The first time I caught Romain Virgo live was in 2010, and to get to the concert I had to travel to south Italy, which took about six hours. But that was my only chance to see this acclaimed, young Jamaican singer live in my country. And believe me – it was worth the long journey. In October 2012, however, his European tour was set to pay a visit to my area, and I couldn’t miss out on the great opportunity to have a chat with him about his latest album, the dancehall scene and his future projects. Your music career is young and you started some years ago and have already achieved a lot.
You have worked with artists such as Etana and Busy Signal. Is there any important collaboration in your future plans? Which artist would you like to collaborate with?
A lot of them! I think I have a done a lot, and I’m looking forward to do many more. I want to collaborate with people like Beres Hammond, Tarrus Riley and some other great singers in Jamaica, especially some of the singers at Penthouse. And young artists. I have done collaborations with a few, such as Protoje, Chris Martin, which is coming soon, Exco Levi, Timeka Marshall.
I also want to collaborate with some Jamaican international artists like Shaggy, Sean Paul and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley.
But sometimes it’s hard when everybody wants just to run and collaborate with you, and they [the artists] want to see some the farmers crops grow first, I’m just trying to make music rich as far as I can and I look forward to everything that will come, all the collaborations.
In your songs you often sing about current reality topics such as the economic situation of Jamaica and troubles that people has to face every day. What do you think about the current situation worldwide?
When I think about this I’m struggled right now, you know this world economic crisis is not only in Jamaica, it’s worldwide, and I know Italy is having its hard time as well as all the countries in Europe. I know America is having a rough time as well, so does many countries around the world. That’s why we have to put out our music, and try to sing songs that everybody can relate to. Everybody is going through their hard times and my aim is always to sing about something that I know is going on around the world and people can relate to it. I think that in the world today, every country, every city, have their own problems and we have to sing songs to kind of motivate people and let them know that hope is there and once you continue to work then definitely everything will be resolved in time. We just have to continue to sing positive music, uplifting music, as always and look out for great things.
On your latest album, “The System”, you dedicated a beautiful song to your mother. How much have your mother and your family influenced your life and your career choices?
I grew up with my mother and she has been there like a 150 percent of my life. I know my father but I didn’t grow up with him. I grew with my mommy in a one bedroom house. I remember we used to sleep in a one bedroom house with my brother, my sister and my great grandmother, and the love that I have and the respect that I have for my mother will never die. When I go to the studio to record a song I always make sure that it’s something positive, that it’s something that I can feel proud about, and not something I will hold on or hide and feel shame about. Everything that I do in life I want her to feel proud about. She’s probably the most important person in my life and there are so many things that she shows me, so many things that she teach me and still live with me wherever I go. And I kind of use her concepts whenever I find myself in difficult times or anything I remember what she always taught me, that’s why I say “thank you mama for all the pain for bringing me here”. I love her!
Considering the numerous dancehall productions growing on the island what do you think that can be done to improve the growth of reggae music and emerging artists?
We need more young artists, more young people like myself to take it serious. You know I do dancehall music, nothing is wrong with the music. I think Jamaica is full of talent and we are a country that is rich in culture with dancehall and reggae music, but I think everybody can’t be doing the same things and once you balance the music our music can live for long. I think there are lots of young artists, talented young artists, talented young bands, that are coming up in Jamaica. I think once we get that exposure, once everybody get up and share, the music will definitely live on because we have too much talent in reggae music for people out there in the world to say that reggae music is not growing. I think that we have to take it more serious, we have to think about the people who created the business. I think we need to let them be proud, think about them and think where they would want the music to reach. I don’t think reggae music will ever die, but we need more people to sing reggae music and to be doing reggae music, more young people.
What do you think about the music from the new Jamaican phenomenon Tommy Lee?
Whenever a new dancehall artist emerges, they come with a different style. His style is different, I would definitely say. You know everybody have their own opinion, but lot of people seems to accept him in the business, and his style is kind of different from anything that anybody else has ever done in the business. I don’t know but my focus is reggae music still, I mean, probably a hardcore dancehall artist could give you a better answer but I think people seems to like his style and like his music and so…
We saw you cry on the stage of Rebel Salute. The people in Jamaica and in Europe love you and follow you. After your latest album what will be your next project?
Right now The System is out there and we just really touring the album and we try to make the music reach out to people and perform the music live. We are doing a lot of music videos for songs from the album right now. There are also other singles coming out and we have just released a few singles in Jamaica. That’s the focus right now – promoting the album, promoting singles until the next album comes around.
My dream, my aim, my focus is always to put out hit songs, so that people really know the song and not crowd the market with too much music. I never want to confuse my fans. All I want is people to know the music, so give it time, we just taking our time and trying to get the music to reach out to people. Those looking for the next album will probably have to wait two years from now. Today it’s about music videos and just promoting the album while on tour and get to go to places around the world that I’ve never been to. I went to the UK for the very first time this year, I went to Japan for the very first time this year and I’m looking forward to places like Africa in the future.
I tour and try to build a career. I know it’s still young and it’s is growing. I want to reach to the same level as some of our past artists have, like Bob Marley or Dennis Brown. I always wanted to reach to that level, but you know it’s hard work, so we just take our time and just grow the music.
SOURCE: united reggae