If you’ve been paying attention to the R&B that emanates from our fair city, you’ve probably heard things loosening up in recent years. Reesa Renee says you aren’t imagining things. “It used to be that you couldn’t perform a song without a go-go beat,” the rising singer says. “But now original work is appreciated in the city. Everyone feels comfortable being exactly who they are.”

Those rising comfort levels have helped Renee move through this reenergized scene with remarkable ease. But before she ever collaborated with Tabi Bonney, Visto, Pinky KillaCorn or any other local hip-hop hot-shots, she was making music alongside her big brother. Renee says she first started writing songs with her older sibling back in 2008, seeking catharsis after she’d lost two friends to an automobile accident. “I was shocked by what came out of my mouth,” she says of her earliest music. “I was shocked by how therapeutic it was.”

Today, Renee’s best songs feel light — her summery new single “Hello Mama” has the buoyancy of a pool toy — but fundamentally, she thinks of singing as a means of dislodging heavy memories. “I remember what everything feels like, smells like,” Renee says. “I feel so, so much — it’s overwhelming! But I want to take that and create from it. I’m a soul singer. That’s my job.”

At the Lifestyle Summer Fest on Saturday at Gateway DC. Event starts at 3 p.m. Tickets available at DTLR stores and eventbrite.com. $35.

With BJ the Chicago Kid, Elhae and Tish Hyman on Saturday at U Street Music Hall. Show starts at 7 p.m. ustreetmusichall.com. $20.