MATURITY is one of the first words talent show winner and recording artiste Romain Virgo is using to describe his latest CD, The System which was launched at Emancipation Park in the Corporate Area on Wednesday evening.
The lanky singer, who first grabbed the attention of Jamaicans as a lead singer on the televised high school choir competition All Together Sing in 2006, went on to even greater things when he nabbed the Digicel Rising stars title back in 2007. He is now all grown up. A far cry from the shy teenager with that uncertain stare from Stepney in St Ann, into a confident, self-assured artiste, who has taken the time to hone his craft and is now ready to show the world his talents.
Virgo tells Splash: "This album shows a different side to Romain Virgo, it is that mature side. The maturity not only comes from the lyrics, but also in the instrumentation and the timeless melodies that have gone into the production of the 15 tracks."
It is this maturity that Virgo foresees translating into popularity for The System in the traditional and non-traditional music markets. "I am pleased with the word out of places like Japan. They are already liking tracks like Rich in Love, and that's great for me," he notes.
"I love the timeless melodies and compositions that many have regarded as oldies. It was only fitting then that this single be strongly reminiscent of the music of the era," he said. "I was thinking about the things that are going on in Jamaica and the effects it has on people's life, especially those in the inner cities," he added.
When Splash pressed for Virgo for his favourite track from the new project, He started listing, but then had to reconcile that all the songs were favourites. Speaking at Wednesday's launch ethnomusicologist Dr Dennis Howard, also tapped into the production value evident on Virgo's latest project. "This is one of the 'baddest' albums produced in a while. The production, mixing, musicianship and instrumentation is all first class... I give it five stars."
He likened Virgo to the late Crown Prince of Reggae Dennis Brown.
Howard noted that both had come through the ranks of the talent show -- The Vere Johns Opportunity Hour for Brown, and All Together Sing and Digicel Rising Stars for Virgo. Howard also noted that both had come from modest origins and maintained a level of humility despite the popularity they experienced. Virgo is determined to take his music very far. He cited his recent appearance at the Academy of Country Music, where he performed with the Gatlin Brothers, as another step towards his goal.
"Performing on the Reggae Gone Country album was a great experience. I have to thank VP Records and Cristy Barber who engineered that project. It shows just how far Romain Virgo and reggae music can go," says Virgo. For just under an hour, the hundreds of persons, who turned out at Emancipation Park to celebrate with Virgo, were treated to most of the tracks from The System, which is the artiste's sophomore album following up on his self-titled Romain Virgo. The artiste was in fine form, vocally, as he unleashed the new tracks. A few evoked reactions from the audience, but it was the popular I am Rich in Love and the title track The System with its catchy refrain... Feel like letting go, that got the audience going.
Among those who turned out to show their support for the singer were members of his management team including producers Donovan Germain of Penthouse Records and Shane Brown of Juke Boxx Productions. Konshens, Chris Martin, D'Angel, D'Major, Thriller U, Singing Melody, Chuck Fender, and Voicemail were among the other members of the musical fraternity who turned out to support their fellow artiste.