Lauren Isenberg Amazes NYC on ‘Dear Amelia’ Tour

Alt-pop princess renforshort headlines her first tour with a sold out crowd in Brooklyn



While mental health was a theme throughout the concert, the crowd was encouraged to sing and dance in a healthy way.


Lauren Isenberg (also known as renforshort … because her name is Lauren — it took me a second to realize it too) is a Toronto native who graced New York City with her presence at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn on Sept. 28. Although only 20 years old, she has already released two EPs and one album. 

Her debut album, “dear amelia,” came out on July 8 — followed by the “dear amelia” tour which began on Sept. 15 in Toronto. This might be her first headlining tour, but it’s not her first time on stage. Growing up, she performed at coffee shops, and she opened for YUNGBLUD on his U.K. tour last year. 

At the show, Ren expressed the concept behind the album by explaining how Amelia is both a character and manifestation of her self. Amelia’s purpose is to show her struggles, mostly internally, with mental health. She said that she wants the audience to have their own Amelia as well. Ren added that Amelia can be anyone — yourself, a friend or an imaginary character — as long as it gets emotions out.

Although the tour revolved around the new album, Ren played many songs from her first two EPs, including “fall apart” and “lust to love.” Not only were these crowd favorites, but the emotion in Ren’s voice was raw and full of melancholy. 

The theme of mental health stayed consistent throughout her performance, but the heartfelt messages didn’t take away from the crowd’s energy. Instead, we were encouraged to sing and dance in a healthy, safe space. We were all just as excited to hear about songs of anxiety and loneliness as we were to listen to songs of friendship and relationships.

Her sound has stayed consistent in her music — often described as a mix of Avril Lavigne and newcomer Olivia Rodrigo. 

Ren made a point to make sure everyone was having the best time, especially during the choruses. The energy was definitely there, both on stage and in the audience.

A highlight of the concert was the performance of “Julian, king of manhattan,” dedicated to Julian Casablancas of The Strokes. Ren explains the story of an imaginary friendship with the lead singer in New York City. Julian might not be the actual king of Manhattan, but on that Wednesday night, Ren was definitely the queen of Brooklyn. 

During the show, Ren interacted with the crowd and even brought a fan’s phone on stage, taking a video. She talked to the audience and made plenty of jokes, showing her sweet and charming personality. 

Toward the end of the show, she performed a soft piano ballad cover of “Where Is My Mind?” by Pixies, but the softness didn’t last long. Halfway through the song, Ren grabbed an electric guitar to add a crisp rock sound to the song. 

Ren said, “To everyone who was dragged here and don’t know who I am, you can enjoy this song and sing along.” Not everyone will go into a concert as a fan of the artist, but at this show, everyone left a renforshort admirer. 

She closed the show with her top hits, “fuck, i love my friends” and “i drive me mad.” After running off stage and coming back for an encore, she told the audience, “What kind of musician would I be if I didn’t play my most popular songs? That would just be a bad PR move.”

The crowd got the most excited and loud for the closing songs. Ren made a point to make sure everyone was having the best time, especially during the choruses. The energy was definitely there, both on stage and in the audience. 

Sometimes the only thing that unifies the fans and the artist is the music, but something special was in the air that night. Maybe it was the feeling of relatability due to the lyrical honesty. Or maybe it was the built-up excitement from waiting for years for this headlining tour. Whatever it was, I feel lucky to have been there, and even more so, I feel happy to have experienced a small but tightly knit community at the venue, even if it was only for an hour.