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Songwriter tells OTC students about his big break

Kevin Renick calls it a “cosmic coincidence” when the St. Louis songwriter refers to the tremendous break he got when he wrote a song entitled “Up in the Air.”

“I was handed a music career,” said Renick, who spoke to several music and songwriting classes and the general public at OTC recently.

Renick told students that he wrote the song months before it was announced that George Clooney was making a movie that happened to have the same title as Renick’s song.

“I had been laid off from my job as an advertising proofreader and wrote a song about life’s struggles and uncertainty. That just happened to be what the movie was about,” he said.

The coincidences continued when Renick learned that the movie’s director, Jason Reitman, was in St. Louis filming the movie and was holding a lecture there one night. Renick recorded his song on a cassette tape the night before the lecture and brought it with him to Reitman’s appearance.

During the question and answer period of the event, Renick worked up the nerve to stand up and ask Reitman if he’d like to hear a song with the same title as the movie. Reitman said yes and six months later, movie producers contacted Renick about putting the song in the movie.

Renick’s original version from the cassette tape was used in the movie.

Since then, Renick has been able to concentrate on his music, and in 2008, he began performing in public after battling decades of stage fright.

“I was too chicken to perform on stage,” he said.

But Renick performed in a backup position, playing at a small St. Louis coffee shop. He was so impressive that the owner asked him to come back alone and perform more shows. Renick agreed, over came his fears and now performs and lectures around the region.

While technology has made music recording and distribution easier, it can’t gain someone a hit song, according to Renick.

“I’m an old guy and you do it with both determination and as a craft. For some, the timing is just right, but you need to watch out for the coincidences in your life, too,” he said.


College Director of Communications

Phone: 417.447.2655


Steve Koehler

Coordinator of Publications

Phone: (417) 447-2666


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