Jeremy Renner is one of the biggest movie stars in the world, but fans may be surprised to learn the actor didn’t always dream of being on film sets.
“My family was my first love, and then music,” he told PEOPLE exclusively on Wednesday at the unveiling of his new summer television campaign — which features several new tracks sung by Renner — with Jeep. “Acting came into my brain around 20. Music has always been my first love as far as something other than my family.”
Growing up, the Avengers actor, 48, was always drawn to music and taught himself to play the piano, guitar and drums.
“When I was 12, I remember I was in my house and during the summer we cut out instruments and painted a keyboard and drums all made of cardboard,” says Renner. “I put on a show and I charged my sister a dollar and all her friends a dollar to come in and watch us play cardboard instruments. I think I made five bucks!”
The star feels at home both on a movie set and in a studio, but the one thing that “makes [music] greater is that I get to stay here in my home and do it and get to be around the people I love,” says Renner, who’s a doting dad to 6-year-old daughter Ava. “During my other love, which is movies, it takes me away.”
Starring in a series of commercials that debut three new singles — “Main Attraction,” “Nomad,” and “Sign” — Renner worked with Spy Guys director Jeff Tomsic to bring his and Jeep’s vision to life.
“He’s not just the on-screen action hero. He is a true Renaissance man with talents that go well beyond acting, as he continues to show us with the introduction of his new music, which is authentic, honest rock ‘n’ roll, and aligns with the same spirit and philosophy of the Jeep brand,” says FCA chief marketing officer Olivier Francois.
“It took a lot of time in the studio to make music that kind of made this even sort of happen, and then the will of Olivier,” says Renner about writing and recording the tracks, which he describes as “Imagine Dragons meets Queen.” Adds the star: “I love both of those bands very much.”
Renner — who creates music at his home studio in Los Angeles — certainly isn’t giving up acting any time soon, but the Oscar nominee says he’s finally comfortable releasing his musical work.
As for rumors he’s going to be dropping a full album someday soon?
“There’s a bunch of music written. That’s all I know,” he demurs. “There’s a bunch of music written, and that’s a future thing. I’m happy to share music now, which I wasn’t before.”
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