Songtrust Spotlight: ROMderful

ROMDERFUL has become a household name in the indie R&B scene and in the online beat community over the past decade, in part to his association with Soulection. The Birmingham, UK native has done official remixes for Cosmos Midnight, Goldlink, Masego, and, over the years, has produced tracks for Syd/The Internet, Kehlani, Kyle Dion, Leven Kali, DEAN, Bohan Phoenix, and many more.

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Who inspired you to become a musician?

A mixture of things! My cousin, who used to be a producer back in the early 2000s whose main inspiration was Dilla, Slum Village, Tribe Called Quest, etc. Growing up in Church and always being so fascinated with the church musicians and the after church jam sessions that would take place. And a lot of it comes from video game soundtracks such as Alex The Kidd, Super Mario Sunshine, Gran Turismo series (I could list them all day). The music in video games is part of the reason I love retro video games so much!

How would you describe your style of music and performance? How would you describe your philosophy and style as an artist?

This is one thing I always struggle to answer because I love experimenting and trying new things all the time, but the foundation of my music style is definitely Jazz and Neo Soul/RnB, for sure. I would describe my music as colourful and fun, and same with my performance style too! My philosophy and style as an artist is just finding colourful and fun ways to express all emotions! It doesn't have to be happy all the time but there are so many ways someone can choose to express feelings and I choose to do mine this way.

What drives you to create, and how do you define success for yourself in music?

Always setting myself new goals, learning new things about myself and life, surrounding myself with people who inspire me and challenge me to do better, and knowing that I still haven't achieved some things that I still want to achieve in life and career. Success for me means happiness and achieving the goals you set for yourself! The fact that I can do music full time is a blessing that I'll never take for granted. Even when it gets hard, I remind myself how hard I worked for this and to keep going.

What or who influenced how you define success for yourself?

My mom and my grandfather. They definitely raised me with the mindset of happiness is real success and it's better to try and fail at something than never try and always wonder. I never quite understood that til I grew up and had to start making decisions for myself.

How do you think the music industry can develop into a more equitable and welcoming space for Black music creators?

More education/classes on the business side of things for creators and ways to have a sustainable career and be financially sustainable without having to be dependent on a label or giving up your masters. Learning across the board, for anyone in the music industry, about the origins of popular music genres that stemmed from Black people.

Do you have any advice for young Black musicians just starting their careers, based on what you’ve experienced?

Be unapologetically yourself and don't worry about what people tell you that you should be. I've experienced and felt this so much throughout my career. I definitely had a bit of an identity crisis when I was starting out because I was becoming to influenced by others opinions of the kind of music I should make or how I should act or dress etc. Only to find better success just being who I am and who I always knew I was.

Knowing what you do now and having experienced what you have so far, if you could go back and tell your younger self anything, what would you share?

Listen to your gut feeling. It's very rarely wrong in my opinion. Be careful of the people you hang around with and who you let influence you. If you feel yourself slipping away from who you know you are when you're around certain people, they're probably not the right people to hang with. You don't have to try and do everything yourself. In fact, a great team of people who communicate great can be more powerful than one. To not take everything personally in this industry.

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