R&B’s Newfound Hero: Romonta
So of course we pride ourselves in keeping the readers informed on the hottest talent and those creating that buzz. When I saw this brother Romonta on Facebook at an event keeping the crowd engaged and showcasing a style merging elements of up-top and down-south, our interest was piqued! The artist Romonta was born and raised in Hampton, Virginia, and from the living room of family functions to gospel group in high school, to treading a hallowed path reserved by a few at the world famous Apollo Theater, Romonta knew without a shadow of a doubt that this is where he belonged. It’s oh so evident when he talks about his music and the opportunity to do what he loves, he views it as a gift.
CW: How are you today?
R: Doing great, how are you guys?
CW: Doing well brother. We keep hearing about this one brother coming out of the VA named Romonta, so we had to reach out and find about what all the buzz is about! Reading up on you, we found out that your first “stage” was at a family function, and then at every function after-wards. You gotta share with us that vivid memory!
R: Oh man…you know those type of events when the family gets together and the music, and everybody’s enjoying themselves after they’ve finished eating. They call you into the room, and whoever is the funniest, or the entertainer of the group. They ask you to sing and entertain the family and have a good time. Well, that seems to be myself and some cousins. So I was asked to sing or dance, and from doing that so much, I really started gravitating to that. Being the jokester, singing acting, creating that sense of humor. That’s been my trait ever since.
CW: So you got a chance to hone your craft amongst your family members. Well we also found out that you have some Gospel roots as well. How has that matured your unique sound?
R: Well I think especially when you are dealing with R&B and Soul, a lot of that stems from our Gospel roots, and Gospel doesn’t necessarily mean it’s coming specifically from the church. It’s the tones and the vibe, and with my music, being born and raised in the church, it allows me to create a certain vibe to where that Southern feel (he hits a run during the interview…wow!) but you can feel it. But not only the vibe of the voice and the tone, but the things that I would write about and sing about, being raised in the church gave me direction and a certain format. While I mostly do R&B, that foundation definitely created: 3.50
Well you can tell with your music, the Gospel is prevalent. So, I have to ask, there was a statement made: R&B’s Newfound Hero…explain!
R: Right, well there was a time, not too long ago, they (people) were saying that R&B needed a hero, and that R&B was falling off. This was during the era of Hip Hop vs. R&B. Even with marketing. Hip hop became mainstream in marketing, commercials and fashion. So therefore the place for R&B was starting to dwindle, it was selling as many records. So I figured with me bringing that real culture of R&B, or actually keeping with that real culture of R&B, I considered myself to be that new-found hero, who would keep that culture. The Carl Thomas, Dave Hollister, Luther Vandross, John Legend…and Joe…a lot of these people wasn’t selling records like they used to. My vibe, my focus was to carry that torch, so every time I perform or anything I would do,, it would still keep that authentic sound of real R&B.
CW: You’ve performed on some very recognizable stages (Apollo, BET 106 and Park) What do you feel before you step on stage?
R: It’s a mixed feeling, for one excited. My adrenaline is pumping, like I drank a Red Bull (plug) But I feel excited, just that everything is leading up to be on 106 and Park. So long watching tv and watching other artists perform, now I’m actually on the studio set, or backstage about to perform on Apollo. So yeah, I’m excited. More than anything, some people ask “do you get scared?” Do you have butterflies?” Not necessarily, because in my mind, I’ve prepared so much, so long for that moment that I’m not scared. I’m excited to be able to entertain, to perform on a stage that I’ve been wanting to be on for so long.
CW: Ok so, with songs such as “Slow Motion”, “Many Many Miles”, “Mind Sex”, “In the Bathroom” and “Turn Back” what is Romonta’s inspiration? Is there a special muse or element that helps you create such lyrical masterpieces?
R: Ah…I would say everything. I listen to conversations, and social media is huge, it gives you so much material to write about and think about so I use that. So many different things that I like to write about and go different directions. Like the song “Many Miles” there are so many people that love somebody that may be in the military, they can’t get to them to see them every day, so these are the conversations and situations I go to, and even myself personally. I’ve been through it, so I write about it. Something that when you hear it in the lyrics, it can be touching.
CW: Today artists are very involved with their craft and other industry based endeavors, yet you are very connected with the community. Please…share with us that part of your life. People see the glitz and glamor, but share that side of you.
R: I am definitely an advocate of my community. I’ve been going to a lot of schools and youth programs within my area of Virginia talking to kids because there are things that I see that need to be addressed. I mean it’s already been addressed publicly, but if I can give my input to create some kind of inspiration amongst my community then I’m going to do so. And I don’t care what it takes; I want to make a difference. I think my music and me being an advocate work hand in hand. From my music it puts me on a stage for many, and puts me in a position to where now, instead of just talking to 30 people, I’m able to speak to hundreds, because now they are listening to my music, I can say, “Hey, thank you for your support, now go vote.” Or hey thank you for your support, young men we’ve got to do better.” Thank you for your support, young ladies, let be wiser in the decisions that we make with choosing your mates.
CW: What can we expect from Romonta? How can our readers get to know more about you?
R: Well special shout out to all the readers! And man…Urban Tymes, y’all are doing big things and I’m glad to be a part of the interview and building cycle what you guys are doing. You guys are doing a great job! We’re going to be touring, actually I’ve got some more music, I’ve got a project that you can go to my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Romonta7, and my Reverbnation page at: https://www.reverbnation.com/romonta or just Google me. The project is called “Good Morning, Good Night” Good morning is about eight to nine songs of romance & love. Good night is eight to nine songs of sex and passion. So you get the best of both worlds, two different CDs in one project. And I’m working on a whole bunch of different stuff with new artists, traveling, as we are on this marketing promo tour hitting Atlanta, DC, Charlotte, different areas, so stay tuned, we are going to be doing some big things!