Sun | Mar 7, 2021

Runkus to reveal all on upcoming project

Published:Friday | March 22, 2019 | 12:07 AMSade Gardner/Gleaner Writer

Branding in the music industry is not a new concept. From personalised fan clique names to slangs and signature colours, there are many ways, besides the music, which artistes distinguish themselves.

For the past two years, fans of Runkus have become acquainted with the unavoidable capitalisation of the letter ‘G’ in anything that he posts. But what does it mean?

The multifaceted musician started the signature in late 2016 and said he will reveal its significance in his upcoming project.

“The people will know what all the capital ‘G’s are about when it is time for that project to be released. I don’t want to promise a date, but some of my songs that have the capital ‘G’, except My Gf , will most likely be on it,” Runkus told The Gleaner.

His last EP, Move In, was a collaborative production with European group Oneness released in 2016. The eight-track body of work explored the singer’s eclectic influences from neo-soul, jazz, funk, roots-reggae and dub influences in songs like Move Yuh Self, Run In and Energy. The visuals for the latter debuted in January. Runkus’ upcoming project will stay true to his unconventional style and will see him returning to the studio as a producer and engineer under his eponymous label.

“With Move In, most of the music was done over the Internet, so I would send them guitar progressions and notes for them to build the beat, and they would send it to me for me to write the songs,” he shared. “With this project, I’m going around the mixing board again as an engineer, and this will be the first body of work released on my label. This is going to be the first time people will see me being me, exploring all the music I love, and it’ll be something for all generations.”

Building the sound

Son of veteran reggae singer Determine and artiste manager Paula Francis, Runkus (born Romario Bennett) started recording at the age of seven. He developed his wide-ranging taste in music at the hands of his father and an evolving music industry.

“Our generation grew up on MTV and BET, so anything the international market showed us is what we drew to,” he said. “The first rapper I loved on my own was Missy Elliott, then I got into Timbaland productions, Lil Wayne, Notorious B.I.G., Tupac ... . At the same time, I got into other sounds, like Erykah Badu, Nina Simone, Justine Timberlake, all while listening to Vybz Kartel.”

Despite his popular influences, Runkus said he is not motivated by fame and sees no need to go mainstream.

“I’d rather create a stream for myself than jump in the mainstream and sing what everybody is singing,” he said. “People are famous for different reasons in different parts of the world. Omi was the biggest thing in Switzerland when Cheerleader ‘re-buss’ in 2015, and then Jamaica took to him. Fame is a very strange thing because I can tell you about shows I’ve done which many musicians have never seen, and in my humblest opinion, I’d like to say that [means I’m] famous, but I don’t even measure my career with fame because that’s not the reason why I do it. A lot of people live in the false reality of fame and treat people a certain way because of it. I pray that never happens to me, and if it does, I hope I read this interview to remember how I feel about this.”