His rise to stardom after winning the Digicel Rising Stars competition in 2006 has been a very astronomical and very public affair, yet somehow, reggae crooner and heartthrob Romain Virgo has managed to take it all in stride, with a poise and charm that has made him the perennial sweetheart of reggae music in Jamaica. The entire nation, and reggae lovers in particular, have watched him grow into his own in professional music, and many would agree that he is one of the most readily ‘owned’ and celebrated young artistes from Jamaica. Here are 10 fun facts about him.
- He was born in the rural community of Stepney in the parish of St Ann, Jamaica, on January 24, 1990.
- He started singing on the youth choir and at concerts in Stepney tabernacle Church when he was young. In high school, he was part of the school’s choir and was lead singer for Aabuthnott Gallimore High in 2006 on Television Jamaica’s Altogether Sing, a televised competition among Jamaican high school choirs.
- He burst on the professional music scene in 2007 after winning the popular television talent search series, Digicel Rising Stars. He was only 17 years old at the time, and competed against more experienced and mature singers, but his distinct voice, undeniable talent and charming personality won the votes of judges and viewers alike, and he was the unanimous winner.
- He has collaborated closely with veteran Jamaican music producer Donovan Germain, who he describes as “a father figure” to produce some of his biggest hits, including his first hit single, Mi Cyaan Sleep.
- His first, self-titled album Romain Virgo was released by VP Records in June 2010.
- He has released three albums to date: Romain Virgo (2010), The System (2012) and Lovesick (2017).
- In 2012, his album The System entered the Billboard Reggae Album Chart at No. 6. In 2015, his EP Lifted debuted at No. 7.
- Known as a crooner, he sings songs to cater to a wide audience, but has stated that he especially likes to sing songs that please “the ladies”, as females make up a large percentage of his fan base.
- Some of his earliest musical influences include Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, Sanchez, Beres Hammond and Alton Ellis.
- He literally cried during his 2016 performance at a stage show in Harare, Zimbabwe before thousands of reggae fans. He was overwhelmed by the incredible outpouring of love and support, and the fact that they knew his songs so well. His set lasted for five hours, and got outstanding reviews in Africa and internationally. “I can’t believe the way African people love Jamaican music,” he was quoted as saying.