

renforshort: virtual reality

By Kerry Doole

renforshort - virtual reality (Interscope/UMC): At just 18, this Toronto singer/songwriter has already generated serious international industry buzz. She is signed to Interscope, and 2020 debut EP teenage angst elicited superlatives from the likes of NME, American Songwriter, and Rolling Stone

She most recently released her cover of the Gorillaz' track Feel Good Inc., featuring guitar sensation Mateus Asato, and has just been named Amazon Music Canada’s Developing Artist of the Month for March. Now comes virtual reality, the first single from an upcoming EP. It was written by Lauren Isenberg (aka renforshort), Kellen Pomeranz (Pom Pom), and Jesse Fink, and produced by Pom Pom (John Legend, Noah Cyrus, Lelya Blue), with additional production from Pete Robertson (Beabadoobee).


The tune has a pop-punk feel, with a few dance-pop touches featured in the production, while her vocal style is reminiscent of early Avril Lavigne. An effective combination.

In a label press release, renforshort describes virtual reality as "a song that tackles many topics. But at its core, it really is about anxiety, routine, boredom, isolation, loneliness, and fear. I think a lot of people have a very unhealthy relationship with technology because it’s never really been restricted enough to consider mental health and overall health, and that has fucked so many people up, now more than ever.”

“Ever since I was young, social media has played a major role in my mental wellbeing, and I became so accustomed to it, it became a part of my routine and it came before everything else. The moment I wake up, almost instinctively, I check my phone."

These sentiments are reaffirmed in such song lyrics as "18 plugged in and out of touch, I think sometimes I think too much, self diagnosed with self sabotage." A timely warning, given that the pandemic lockdown has encouraged even more social media use.







Publicity: Stephanie Horak, UMC Canada

Booking agent: Rob Zifarelli, Paradigm

DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla
@anmollium / Anmol Raina

DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla

Chart Beat

Karan Aujla & DIVINE Debut in Top 25 on Billboard Canadian Albums Chart

B.C.-based Punjabi artist Karan Aujla and Indian rapper DIVINE land the No. 22 spot on this week's Canadian Albums chart with their new collaborative release, 'Street Dreams.' On the Canadian Hot 100, Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em" ascends to No. 1, while Canadian pop artist Preston Pablo makes a debut.

B.C.-based Punjabi artist Karan Aujla and Indian rapper DIVINE are making moves together on Billboard's Canadian Albums chart this week, with their collaborative project, Street Dreams, debuting in the No. 22 spot.

The seven-track album, released Feb. 16, blends harder hip-hop and smooth R&B pop, the latter shining through especially on the Jonita Gandhi-assisted "Yaad." It's not Aujla's highest spot on the Albums chart — he reached No. 5 in 2023 with Making Memories, his collaboration with Canadian Punjabi artist Ikky — but it gives him some momentum going into his upcoming performance at the Juno Awards on Mar. 24, where he's nominated for TikTok Juno fan choice and breakthrough artist.

keep readingShow less