Romain Virgo taps into new audiences with The Gentleman

In from Florida for the St Ann show, Nyoka Topping-Ricketts got as close to Romain Virgo as she could.Akera Davis

Singer Romain Virgo shows growth and maturity on his latest album titled The Gentleman.

The 12-track album was released on March 1 via VP Records. It is Virgo’s fourth studio album and his first since 2018’s Billboard chart-topping Lovesick.

In an interview with the Jamaica Observer last week, Virgo said the title of the album was inspired by his growth both musically and personally.

“Everybody has been watching me over the years and it’s just growth over the years to the point where people see me now as a father, and a husband, and my outlook on life. It’s like putting this gentle boy into a gentleman now with the same morals and all of the elements coming together,” said Virgo.

The 34-year-old, who won the Digicel Rising Stars competition in 2007, released his debut self-titled album in 2010. Two years later, The System rocketed to #6 on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart, while 2015’s EP Lifted rose to #7. His 2018 effort Lovesick went all the way to #1.

The Gentleman sees Romain collaborating with four of his musical brothers — Capleton, Jesse Royal, Patoranking and Masicka.

“I feel like these artistes have a level of respect for me and I’m really grateful. Capleton was the first artiste to bring me on tour in the US, and, ever since, I have wanted to work with him. Masicka is someone I look up to. It was just the right timing. Jesse is like a brother to me and we did a song before called Hope. Patoranking I met him backstage at a show we did in Los Angeles in 2018. It’s a blessing to work with these artistes,” Virgo explained.

Among the producers who worked on the album are Romeich Major, Grammy-winning Sean Alaric, Donovan “Don Corleon” Bennett, Seani B, Winta James, Niko Browne, and Silly Walks Discotheque from Germany.

According to Virgo, it was a strategic move for him to tap into newer audiences with The Gentleman.

“Every time we think about moving forward, each year, we are always thinking about growing and getting better, doing better music, stronger and more meaningful lyrics… Coming into 2024 with a new album, people needed to see a difference, the sound and quality of the production. Based on the feedback that we’re seeing so far, people are really loving this album,” Virgo disclosed.

Asked what he enjoyed most about working on
The Gentleman, Virgo said: “Just to see how everything came together. To share my views and insight, to see musicians come in and work on a song with them. I feel more a part of it. This album is the one we got full freedom to be ourselves and create without fear. We were able to achieve the goal of having each song sound different.”

The first single from the album,
Been There Before featuring Masicka, has become his latest chart hit.

“The song is life. Life and how I grew up are really what inspired the song. I got the rhythm from Slyda and I was listening to it. It felt like a movie was about to start and I just wanted to talk about the struggles that I have been through and to inspire others,” he shared.

He continued: “What people can expect on the album is just a little bit of everything for everybody. I grew up in a single-parent home and many people can relate to that.”

Virgo is still enjoying the success of his three-parish The Gentleman Tour, which took place recently. The tour made stops in St Ann, St James, and in St Elizabeth. The response he said exceeded his expectations and Kingston leg is to be held shortly.

“The shows were absolutely amazing. I’m so proud. We were hoping to get at least 1,000 people at each show, and the people came out and supported us. The numbers far exceeded our expectations,” he said.

He added: “We had a wonderful show in St Ann and Agent Sasco passed through. Over in Montego Bay the show was even bigger, and we had Christopher Martin coming out to give support. And then the last show was in St Elizabeth, and it was just amazing to see the crowd. Jesse Royal and Protoje passed through there. And now we are under pressure to do a Kingston leg of the Jamaica tour, which we will be doing.”

Virgo is gearing up for a Caribbean tour, which will include stops in Grenada, Barbados and St Lucia.

A tour of the US and Europe are also on the cards for later this year.

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