Posted On 10 Nov 2015
Tag: Across The Universe, Alabama Shakes, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, allaccessmusicnicole, Alzheimers, Artist, Artist Interview, Beatles, Bob Dylan, classical music, composers, Fugees, Gorgon City, Jay-Z, Motown, music interview, Musician, Overthinking Part 1, Roc Nation, ROMANS, Tame Impala, The Agony And The Ecstasy, The Beatles, The Fugees, The Score, Uh Huh
Never mind the plural-sounding name: RØMANS is a singular talent, in every way. That’s the nom de plume for the artist known in his extramusical life as Sam RØMANS, an English multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and producer who’s heretofore been known for his behind-the-scenes work with artists like John Legend, Disclosure, Mary J. Blige, AlunaGeorge, Olly Murs, Naughty Boy, Kwabs, and several as yet-unreleased collaborations. He’s emerging as a front man in his own right with the release of Overthinking—Part 1, a four-song preview of his full debut album being released in the fall by the Roc Nation label.
In many ways RØMANS is typical of what’s coming out of England right now… which is to say, really atypical of any specific genre or scene, beyond the indisputable necessity of invoking the word “soul.” If you’ve loved British exports like Adele, Sam Smith, or Amy Winehouse, you’ll certainly have an affinity for RØMANS distinctively encompassing blend of pop, R&B, rock, and electro, united by a rich voice that can reach spirit-searing heights or just have you nodding “Uh Huh,” to name his determinedly percussive debut single.
Despite having an unmistakable vocal gift, RØMANS had determined to stay behind the scenes, until fate and label executives decreed otherwise. “The plan was to get the songs placed” with other artists, says Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith, co-founder of Roc Nation.
“But when I heard them I knew no one else could sing these like RØMANS. I can’t wait for everyone to hear his music.”
RØMANS had three tracks on Mary J. Blige’s 2014 London Sessions album, a la another contributor to Blige’s project, Sam Smith, who similarly staked a claim as a writer before becoming emboldened as a singer. “I don’t think I would have had a chance if I hadn’t spent eight years writing songs every day for different people,” he says. When he signed with Roc Nation in 2014, it was, indeed, as a writer-producer, initially. Collaborating with Naughty Boy on the track “Home,” he envisioned it as something that Cee-Lo might sing. And then multiple light bulbs went off around him: Wouldn’t it be, well, crazy to replace a scratch vocal that gloriously good? “I was convinced to stay on it,” RØMANS says, “and then at that stage signed a record deal. I’d really had the intention of finding someone to take these songs, someone who I could develop behind the scenes. And that obviously ended up being me.”
All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa had a chance to catch up with the multi-talented singer-songwriter and producer, RØMANS. Enjoy their interview below!
Hi Sam! How are you? What’s on the agenda today besides our interview?
I’m just on the way home from rehearsing with my band, I was in the studio with an artist last night until 3am and then was woken up by my daughter at 7am, so I’m exhausted.
For those that are not as familiar with you and your music, how did you get your start? Who or what was the catalyst for you lead the life of a musical gypsy?
I prefer the term “musical wizard”. I’ve been working in music since leaving school at 16. I spent a long time making terrible music and meeting terrible people and having limited to no success. My lucky break was being signed by Jay Z and Roc Nation.
You just released a short film for your album and the title track, “The Agony and The Ecstasy”. The piece is inspired by your experience with Alzheimer’s and dementia in your family. Can you tell me a bit about that and how you came up with the treatment for the video?
“It’s something I’ve had a lot of experience with in my family. I wanted to make a piece of music that effectively sounded like Alzheimer’s. The story and then the treatment for the video were the easy parts, I’d had the main lyric for a while and I knew what to say. The music was a bit trickier.”
Who have been your inspirations growing up that also inspire you today?
The Beatles, Dylan, Bowie, various Motown artists and classical composers.
What was the first album that you remember purchasing for yourself?
The Fugees - The Score
What was the first song you fell in love with and why?
“Across The Universe” by The Beatles is one I always remember. It’s perfect. I thought that when I first heard it and still think it now.
Who is in your current playlist? What artists or bands are in current rotation for you?
I don’t get a lot of time to listen to music outside of the studio. But the two albums I’ve bought recently are Alabama Shakes and Tame Impala.
As a producer and songwriter, you have worked with so many talented artists including: Mary J. Blige, Naughty Boy, Clean Bandit, Sigma, Kwabs and Birdy to name a few. Additionally, you were featured on “Home” off Naughty Boy’s debut album, Hotel Cabana. Who would you love to collaborate with next?
Well, I recently collaborated with Gorgon City. I was just supposed to be writing with them for their album, but I did vocals for the track and it worked, so I stayed on it.
“I think until recently there was a stigma with featuring on someone else’s track, as if it was a cop-out or an easy route, but that’s bullshit. I’d gladly feature again, I hope I always will. In a world where people listen to music on 5 different services, you need to keep releasing content, and collaboration is a good way of keeping things fresh.”
What’s on tap next for you Sam? What are you most excited about for this year?
Working with more amazing people on their music and started my second album.
To stay up to date with RØMANS, visit him via his socials below!
WEBSITE // FACEBOOK // TWITTER // SOUNDCLOUD