“My message is love, in whatever I do. I think people, my fans, see me as a lover drunk singer maybe because I sing a lot of love songs. Ninety percent of the songs are love songs.” – Romain Virgo in an interview.
Romain Virgo will be performing at the first annual YOWronto Music Festival, in Toronto, Canada on July 1, 2017.
YOWronto Music Festival is a music extravaganza, in its first annual season, launching this year to coincide with the celebration of Canada’s 150th year of Confederation.
This Festival will be held at Woodbine Mall on Saturday July 1, and Sunday July 2, 2017, and will boast a variety of activities as a tribute to Canada’s diversity.
The YOWronto Music Festival will have performances from various music genres including International performing artistes Baby Cham, Tessanne Chin, Alison Hinds, Lieutenant Stitchie, Eric Donaldson, and Professor Nuts.
A host of Canadian performing artistes such as Kim Davis, Jay Harmony, Michie Mee, Jimmy Reid, Ammoye, Tasha T, Xola, Aquilla Roots, Blessed, Elle Trema, Carlos Morgan, Jason Lindo, Tony Anthony, Kenny C, Captain Love, and many more will be included to complete the event and its purpose. Wally British will make a Special appearance and the event will be hosted by some of the Greater Toronto Area’s (GTA’s) best radio and entertainment personalities.
There will be representation from the Sick Kids Hospital, The Sickle Cell Foundation, Angels of Love, a Speaker on Childhood Obesity, a Speaker on aspects of the Law, Hope Crossing Borders, and other speakers.
At the YOWronto Music Festival there will be Spoken Word, drumming, dancing, and fun activities for the kids. The festival is perfect for the entire family, music lovers, other artistes, or anyone who wants to have an awesome experience.
Topping the list of sponsors is FLOW.
FLOW was formerly a brand of Columbus Communications providing residential and business telephone, Internet and television services across the Caribbean. The brand was used by individual companies operating in each country, registered under the Columbus Communications name.
Cable & Wireless Communications however, purchased Columbus Communications in 2014, and began to replace its existing LIME-branded services under the FLOW brand beginning in July 2015 (in Barbados).
FLOW is now the consumer-facing brand for CWC’s operations in the Caribbean in Barbados, Jamaica, The Cayman Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Montserrat, Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Anguilla, Curacao, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the British Virgin Islands.
Learn more about FLOW
The testimony of Romain Virgo is one of dedication and perseverance to always believe that no matter your circumstance, you always have the opportunity to make your future brighter through your God given talents. He grew up in the rural parts of Jamaica in an impoverished single mother household, who struggled to make ends meet. Poverty was never the deciding factor and although the five family members slept in one bedroom and he owned one pair of shoes, they were happy.
“Life was good. It’s not a rich community or I didn’t grow up in one of those kinds of families but I’m happy I was born and raised that way. I think the values that my parents and my community at large kind of put out, that is what is keeping today and keeping me busy and trying to stay in the right lane and do the right thing. I give thanks and praise. Stepney is somewhere where if I want to relax my mind and just go back to the roots and keep connected to the roots. That’s where I have to go back to. I love my family. Most of my family is there. I always have to go back home but, it’s beautiful. My community is like a family community. It’s somewhere that no matter how far I go in the world I can’t forget.” – Romain Virgo in an interview.
His father was not always involved in family life, but both his parents sang and his father played musical instruments; Virgo believes his talents came from the genes and the skills passed down from his father. Music played an integral role in his family as he grew up listening to legends like Bob Marley, Beres Hammond, Alton Ellis, Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye; he recalls not being able to escape real soul music.
In the future he hopes to work with a number of producers and artistes – names like Stephen McGregor, Di Genius, Dean Fraser and Don Corleone.
His mother was, and still is, very supportive of his dreams and aspirations. He strived to make her proud through his music and lyrics. His love for his mother was unwavering and many persons can relate to that kind of love since they share the circumstance of growing up with a single parent.
“[My mother] played 150%. A very, very important role in terms of growing up with discipline and everything like that. When somebody plays a role like that in your life there is not much more you can do than to write songs. So that whenever she’s home and listening to the music she can feel proud and feel good inside herself. That’s one of the ways I thought I could reach out to her by just singing songs like Mama’s Song and I Know Better.” – – Romain Virgo in an interview.
He performed for the first time at the Stepney Taberacle Church where he attended regularly with his family. He hummed away at the lines of Amazing Grace, the Sanchez version; the rest was history. Since the passion for singing and music ignited a fire inside him and although he didn’t see a music career at that age, he knew in the future he would pursue it more seriously.
Virgo was first noticed through All Together Sing in 2006 then won two medals in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission competitions. Afterwards, he went on to be youngest victor in the 2007 staging of Digicel Rising Stars competition; little did he know that his voice would take him far beyond his wildest dreams as a graduate of high school at the time.
“We always try to remember where we are coming from and try to represent for those same kind of people from the same kind of background.” – Romain Virgo in an interview.
The competition won for the St. Ann resident a grand prize of one million dollars and a recording contract with Greensleeves Records and at seventeen he was a bright eyed, bushy tailed chap ready to seize the opportunity to being a star.
“If I’m going on stage and I’m not nervous it’s a sign that I’m not going to have a good show. Whenever I feel nervous it shows that “Yeah, this is real”. You cannot just go out there and feel like everybody’s going to enjoy it – I always want the feeling of “Nobody out there knows me. I need to go out there and sing until the people can feel the music”. That’s the kind of vibe I always go on stage with.” – Romain Virgo in an interview with United Reggae.
Donovan Germain produced Virgo’s first hit record “Mi Caan Sleep” on the Penthouse Record Label, which gave rise to several other singles like “Wanna Go Home”, “Live Mi Life” and “Alton’s Medley”. His first album, Romain Virgo, debuted under the VP Records label.
“Donovan Germain is the first big producer that I work with after winning the ‘Digicel Rising Stars’ in Jamaica. “Mi cyaan Sleep” was my first big song for him. It wasn’t my first recording but it was my first big song from Penthouse.” – Romain Virgo in an interview with The Reggae Review.
He was given the opportunity to perform at dances and stage shows such as Passa Passa, Weddy Weddy and the prestigious event Rebel Salute. He even toured twenty-six cities in the United States with Capleton and Munga in 2010 and in 2012 he released another album entitled ‘The System’.
“People class it as a more mature album because of some of the lyrics and songs that we’re writing, so it’s amazing to see that we could come up with something like this. I sing love songs and I didn’t want to put out an album where people would say ‘Woah, we didn’t get any love songs!’ So even though the album is called The System that was the reason why we put in some love songs alongside some of the more serious social commentary songs. If you think about it, most things in life affect the system – so it can be from social commentary life to a love life.” – Romain Virgo speaks about ‘The System’ in an interview with United Reggae.
He even went on to tour England with the mighty Beres Hammond and Taurus Riley in 2012 to commemorate the Jamaica’s 50th year since Independence.
“The kind of fan-base that Beres has and the kind of fan-base that Tarrus Riley has – I do a similar kind of music to them so the whole vibe everywhere I go with them is just lovely, man. Beres Hammond is somebody that I grew up listening to. He is one of my favourite artists, so it’s amazing to share this moment and this whole experience with him and I look forward to more like this.” – Romain Virgo in an interview with The United Reggae.
In 2014 Virgo topped several Caribbean charts with his cover of Sam Smith’s ‘Stay With Me’ and released his third album in 2017, ‘Love Sick’.
“This album is called Love Sick and Love Sick is a story… It’s just music and what I’m feeling inside and the way we want to put it on record… This is my third album and we are trying to just make it different and give people a different sound. We always try to introduce people to different aspects, different sides of my talent… There is music that isn’t necessarily reggae, or dancehall, or roots reggae, or whatever, or lovers rock, but I think it’s music that people are just going to love.” – Romain Virgo in an interview with Jamaicans.com.
Virgo donated $500,000.00 JAD to his alma mater, Aabuthnott Gallimore High School, in St. Ann. He never put his education on the back burner as while he pursued his music career, he read for his Bachelor’s degree, majoring in voice and minoring in the keyboard, at the Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston, Jamaica.
“Edna Manley College is somewhere that is doing extraordinary work for the youths. Most of the reggae artists that are performing nowadays like Chronixx, Kabaka Pyramid, Protoje, Iba Mahr, Jah9 and Kelissa, their bands they are carrying in the road are all students of Edna Manley College.” – Romain Virgo in an interview with Reggaeville.
Throughout the years, his singles spoke to his expression of love and reggae as well as the issues of the Jamaican society via his lyrics. ‘Watch Over Me’, ‘Ghetto’, ‘What Dis Pon Me’, ‘Cry Tears For You’, ‘Cold Side’, ‘Lifted’, and ‘Love Sick’, where a few of his many successful singles.
“Sometime I’ll get the riddim from Donovan Germain, or whatever producer I’m working with. Or sometimes I would have an idea. Sometimes I just write the song. Sometimes is just an idea and we go into the studio and just finish it. But my writing is basically things that happen in everyday life or things that I grow up experiencing, or other people’s experience. That’s how mi really write.” – Romain Virgo in an interview with The Reggae Review.
“We make music. We don’t try to make hit songs. The people decide that for us. We just sing from our hearts and whenever the song reaches the people they decide that. I’m just enjoying the moment. Enjoying being alive. And to make the music I want to make and to touch people across the world, whether it’s just ten people that are tuned in to me or it’s a million, or a billion. We are just making music that makes sense.” – Romain Virgo in an interview.
- “Love Doctor” (2008), Penthouse
- “Wanna Go Home” (2009), Vikings Production
- “Watch Over Me” (2010), Juke Boxx Productions – B-side of Elephant Man’s “Don’t Trust Dem”
- “Live My Life” (2010), Juke Boxx Productions – B-side of Busy Signal’s “Dem Nuh Care”
- “Ghetto” (2010), Juke Boxx Productions
- “Taking You Home” (2011), Penthouse
- “Wha Dis Pon Me” (2011), Penthouse
- “California” (2011), VP – Romain Virgo & Larry Gatlin
- “Can’t Sleep”, VP/Penthouse
- “Who Feels It Know’s It”, VP/Penthouse
- “Cry Tears for You” (2012), Penthouse
- “Cold Side”(2013), Juke Boxx Productions
- “Lifted” (2015),VP Records
- “LoveSick” (2016),VP Records
- ..Romain Virgo(2010), VP
- Lifted(2015), VP – US Reggae no. 7
- Romain Virgo RV(2010), VP Records
- The System(2012), VP Records – US Reggae 6
- LoveSick(2017), VP Records
By Alexandra Daley