Different approach, better album results - Virgo's concept, control of 'Lovesick' pay off
Fresh off a wildly successful tour of London, singer Romain Virgo is still on a musical high after Lovesick debuted at number one on the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart for the week ending April 14.
Although the album fell to number four last week, Virgo is extremely proud of his latest effort, pointing out that it took him four tries before getting to the coveted top spot. The entertainer told The Gleaner that he was a lot more hands-on with this album. "Previous albums, I used to just get riddims and I voice, but on this project, most of the riddim tracks I was there when they were being created, or the riddims were created after I came up with the melodies. I was involved in terms of saying, this should change or that should change'," he said. "Lovesick is definitely a special album. I really believe that to date, this is my best album, and I think it has a far way to go yet. All the other projects that I put out were more like compilation projects even though they were albums. They didn't really have a direction, but this one is definitely a concept album, and I think that made a world of difference in terms of it drawing the interest of people."
The artiste, who shot to fame after winning local talent show Digicel Rising Stars in 2007, said that the Lovesick project tells a story, and he believes that the narrative is connecting with people on a level he had only hoped for previously. "Lovesick is a series of events that happened over the years, and I used all of those experiences to create a special story. Each track is connected and people want to find out what happens next. They are intrigued," he said. "With this project I wanted people to feel like they were in the studio when it was being recorded, and so far, the response has been great. People have been reaching out to tell me what songs are their favourites and why it connects with them. I feel like I achieved what I set out to."
Commenting on the quality of albums coming from Jamaican artistes who have hit the Billboard charts this year, Virgo says it is a good sign that artistes are finally beginning to understand the business of music. He lamented, however, that there are still too many complaints coming from the local sphere about international acts dominating the reggae charts. He maintained, though, that if local artistes remain focused on the market and what works for them, numbers will come. "Sometimes we cuss and gwaan about other people taking the music, but they are ensuring they understand the business and how to create music for a particular fan base. They are taking the time to understand the market and what the market will love, and that's why their numbers are so good sometimes," he said.
"When it comes to talent, nobody can compare to Jamaica, but it makes no sense we have the talent and not do the things we're supposed to do. We have to take time as artistes to understand what we're doing and what we're creating. Once we do that, we won't talk so much about the foreigners."