RØMANS is 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, and Clean Bandits. RØMANS’ distinctive sound encompasses a blend of pop, R&B, rock, and electro, united by a rich voice that can reach spirit-searing heights.
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 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.”
RØMANS grew up in Pinner, Middlesex, and it wasn’t just the fact that Elton John was also born and raised there that made Captain Fantastic a musical hero. “My real education in music was from my mum, who was a complete music lover in that era where I’ve drawn all my influences from. She really educated me in Elton and Bowie and Cat Stevens and Elton John and so many different artists. Obviously that’s where all my tastes come from…”
If you look at his Instagram, you’ll find him posting photos of old-school heroes like Leon Russell. But “although the bulk of my influence is from the golden age,” he says, “I also grew up in this music technology revolution, and educated myself in making music at a time where suddenly you could make a song from a laptop.”