Exclusives Interviews 24 August 2019
Author: Jack Lynch

GRM EXCLUSIVE: Romzy talks his debut mixtape ‘Y1C’, shutting down festivals and his journey so far

24 August 2019

From his breakout party anthem, “Bottles Get Popped”, to the dancehall energy of last month’s “More Life No Stress”, Romzy has proven he can capture a vibe while playfully moving between genres. Woolwich’s Youngest-in-Charge is on the cusp of a major moment, with support coming from influential figures across the industry such as, Giggs, Tinie Tempah, Tion Wayne, DJ Target, Twin B, Sian Anderson, Toddla T, Charlie Sloth, Tim Westwood and Kenny Allstar.

The next move to come from Romzy will see the 17-year-old raise the bar once more. After sharing his brand new track, “Position”, which he will then follow on Friday, by dropping his eagerly anticipated debut mixtape, Y1C.

Set to become an immediate summer anthem, “Position” sizzles with Caribbean flavour, complemented by smooth vocals and an upbeat energy – one that we have come to expect from Romzy. Produced by Nastylgia, the track sees him link up with Big Zeeks, the Fresh Prince of Harlesden, and another talented teenager in IQ, who himself recently dropped his Jamaican Prince EP. All three artists reunited for the summer party vibe that director, Kevin Hudson (Yxng Bane, Chip, Avelino) captured in the track’s visual.

“I kind of got bored of making the same type of tracks, the Afro-swingy, type of vibe,” says Romzy. “But I thought, let’s try something a bit different.”

“At the beginning it was just a track by myself, I never had Big Zeeks or IQ on it, but when it came to wrapping up the tape, we thought why don’t we approach some features for the track. Big Zeeks was the first to send through his verse. 

“So we had someone who was more of an older, who cared for the scene, then I thought let me approach another hot artist from the younger generation, so I holla’d at IQ. He done his verse, he sent it back, and the rest was history.”

“Position” is just one of the essential tunes that feature on the Y1C mixtape. Also featuring “Bottles Get Popped”, “Talk On Me”, “PANIC”, “Tracky & Sliders” and “More Life No Stress”, the mixtape features many memorable Romzy anthems. It’s like an old school ‘best of’ collection. But it’s also full of new, fresh material for fans to delve deeper into, from the punchy, 808-ridden opener in “Y1C”, to the swaggering rhythm and clever wordplay of “Salad”, and of course the slick and smooth “Free Yard”, Plus a feature from Zion B on “Supa Dupa”.

With the majority of the mixtape being produced by Romzy’s long-term collaborator, J. Bidz, there are also credits on the project for Wildboy Ace, Toddla T and Sevaqk.

“The tape was more of a project to show how versatile I am. People are gonna hear the tape and they’re going to hear the difference in the songs. I didn’t want it to be a tape where the songs all sound the same, I want it to be like ‘rah, he’s hitting me with a new sound’. 

“Even in the intro, it’s got a live instrument. We got a guitarist to come in the studio, just to sort of, tweak it up a bit and add a different sound,” Romzy continues.

The sound coming from Romzy is rooted in the current London scene as he cites Giggs, J Hus and Not3s as key influences. But he also spent time living in his father’s homeland of Jamaica, where the nation’s vibrant sounds helped shape his own style. Romzy says, “My mum was always nagging me to make a bashment tune, hence why I did “Postion”, she loves it. She always reminds me not to forget my roots and always remember to have that input in my music.”

After honing his craft, Romzy’s big break came when he was just sixteen-years-old when “Bottles Get Popped” exploded. Acclaim soon followed as Romzy developed his growing collection of tracks, alongside a live shows which saw him shut down Wireless and start mosh pits at the Reading and Leeds Festivals – all in the same summer where the musician completed his GCSEs.

“It was eye opening, but what I like to say to other up and coming artists, don’t feel like you need a million views to be on festivals, or feel like you need to be at a certain height – it’s all about hard work, and having the right team around you that can make it happen. 

“For example, I performed Wireless, Reading and Leeds and I didn’t have a million views. I had a song that a lot people had known, which was “Bottles Get Popped”, but I wasn’t in the charts or anything. For that one I’d like to shout out my manager because he told me “2018, were gonna do Wireless” and he’s stuck to his word and made it happen. But it just felt amazing, telling all my bredrins I was gonna be on wireless, it was an amazing feeling,” Romzy says humbly. 

Despite all this success, Romzy is not intending on slowing down, the release of the mixtape on Friday is the perfect way to prove that. “I want this tape to reach as many people as possible, the sky’s the limit,” adds Romzy.

“Hopefully I get a load of bookings off the back of it, so we can tour the music. But it would be sick too if other artists can listen to it and say “yeah, this kid’s sick, like let’s work”. 

But as far as collaborations go for Romzy, the artist says “I’m open about who I work with, I’m not the type of guy to work with someone just because they’re hot, even if someone is up and coming, and I like their style and they have a vision for themselves.”

However, music isn’t the only lane with Romzy, “I want to branch into modelling and acting too. I’ve got a campaign with Hoodrich and Footasylum, which is going into stores soon. It’s more than music, I don’t want to be that guy who’s known for just music.” 

Romzy’s debut mixtape, Y1C is available for streaming on now!