Prior to the Christmas season, Romeo Crow, London based singer-songwriter, spent some time chatting with me about his current musical and personal endeavors. It seems Romeo has been busy lately with various projects, globe trotting, and spreading his positive vibes wherever he may land. I invite you to take a moment to immerse yourself into the passion that drives him and his music!
Q: Hello Romeo! I hope all is well with you. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me!
A: You’re very welcome! Yep, I’m all good thanks; hope you are too?
Q: What’s going on with you these days? You’ve been traveling a lot, yes?
A: Yes, I’m very fortunate that both my wife and I have a passion for traveling and we often have the opportunity to do so; my wife is a travel consultant so she often has to travel for work (which therefore includes myself and our daughter!).
Q: How have your travels influenced your music?
A: I think traveling is pretty much the best thing anyone can do for their own growth and development. It opens one’s mind to so many new experiences and ideas, and helps create a far more balanced – and peaceful – world-view.
And therefore anything that helps one grow as a person can’t help but influence art that they then create, in whatever medium they choose to work.
So, though I can’t say that I’ve specifically brought Chinese instruments or Arabic scales into my music, all my traveling has, and continues to, help me grow as a person and, thus, as an artist.
Q: Tell me a little bit about your blog?
A: I love writing! But my great challenge is taking the time to do so. When I do post I try to make it about something specific for me, yet in a way that people can apply to their own situation.
And I always try to make it something positive, that people can take something useful from and, hopefully, apply it to their own lives.
This is always the way that, in general, I write my lyrics too.
Q: You’re quite diverse, Romeo in that you not only sing but you write your material You’ve written a book and you produce? How do you balance all of this?
A: With difficulty! I guess at the root of it all are two driving forces; a desire to help people to improve their own lives and the love of telling stories. Thus, though the delivery medium might change (e.g. blog, book, audio, visual, et) there is still a connection to the idea of improvement.
Of course not everything I do fits that, sometimes a song is just written to be a fun, entertaining song, but in general that’s the common thread.
In terms of the diverse things that I do (e.g. producing music, or filmmaking) they stem from the dual prongs of both loving the creative process, in whatever form, and necessity from not having the funds to pay someone else to do the job!
An example would be websites; I had to learn how to build them for myself because I couldn’t afford to pay someone else to do it.
The surprising thing for me was that the skills I developed to produce, distribute, or maintain my own work (such as building websites) became something others would approach me to do for them.
That’s when I realized that though sometimes we don’t feel like we’re on the exact path we want to be, [as if] we’re distracted learning something unrelated; it all forms our overall journey. [These things] can become valuable assets in their own right further down the line.
Q: On what are you currently working?
A: Following on from above, I’ve just finished a couple of client projects (making a music video for one artist and writing a song for an author’s book promotion) which hopefully means I can concentrate on producing a lot more of my own stuff!
I’ve (very ambitious!) plans to create and release a lot more music in 2016, a short film, a new novel and do a couple of small gig-tours. There are also a lot of other projects I’ve got in mind to sort out so it should be a very busy year!
Q: And regarding the production side of things, are there any projects you have produced which you are particularly fond?
A: I’m not a particularly strong producer, so every time I work on a new song (or any creative project for that matter) I try to learn to do something I’ve not done before. This both keeps me motivated and always learning.
The flip-side is that most of the work I do is outside of my “comfort zone” and therefore feels a bit rough round the edges – I’m pushing myself into new territory and don’t yet have the skills or experience to deliver on my vision.
Therefore I’m never totally satisfied with any project that I finished! That said though, I’m extremely proud to be able to do them in the first place, and I can certainly see improvements over time, so in that sense my whole career makes me proud; I can see myself constantly growing and improving and doing what I love.
Q: What’s going on in the London music scene now? Who do we need to keep under the radar?
A: To be honest the scene in London is pretty dire. There has been a thirty-five percent closure in live music venues in the last few years and I don’t think we’ve hit the bottom yet.
I’m not going to go into the reasons for it, but the net result is that it is even harder for artists and bands to build a fanbase from live gigging.
The positive side to the coin, however, is the rise of opportunities via the Internet, whether these be “live sessions” (such as Sofar Sounds) or direct-to-fan interaction across the planet, I believe there are actually more opportunities for artists to grow their fanbase than ever before. Just that the tools and methods to achieve it most efficiently have totally changed.
(all of that said, I did see a guy called Harry Pane recently who I thought was particularly good – so do check him out!).
Q: And where do you like to play? Are you an acoustic act for the coffeehouse scene or do you venture into the standing-room-only venues?
A: Extending on the above; this year I’ve not gigged at all. I do host a weekly open mic, so occasionally I’ll play one or two songs there, but I’ve been focused entirely online this year, which I believe is the efficient way to build a fanbase. But I do miss gigging!
So next year I plan to get gigging again and go on a couple of small tours. In terms of venues; I’ve played in standing-room-only over the years and they can be great for having excellent PAs, but equally the intimacy of playing solo in a small space can be just as rewarding.
Since I’m playing solo at the moment I imagine when I do play in 2016 it’ll be mostly small, private spaces, but we’ll see what happens!
Q: When I read over your blog page briefly, I get the idea that you are really looking to lift others and inspire. Is that part of your crusade in your work?
A: Thanks. Yes, absolutely. Underpinning all that I do is my belief that we can all grow and pursue our passions, we just sometimes need a little extra nudging in the right direction!
The tools and knowledge at the tips of our fingers (literally) in the Internet age is astounding. In my mind, there are very few reasonable excuses as to why someone can’t pursue their dreams.
But the main one, at the root of almost all reasons for not doing, is fear. And so I try to be as positive as I can, in both manner and my art. Hopefully, [I] help people put aside their fears and start moving towards their dreams.
Q: Do you ever collaborate with other musicians or writers?
A: I’ve not really had the time to in the past year or so, but I’m hoping to do a lot more co-writing next year, both with artists and producers, so watch this space!
Q: Lastly, Romeo what continues to fuel your passion for what you do?
A: Two things; my family and me! And, since I hope to have both for the rest of my life, I don’t see me ever running out of fuel!
Q: Thanks again for taking your time to talk. Anything else you’d like to add?
A: You are very welcome indeed. Thanks for the wonderful questions, I really enjoyed answering them and hope I didn’t bore your readers too much!
And cheers for reading this far, I really appreciate your time and interest! – Romeo
Written by: Amanda Knight
All photos copyright/courtesy of Romeo Crow