• Ross Mondon

REYNA

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

"I hope that by being ourselves, we are doing a good job representing the LGBTQ community, the Latinx community and women in general."



Victoriah (Vic) and Hannah Gabriela (Gab) Banuelos, known as the sister duo Reyna, is at the forefront of queer pop in the Midwest.

The Milwaukee based pop group who have worked with producers Drew Pearson (Kesha) to Simon Oscroft (The Aces) and supporting the likes of CHVRCHES and The Naked and Famous; have taken music in their own hands.

From starting as an indie-pop duo named Vic and Gab to fast-forwarding two years later, Reyna (a play on the Spanish word for queen) was born.

With their new, dreamy, pop music it's no wonder they are continuing to rise within the music industry and luckily Vibez Music was able to talk to Vic about new music, what Pride means to them and past experiences.

You have become an advocate for the LGBTQ community, how important is Pride this month for you especially throughout these times?


What a difference a year can make! Last year we were travelling the country playing pride fests and now we are confined in our homes. I think that PRIDE month is as important as ever, let's not forget that PRIDE started with a riot and look how far we have come. We still have a long way to go but change is possible.


What the LGBTQ community has achieved throughout the year with courage and perseverance inspires me and gives me hope for movements like Black Lives Matter because I know that if we don't give, we can keep moving the conversation forward and change things for the better.

How important is it for you as artists to represent yourself through music and use your platform?


I think there is no other way to do art than by representing yourself through your music. I believe as an artist you must be authentic and transparent to connect with your audience. I hope that by being ourselves, we are doing a good job representing the LGBTQ community, the Latinx community and women in general.


I hope our platform can connect people that look like us and have had similar experiences to us and that they feel seen and heard.


Do you believe we are seeing a change within the music industry when it comes to female equality?


I don't see the equality on music festival line-ups. But in the micro-world of the industry maybe it is changing. I've seen it in the studios we have worked at, there are more women involved with projects and we have encountered more women last year than in the past couple of years. So that's very cool and I am excited to collaborate with more women.

Whilst growing up, what inspired you as sisters to become a duo and create music?


Gab will say that the movie School of Rock inspired us to start a band ha-ha! It does have a lot to do with it but I also think that our father helped discover that we had a talent for music and he gave us the tools to go for it. He has always believed in us and been super supportive so I don't think we would be here without him and his love for music.

What was the main reason why you moved from Vic & Gab to Reyna and where did the inspirations come from for the latest stage name?


When we started, we didn't have a name, but we had already booked a show. So, the promoter called to ask what name he should put on the flyer for the show. I looked over at Gab and asked, "What's our name?" ha-ha! We hadn't even thought about it! So, it took us five seconds to respond to the promoter and the first thing that came out was Vic and Gab. Fast forward two years, we start writing new music and it just sounds different, that's when we decided to change our name and this time takes our time choosing one. We came up with REYNA because it means queen in Spanish and it represents a strong, powerful woman.

You have worked with producers ranging from Drew Pearson to Simon Oscroft, but what has been your number one experience?


One thing I'll never forget was working with Kiko Cibrian, he is an amazing Mexican producer. He brought in the San Diego Orchestra to record beautiful melodies for one of our songs. I had chills all over and it was such a surreal experience. One for the books!


Your latest single 'Coachella' is out now, what inspired you to produce this song and how have fans reacted?


I think people have enjoyed Coachella, especially because of the isolation the world has been living in. It's so ironic that we wrote this song in January and by March the world had changed. I wrote Coachella because I was lucky to experience the festival last year, it was such a fun time and I know it sounds cliché, but I did have the time of my life.


At the same time, I was also going through what was the start of the end of my long term relationship but I was having such a good time at Coachella I kind of stopped thinking of her that moment before going back to reality and having to deal with feelings and the end of a relationship.

On the note of new music, can fans expect anything new this year?


Yes! We have a remix in the works for Coachella and three new singles coming up! I am super excited to get these out but it's kind of scary to release music right now. But stay tuned because we will be releasing these songs very soon!

Finally, what have you been up to in the lockdown and where do you see yourself in five years?


Personally, I have been running outside a lot. I am super hyper, so I need to get out of the house. I painted my room, reorganized everything, it's been very satisfying to do all that. As for the band we have been working on the songs we are releasing and coming up with concepts for videos as well as filming them. Trying to stay active and creative even though sometimes I'm just itching to get out and play live!


I hope in five years we have returned to a sense of normalcy; the world feels different and scary right now. I just want to be happy, enjoy life and play my music.

The duo, specifically Vic has joined the ever-growing record of openly queer women in pop music such as King Princess, Janelle Monae and Hayley Kiyoko; who celebrate their identity throughout their work. With new music on the way, the duo can't wait to get back out and play live.