Romani Beau [Interview]
Romani Beau’s upcoming EP Molly and the Boys has been a long time coming, but it will be worth the wait for fans of lilting, breezy folk. Although Romani is currently living an underground existence, to say that he has the potential to break out of obscurity is a real understatement. This guy is the Surrey folk scene’s best-kept secret – but only for now. With great songs, a hugely talented team backing him up, warmth and charisma seeping from every pore, and a hilariously self-deprecating sense of humour, Romani shows all the signs of a star in the making.
TMMP caught up with the man himself to chat about the past, present, and future, memories and happiness and more…
What are your earliest musical memories?
I’m not sure what my earliest one is, but I remember singing songs in the school playground. At lunch time people would come up to me and ask me to sing songs and I did. I was like their little puppet. After a couple of weeks my brothers told my Mum, and she politely asked me to stop as I was embarrassing them.
I also remember writing a song titled I Want to Go to Disneyland; you can ask my brother to sing it and he will, as he knows I find it humiliating.
I also vaguely remember trying to imitate a Britney Spears high kick. I fell flat on my face and winded myself.
When did you decide you wanted to be a musician?
I don’t think there was a set moment; I’ve always written songs for as long as I can remember. I definitely took it more seriously after listening to The Grass Is Blue by Dolly Parton, as something clicked in me at that point, making me realise that one person can write well-crafted songs. I studied music performance after getting a BTEC in performing arts, after which I went to ACM.
My aunt (who we call Apple Boobs) told me once how she always remembered me singing for her in the back garden. Being from a big family you had to learn different ways to grab attention, and I felt that music was one of mine.
Describe each of the tracks on Molly and the Boys in one sentence each.
Molly and the Boys – A fun song about a woman who runs a gay bar in London; this will have you toes tapping.
Joanne – A stripped, bittersweet song about a man longing for his high school sweetheart.
Gypsy – My first single from the EP. A slightly European folk-arranged song about a performing gypsy.
Old Man’s Lament – My favourite song on the EP, this song is about an old man lamenting the loss of his wife.
In the Lap of the Mountain – This song completely transports you to the bay of a mountain, where you are waiting for your lover to return.
Your EP is very detailed. Who else was involved in making it?
So many people helped out on the EP. The credits for it are quite huge, which reminds me I need to update the website. Alex Paton brought his own unique arrangements to the project. He really brought the songs to life; he’s very good at creating a certain mood for a song.
Marie Gloesener and David Burt are the guitarists I use a lot of the time when performing. They tend to gang up on me when together so they had to record their guitar parts in separate rooms. Dave done a wonderful job on the baritone for Old Man’s Lament, whilst Marie’s guitar will have you in tears on In the Lap of the Mountain.
Edd Holloway mastered the tracks; Jessamine Cera did the photography; Tiki Horea played drums; and Jane Carwadine played violin. We were introduced to two London musicians by Andrew Turner: Ben Trigg (cello) and Tom Mason (double bass). All of them were absolute darlings to work with.
Music can be a tough road to travel. What keeps you motivated?
I am definitely motivated whenever I get a chance to wear my stage wigs. I quite often look like a ragdoll with them on. I remain motivated as I hope that one day I’ll be able to live off my songs – I don’t know if it will happen, but there’s always hope. I’ve always said that I’d like to look back on my life and say that I’ve at least tried. Also, I enjoy the feeling of having created a finished song, I feel like I have to annoy everyone and play it to all.
What makes you happy?
Little things have always made me happy. Cups of coffee; a good book; definitely everything to do with Harry Potter; dry humour; a finished song; my parents, brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces; friends; and lastly a walk along Southbank at night.
What are your passions outside of music?
The theatre. I absolutely love it – musicals, straight plays, comedies, I’m there! As I previously mentioned, I studied performing arts in college, and everything theatrical makes me happy. You can often tell when someone is a performer as they have this certain quality to their personality that I can’t explain. When you’re not competing against each other you click like magnets.
What do you have planned for 2015 beyond your EP launch?
We have the EP launch on March 7th at Bar des Arts in Guildford. It’s free entry, so everyone should come! March is quite a busy month; we also have a gig at the Keystone (March 11th), a busking event held by The Guide2Guildford (March 14th), and a gig at the Bedford in London (March 24th) – all free and all fun.
I plan to release and film the other two music videos from the EP. I’m currently trying to work out the concepts for them. I also want to go to Nashville at some point this year; I’m a true country music fanatic and it makes no sense to me that I’ve never been. I think I’m also finally coming to the end of deciding which tracks to place on the second EP; so much fun!
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