ROMANS’ well-considered, artful power makes it clear that there is very little he isn’t prepared to do. On his debut album, ROMANS takes soul, rock and pop both forward and backwards in time. By synthesizing the rich, full organs of classic Motown with the clean, gated reverb of the soul inspired hits of the ‘80’s and the space age effects of cutting edge recording and production he nearly obliterates it completely. With a voice that rumbles with a passionate growl that communicates the rich emotional history of classic soul, rougher around the edges than his peers but still universally relatable, ROMANS’ debut defies and diversifies the genre that his sound is perhaps most akin to, and the tracks which he wrote, produced, and recorded entirely on his own, represent what is only the very beginning of the young musicians career. While it might be ROMANS’ strong, full vocals and timeless lyrics that stand out on first listen, the varied landscapes creates a sound that uses a foundation in a variety of musical traditions that is simultaneously absolutely fresh and undeniably grounded in sonic history.
ROMANS has a lot of tools at his disposal: he’s a self-taught multi-instrumentalist who started playing drums as a child “as an excuse to bunk off lessons at school.” The singer, producer, and songwriter was raised on music in more ways than one, and so it’s no surprise that his escape plan quickly turned into more, and, as he says, he became “absolutely obsessed.” In the years that followed, ROMANS taught himself to play guitar, cello, piano, and saxophone, and after leaving school at 16, with the technological music revolution in full swing, he taught himself to produce, and has spent the last decade learning to push the boundaries of songwriting to reflect the opportunities afforded by the digital age. He honed his songwriting expertise with compositions for artists like Beyoncé and Rihanna, and his collaborations with such varied talents as Mary J. Blige and One Direction both proved his versatility and expanded his repertoire, proving that there's nothing this young artist isn't capable of.
ROMANS grew up in the historically musical English town of Pinner, the place that also birthed Sir Elton John (who also happens to be one of his heroes), and was raised by a mother who spent her formative years following around Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. She made sure that music was an integral part of her son’s upbringing, and her influence has had an undeniable effect on his songwriting. “I think I’ve worked out a way to subconsciously use all of these influences I have, from Elton John, to the Beatles, to classical music, to Led Zeppelin, and hip hop, to basically put myself on autopilot,” ROMANS says, adding, “and that’s what I do, I just write until it feels good.”
This confidence, and the complex sound that it creates, is quite an accomplishment for an artist on his first solo record, but more than that, it’s a promising sign pointing to an artist with a rich and varied career ahead of him. Even when his songs take on difficult, complex subjects — of faith and belonging and heartbreak, like on “I’m Not The Father,” or of self-actualization, as on “Life in Monochrome,” — ROMANS’ rich voice and compelling composition has an undeniable groove. About his future, ROMANS knows anything is possible, but that possibility creates in him more fuel than fear. “I’ve been fortunate enough to collaborate with some amazing artists, producers and songwriters in the worlds best studios,” he says, “but for this album I really needed to do it for myself."