The Pinner-born artist opens up on his journey to create music with decade-defining talent.
Let’s be honest, it’s not every day a music mogul like Jay Z will recognise you for raw talent. This was the case, however, for Sam Roman — known as RØMANS, the BRIT award-winning producer behind the decade-defining hits of the likes of Demi Lovato, Disclosure and Elton John.
Sitting face to face with Jay Z during his Magna Carter tour, Sam was advised to join his self-founded entertainment agency, Roc Nation. Ever since then, Sam has catapulted into a prestigious territory, releasing an impressive plethora of projects which have received critical acclaim. RØMANS expertly cultivated an ear for genre-blending music and quickly carved a new lane for the producer, who has made monumental waves in the world of electronic, pop and R&B music.
Though garnering a huge volume of success and adoration in his craft, RØMANS has since delved deeper into his passions. Honing his skill for writing, he has worked alongside some of the biggest names in the business such as Alicia Keys, John Legend and Mary J Blige.
With a BRIT award and GRAMMY nomination under his belt, the signee is taking 2022 by the horns, using his status as one of the industries most in-demand producers to launch his own label, Chosen People, via AWAL/Sony.
To mark his exciting new career venture, RØMANS spoke with us at Wonderland about his journey so far, and what his creative process looks like. Scroll below for the full interview…
Hey Sam, how are you? What have you been up to?
Hey. I’ve been slowly getting back to work after the break. I just moved house so I’ve been building my new studio which is now finished. I love switching things up in my work space, it rejuvenates me after working in the same spot for a while.
How would you sum up your 2021?
Long. It felt like a really long year. I did some cool stuff and made a shit load of music which is good. It was also nice to start working in person again after most of 2020 ended up being zoom.
The pandemic has affected a lot of people in different ways, did it affect you creatively?
In a positive way, to be honest. I think that Zoom and FaceTime writing are a really good creative experiment. A song or the idea that forms the nucleus of a song isn’t something that needs to take 8 hours to write, and being on a screen with someone inspires this urge in both of you to get the session done quickly and get back to real life. I think this is a really constructive process that forces you to concentrate in a way that you often don’t when you’re in the studio with people. It also ensures you don’t burn yourself out after a few days.
How did you first get into music? What sparked the interest?
Music is honestly my earliest memory. There was never anything else that I was going to do with my life. I started as a drummer and then moved on to the more melodic instruments and writing songs. I got signed at 16 and made some appalling music, but that was the first step which led me to eventually working behind the scenes and having success doing it.
Where are you from? Did your hometown inspire you in any way?
I’m from a town called Pinner which is just outside of NW London. It was the childhood home of Elton John, who coincidentally was one of my biggest heroes and inspirations. We finally worked together years later and both shared a bond having grown up about half a mile from each other some decades apart.
You’ve worked with some incredible artists over the years, what has been a standout moment?
There are so many, it’s a very difficult one to answer. Obviously the older or more established artists make you pinch yourself. Sitting in a room with someone like Mary J Blige or Jay Z can feel a bit like a dream but then a few hours in you’re talking as if you’ve been mates for years. Elton will probably always be the greatest session. He was truly my childhood hero and sitting next to him at the piano writing a song still doesn’t feel like something that happened in real life.
And there is a big variety, do you approach them all differently?
In some small ways but ultimately my skill as a collaborator with artists is knowing that I’m not the important person in the room. My methodology with all artists I work with is pulling the best song out of them, but ultimately it needs to be their idea and story. This is my approach regardless of the artist or genre.
And now you’ve launched your own label, what inspired this decision?
I’m a very unsatisfied person and I think that’s sometimes quite healthy from a business perspective. My manager Marc who I own the label with is the same. We need to have goals that seem far fetched and unachievable that we can work towards. That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning. The next step is owning one of the most successful independent label/publishing companies in entertainment.
What goes into producing a track, what is your thought process?
Production is 75% painting and 25% science. I love it, sometimes more than writing. Equally it occasionally makes me want to launch my laptop into a fucking wall. I have quite a unique relationship with it as I spent so many years establishing myself as a writer before I started to produce my records more regularly. I think this forces me to think about the song before all else, a skill that is imperative for all great producers. The production is so important, especially nowadays but ultimately in 90% of scenarios it is the clothes that you put on the song. The song will never be a hit without the perfect production, but even the greatest production ever can’t make a shit song sound like a classic.
What are you most excited about this year? What is next for you?
Who knows mate.