‘Romeyo’ breaks onto the scene
How high school junior Tony Romero is creating a name for himself with his debut single
For Saint John's College high school junior Tony Romero, rapping has always been an integral part of his life.
“Music has always been a part of me. Ever since I was young, rapping and freestyling was a big thing between me and my friends,” Romero said. “Over time I’ve grown with it and I feel like it allows me to represent myself in such a cool way.”
Growing up in D.C., Romero was heavily influenced by his friends, school and artists that he discovered. Despite the general hesitancy he said his parents had about the music he listened to and the profanity in said music, Romero was able to expose himself to a variety of artists; including Gaithersburg, Maryland’s own, Sir Robert Bryson Hall, better known popularly as rapper, Logic.
“I used to listen to a lot of Logic, I went to his concert maybe two or three years ago. I don’t listen to him as much anymore, but growing up and starting out, he was really influential for me,” Romero said.
While Logic may have been the starting point of Romero's initial interest in rap music, it was Kendrick Lamar who piqued his interest in pursuing a career in the music industry, which led him to write and produce his first single, “Grapevine.”
“For this song, I just wanted to make something different,” Romero said.
Collaborating with close friend and producer Luca Brown, Romero conceived the idea for his debut single in November of 2021 along with his stage name “Romeyo.” While he had the goal and drive to create the song, he lacked the equipment to achieve it. Romero didn’t have a studio environment to record in or even a microphone to record the song.
“It took four months for me to actually get a microphone and in that period I was contemplating if it was even worth it,” Romero said.
Despite his struggle to get the equipment required to record the song, Romero managed to record, mix and master his new single in just two weeks.
Romero would then go on to record the track in his friend’s bedroom, placing emphasis on the importance of having a relaxed environment for recording.
“We went and got pizza … it was very relaxed and nonchalant,” Romero said. “It felt very natural which made it easy to get it done.”
While making “Grapevine” was a process that took roughly two weeks, the song is musically complex. From the trumpet samples that ring loud and clear at the beginning of the track, to the beat and lyrical content, the young artist shows that creating a great track doesn’t necessarily have to be a time consuming affair.
“Grapevine” isn’t your typical rap song either. It separates itself from the masses of 808-beat ridden records by including the trumpet sample in the opening seconds, as well as classical instrument samples interjected throughout. These components combined with Romero’s melodic rap style create a track that is not only hype and catchy, but also appeals to a hip-hop rap audience with a refined taste.
For Romero, the songwriting process wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. While many artists produce tracks in a matter of hours with lyrics that come naturally or lack substance, the lyrics contained in Romero’s single vary in the ease of which they came.
“I know that the first hook and the first section that I wrote came the easiest. Producer Luca Brown was just playing the beat and I just started freestyling and it came together,” Romero said. “Getting the second verse done was much harder. Sometimes writing songs is inconsistent [for me] and it can be hard to convey the message.”
For many artists coming onto the scene, it can be difficult to weed out the good people from the bad in terms of benefactors to their careers. However, Romero has maintained that he expects the fake friends and peers to crop up when his popularity begins to grow, but as he mentions in his new single, he’s more than ready for that negative energy.
“I felt like I made the second verse more meaningful. I had this idea that if I made this [song] and it got more traction that people would start acting differently and being fake,” Romero said. “So that's why I wrote, ‘and now they know I got it all/these motherf-----s feelin’ me.’”
Romero said he hopes to release a full length album in the future.
In an oversaturated industry, Tony Romero shows that it doesn’t take thousands of dollars spent on studio sessions, recording equipment and expensive features to create inspirational work.
“I feel like music is something that is so impactful in people’s lives without them even knowing it and I want to create this subconscious message that people can pick up on and live by,” Romero said.