In conversation with the sensational Romaine Willis | Sunday Observer

In conversation with the sensational Romaine Willis

13 August, 2023

This week the Youth Observer reached out to the talented singer and songwriter Romaine Willis

In conversation with Romaine here’s what we found;

Q: When did you know you wanted to be part of the music industry?

A: I always had this dream to be a singer, but it wasn’t considered an ideal job by anyone around me, even in school the kids with a knack for the arts were not appreciated for it as much. So I grew up believing that a career in music can only be a dream.

After leaving school I got my degree in Hospitality and Events and then I did my internship and continued to do a 9 to 5 job. I am not going to lie, it drained me. I felt like the creative side of me dying. Then I realized I didn’t want to do that for a living. I wanted my creativity to soar. So I quit and went into music full time.

Q: How did you get into music?

A: Music was always a part of my life and it came very naturally to me. My parents were very musical people, they always had music playing at home, so it was very much a part of life.

Q: What is one of your best experiences when entering the music industry?

A: I think the most amazing experience was when I released my recent single “Pem Kakula”. I believe that song introduced me to the Sri Lankan masses. It was such a surreal moment, I was recognized for my talent and however surreal it was it also felt so familiar as I have played this moment in my head several times. It felt like that was destined to happen.

Q: Would you say you are a better songwriter or a singer?

A: I think I am a better singer. Like I said, singing came so naturally to me. Song writing of course came very late in life. I improved my songwriting skills with the help of my dear friend Sanka. He encouraged me to write down my thoughts, keep a diary and rearrange the words and turn it into a song and I kept doing it until I was happy with the product.

Q: What or who inspires you to do what you do?

A: I think what inspires me is my passion. I have always been a passionate person. I am very much in touch with my emotions. What drives me is my purpose, to be there for people. The thing is what I look for in music is to be relatable, be something that will make people feel validated about their emotions, inspired and also motivated. So that is what I want to do with my music. Also my sister is my biggest inspiration, I love her positive spirit and she really helps me get back on track if I am feeling down.

Q: According to you, what is the best thing about being a singer in Sri Lanka?

A: The challenges. There is no blueprint out there to be an artist in Sri Lanka. So finding ways to figure it out and overcoming something that may feel impossible is amazing. Obviously I love the other perks that come with being an artist like getting opportunities to travel, meeting people etc.

Q: Do you think you should be defined by the style of music you do? or are you open to changing it up?

A: I believe my style as an artist has evolved since I first started. Initially I felt like my roots were soul, jazz RNB driven. I listened to a lot of ’60s ’50s jams, the oldies, so the music I created reflected this. However now that my brand has grown my style has changed. The thing is, as your audience gets bigger, creating music for personal gratification only also feels selfish. I believe as artists we have to constantly reinvent ourselves.

Q: How would you describe yourself as an artist in two words?

A: I believe to be very truthful I would have to say anxious and perfectionist but to give it an artistic touch I would say passionate and diverse, which is also not wrong.

Q: Out of the songs you have done so far, what did you have the most fun doing?

A: ‘Body to body’ is probably the one I had most fun doing. It is also what I am most proud of. It was my first international collaboration and we shot the music video in the Mount Lavinia beach and it was fantastic. We had a great time shooting it.

Q: Do you think image is important for an artist? and why?

A: It absolutely is. Most artists don’t understand the influence they have on people. I believe we have to be very careful how we conduct ourselves as we have a big responsibility. It is a small price to play. One of the best things about social media for me is when I get to read dms I receive and I am filled with love and gratitude. So I don’t want to spread hate or negativity.

Q: Tell us about your experience with LPL?

A: It was so wonderful. Nothing but a big fat adventure. Cricket was always uncharted territory for me and this was also my first time being host so it was nerve wracking. But the people were great, I met the cricketers, the crowd was wonderful, everyone had amazing energy and my father was very proud.

In fact growing up I hated cricket because my father loved it and every time a match was on her would ignore me. So I believe this is my dad’s dream for me. It was a wonderful experience and I am so honoured to have been given this opportunity.

Q: If you had an opportunity to work with any artist in the world, who would it be?

A: This is a tough one, because there are so many talented souls. But if I am to narrow it down, I would like to learn Doja Cat’s creative process, get vocal lessons from Ariana Grande, and feature in a Billie Ilish song.

Q: What are your plans for the rest of the year?

A: I am pretty busy, actually I am releasing a new song somewhere in September, we are shooting it right now. This is my biggest single yet and it is one for my Sri Lankan audience.

Q: Do you have any words of wisdom for the future generation of musicians?

A: Embrace and conquer the road less travelled, the world needs new pathways. And I hope that you live in a state of constant wonder. It begins with a cause. Your causes create the effects that shape your future and the future of all those around you.

Be the leader in the movie of your life. You are the director, producer, and actor. Be bold and tirelessly compassionate, that’s the only way to live life.