ROME is the passionate producer-rapper from South-East London.

What’s your background and where are you from?

My mum was born in Westmoreland, Jamaica and she came over here when she was 12. She originally lived in The Midlands and then she came to London and met my pops who was born in West London around White City. His mum and dad are Grenadian. I say I’m from the world because I live in London and we have so many different cultures here. My friends are Muslim, and Christian and they are from different parts of the world. When I say I’m from the world of course I’m a Black British man with Jamaican roots but the world is your oyster and I embrace different things and cultures. 

How did you start getting into music?

The first time I went to Jamaica on holiday I was four and there was an open mic at the resort hotel. For no reason at all, I got up to perform and sang Old McDonald. My parents were flabbergasted that I went up and did that because I had never shown any indication that I would do something like that or I was interested in performing and from then they decided to invest in my talent. They got me piano lessons and drum lessons and that ignited the spark so I’d say my path to making music started from the point 

What artists or things inspire your music?

There are so many and it’s such a range from people like Jamiroquai and Disclosure to Kendrick Lamar. All these people had an impact on how I think and how I see music.

Do you have a specific message you try to send with your music?

In all my songs I say ‘we weren’t built in a day’ which links to my name and the saying Rome wasn’t built in a day. A few days ago I was listening to my old stuff and could see the progression. We’re not the finished products, the man I was is not the man I am today. For example, Skepta was doing grime sets in a basement and now he’s just had his own runway show in London Fashion Week, that’s the embodiment of we were not built in a day. So that’s why in every single song I say that.

What is your creative process, how do you go about producing and writing songs?

If we’re talking about producing I feel like I’m a perfectionist, I will make beats for ages and if it doesn’t sound right I will just be like okay cool that was an idea and move on to the next one until I feel it’s the right one. It just has to feel and sound right, everything from the sample to the drums. The drums are the most important thing as the drums are the movement of the track, as a rapper the drums dictate your whole flow. if you have a 140 grime BPM the snares and how they hit is a completely different sound to a Jersey sound or a Drill sound. So I’ve understood now that drums are so important, and everything else comes second. Melodies obviously are very huge but they provide thought whereas drums provide movement. When you hear a certain melody you hear a certain chord and your body feels a certain thing, maybe you are feeling euphoric or nostalgic, whereas the drums are what makes you move and that’s the balance that I’ve gotten to now.

If you had to pick one favourite project or song what would you pick and why?

Everything I’ve done has been so different it’s really hard to pick a favourite as there’s a whole range. I’ve done singing, I’ve done rapping, I’ve done Jersey beats and also West Coast beats so it’s hard to pick a favourite. I would probably say Don Perignon is my favourite because that was like the first time I thought let me try and make a song people will listen to and the whole creative process was crazy. I wanted to do a crazy music video but I didn’t have the budget for it so I got my friends and I put our names and faces onto a game. When you hear the song you think about the 2000’s so I thought let me put me and my boys in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and it just matched the theme and the aesthetic of the song.

If you could work with any artist in the scene right now who would you pick?

Fred Again, his production is crazy and he just gets it and understands the scene. I know whatever I’d make would be with him whether it’s a garage track or a house track or anything it would be the coldest thing ever.

Have you done any or many performances in the past?

I’ve done lots of performances, I’ve been doing music seriously for two years. I used to do open mics a lot, I love doing open mics. I would do about four shows every month. After doing open mics, people hear about you through word of mouth and invite you to go to other events. Promoters also try to get you to do other things and other rappers invite you to shows. I did a show every week and I just built from there. I tallied up every show that I went to and I learnt different things from each one. I did shows where there were a hundred people in a room and shows where there were two people in a room. The ones where there were two people in the room were the hardest.

Do you have any pre-performance rituals to calm your nerves?

I always do a little prayer and you just handle the butterflies, it’s just a natural feeling the only thing I can compare it to is being a boxer. I don’t know why, but I imagine it to be like before you go into the ring and you’re doing your ring walk and everyone’s watching you. So I have my friends around me and pray to make sure everything goes well and show thanks for the opportunity and just go on and kill it.

Can you share with us any embarrassing moments that have happened on the stage or what was your best performance?

 I’ve not had anything embarrassing happen to me but I don’t want to jinx myself. I’m not saying there have been times when I’ve made mistakes and messed up my words but if I mess up just continue going. No one’s gonna know that you’ve messed up If you just carry on. 

The best performance I did was my headline show back in February. It was the best because I did everything myself. I had learned from all the shows I had done before so I knew what to do to make the perfect show. I understood what the promoters do and thought I was going to do this differently to really maximise the quality. My promotion strategy, my marketing strategy, and the branding were all really thought I even had a little pop-up shop. I really put a lot of thought into the night. It was very stressful because I thought that the show might get cancelled because the speakers were not working but everything came through at the end. The moment I performed I was looking around and thought  all these people were here for me  and it just hit me. My mum and dad were there and I looked at my mom and I had never seen her look as proud in her whole life as she did at that moment.That feeling and that moment I will never forget.

Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like people to know about?

I’ve got a single coming out on the first of October. The song is called ‘Alhamdulillah’. I made the beat for that one and it’s a playful, fun vibe. I just want to get it out there. I’ve got another single coming out in November with my boys and I am also currently planning for my next ‘Rave with Rome’

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