In 2007 singer Romain Virgo, then just 17 years old, made history as the youngest person to win Digicel Rising Stars, Jamaica’s wildly popular TV talent competition. Romain clinched the contest with his rollicking interpretation of Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke”, which earned rave reviews from the judges and a standing ovation from the studio audience. He also won the hearts of Jamaican TV viewers with his good-natured humility and robust vocals, which evoke the essence of revered soul stars Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye.
Among the prizes bestowed upon the Rising Stars champion was JA$1 million (approximately US$11,300) and the opportunity to record with producers Richard “Shams” Browne and Tony Rebel. Rebel, a successful artist in his own right, referred Romain to veteran producer Donovan Germain, the founder of Penthouse Records whose label and recording studio provided a successful launching pad for many young reggae artists throughout the late 80 until the mid 90s including Rebel, Wayne Wonder, Cutty Ranks, Sanchez and Buju Banton whom Germain managed for 18 years.
Recognizing Romain’s vast potential, Germain encouraged him to write his own songs. Romain took that advice and has since penned several reggae hits including “Wanna Go Home (Rain Is Falling)”, “Murderer” and the Jamaican chart topper “Can’t Sleep”, which earned the singer many fans beyond the island’s shores. Those songs, alongside several new selections featured on Romain’s impressive, self-titled debut album, released on VP Records in June 2010, confirm that this rising star has now matured into a stellar reggae talent.