This youth right here is the future of reggae. Don't sleep
Romain Virgo began singing in his local church choir as a youngster after his talent was spotted by a neighbour. During high school, he became lead singer of the school’s choir, with whom he finished runners-up on Jamaica’s nationally televised competition, All Together, in 2006.
Following encouragement from people who saw him lead the choir, Romain entered the soloist equivalent, Rising Stars, later that year. Unfortunately, he failed to make it to the finals, but the confidence gained from positive feedback helped the then 17 year-old try again in 2007. Not only did he make it through, he became the youngest singer to win the competition.
Since winning, the singer-songwriter has gone on to become one of the most promising young reggae singers, currently working under the wing of legendary producer Donovan Germain. Germain’s Penthouse record label has been very influential to the careers of some of reggae and dancehall’s biggest artists and producers from previous decades including Beres Hammond, Garnett Silk, Wayne Wonder, Sanchez, Buju Banton and producer Dave Kelly.
Virgo thanks his mother for playing the likes of Bob Marley, Alton Ellis, Sanchez, Beres Hammond to Michael Jackson, Percy Sledge and Marvin Gaye, which he credits as a contributing factor to people describing his songs as having an ‘old soul’ feel.
A range of mature topics can be heard on the 20 year-old’s self-titled debut album; songs such as Virgo’s smash hit ‘Can’t Sleep’ details the troubles with living amongst young gun men in the ghetto, empathises with less fortunate employees struggle on ‘Who Feels It, Know’s It’, offers advice on ‘Be Careful’ (interpolates Bob Marley’s ‘Time Will Tell’), ‘As The Money Done’ warns fellow males of gold diggers, break-up on ‘Walking Out On You’, to serenading that special lady on ‘Taking You Home’.
Marvin Sparks caught up with Romain Virgo to discuss life after winning Rising Stars. He opens up about lacking of confidence, nerves during his first session with Donovan Germain, the importance of social commentary over sing-a-long songs and his debut album, Romain Virgo.
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Love Doctor is a big tune but Who Feels It Knows It is my favourite tune of his. One thing that makes reggae singer stand out from singers in other genres is the social-commentary aspect. Can't be dealing with love songs 24/8 Sunday-Sunday. Bun that. Give me some reality
Found this footage on YouTube of a concert at Rototom Festival in Valencia, Spain this year
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And while you're over at SoulCulture check out Tahirah's flashback review on Bob Marley's album 'Exodus'. Trust me, it is sick!