Behind every great song, there’s an even greater songwriter who rarely gets the accolades . In the case of Priscilla Renea a.k.a Muni Long, she has spent over a decade writing some of the most iconic hits of the 2010’s such as Rihanna’s “California King Bed” and Fifth Harmony’s “Worth It” while also appearing on album credits of artists like Demi Lovato, Madonna and Chris Brown.
In 2019, she decided to put the pen down and leave what she described as the “thankless” job of songwriting. Soon after, Muni Long created her own label and released her latest project, “Black Like This.” From her humble beginnings on YouTube to signing to Capitol Records at 18, her longevity in the game is no small feat. As she steps in front of the curtain the claim the spotlight, she is also embracing the freedom to finally show the versions of herself she felt she had to keep hidden.
I spoke with Muni Long about navigating this next phase of her career despite the pandemic and embracing her own path in our conversation below!
Last year, you released your debut, “Black Like This” and then this pandemic happens. How did it feel starting a new aspect of your career in the midst of it all?
I had convinced my old tour manager and an old family friend to come together and start this label with me. In January of 2020, we decided to go to Atlanta. When I finished on March 15th that was the day that Atlanta shut down…So we all decided we could pause and just see how long this lasts, or we could power through. I was in my bag because I work really well under pressure. I saw it as an opportunity. If everybody’s sitting at home chilling and I keep going, by the time everything opens back up, I’ll have built this whole thing and that’s exactly what happened. That was a very long-winded way to say I just decided not to quit because the world was shut down. I just decided to use it to motivate me.
You made mention of starting your own label. Did you release your EP under that?
Yes, we started a label called Supergiant Records. Super Giant is the largest star in the sky. I just wanted to be able to put out my own music, have it look professional, and have a team behind me that was making sure that I had the same shot as the people who I was previously working for. It’s like, if you at eating Maestro’s every night, you don’t want to go back to eating Applebee’s. I got to see behind the veil so it’s hard for me to accept mediocre because I know what it looks like to get the A-List. I’ve been told like why are you too polished, you’re not relatable enough. I’m just like baby you ain’t telling me nothing…this is what I like and I’m not about to go backwards because y’all don’t understand.
Why would they say that you’re not relatable?
I think that people just say that when something is unfamiliar. When they haven’t seen it before, they can’t peg it as something compared to something. It’s been my experience for the last decade. It’s hard for people to understand how you could be cute, Black, young, have this skill, have a vision. They want to know where it’s coming from if they can’t match you with someone and say, okay, makes sense. I’m sure there’s at least two or three girls out there just like me and I need to just stay doing what I’m doing so they can find me.
You’ve been signed since the age of 18. In your opinion, what does it takes for an artist to have longevity?
Longevity has nothing to do with whether or not people on the outside know you’re still around. It’s really just do you decide to continue and in what way and what path do you choose to take.
If you had the chance to tell your 18 year old self anything, what would you say?
Take advice with a grain of salt, you know what you’re doing. Keep doing it, follow that light. Also, I would have kept making my YouTube videos because once I got popping off of it, everyone told me to stop… I just knew that I had fun making those videos so I always try to ask myself when I’m doing something now; Does it make me happy? Does it bring me joy? If it makes me feel happy in life, I go for it. I wish I had had the wherewithal to continue making my videos even though I had so much resistance back then because if I had, my following wouldn’t be so difficult now to build. I could have had that the crazy built-in audience already.
Is Muni Long a stark contrast between Priscilla?
I think Muni Long is the deeper parts of myself but also, I am very sexual person. I am very out there with the way that I think and how I process life, but she can’t do that when you’re a songwriter you have to just dial it back…So, Muni Long is actually me. It’s kind of like when Miley transitioned from Hannah Montana to Miley people were like; “why are you so wild and crazy?” So this is just me, this who I am. Gold teeth, nose rings, wild, super ghetto and loving it. I couldn’t be that before because it would have just taken away from my ability to actually get cuts.
Overall, how has this reintroduction process been for you?
I’m just focused on making the best experience everyday; taking advantage of opportunities like this, when I get to speak to people who want to tell my story. I also just have to create this magnetism within myself that draws the people to me that are supposed to support me and help me on this journey. I don’t think I’m going to have anything in front of me that I’m not ready for yet. As I continue to grow on the inside, I think my impact will grow on the outside.
Stream Muni Long’s latest track, “Luv Kanye” below.