Riccardo Vitalone aka ROAMAN is on a mission to spread love, positivity, hope and change. Our friendship began when I discovered live performance of his song “People Of The Sun”. I was so moved by the message and decided to reach out. Later this year ROAMAN is releasing LP and there is no better time than now to have a conversation about music and life.
We live in a time when everyone has lost touch with the universe and nature. Instead, we surround ourselves with different gadgets. What is your secret to happiness?
I love this, straight to the juice. I don’t know if I have a “secret” to happiness, I think happiness – at least in the way we understand it – is such a fleeting feeling that trying to hold on to it can be in itself the cause for unhappiness.
But without getting too philosophical for me happiness is being surrounded by positive, loving, creative people, having the freedom and resources to do what I love, feeling loved, being good to myself and being kind to others. Having a more child-like mentality also helps.
When we look at the world and our own life with the eyes of a child, we rediscover the magic that pervades this whole experience, and that sense of wonder is like water for the seeds of happiness that are already within us.ROAMAN
What is your mission as a singer-songwriter?
I want to use my music to spread some love and awareness, to shake the collective conscience, comfort the heart and uplift the spirit of the people.
Can you please finish the sentence: Music to me is…
Music to me is what feelings sound like. I don’t know who said this originally, but I couldn’t agree more. It’s hard to put in words something as ineffable as music.
Music is magic, pure magic
Congratulations on being one of 20 finalists for “Shure Up the beat & track competition”. Can you tell me more about it?
Thank you so much! Yeah, that whole thing happened unexpectedly. I was on an independent tour across the U.S. and recorded a video in Joshua Tree, CA for a new song that I had just finished writing. I was staying in a trailer in the desert with my girlfriend, and the place was too beautiful not to shoot a video. Only a few days later I found out about this online music competition by Shure looking for the best music video recorded with a phone in an unusual location. So I submitted the video I already had, and now I’m in the top 20. Pretty cool!
Who are your role models in life?
Anyone who is genuinely kind, loving and compassionate. Anyone who is standing up for peace, justice and equality. Anyone who’s out there fighting for and promoting a more conscious and sustainable way of living. Anyone taking care of our planet for all of us, educating the masses and being a voice for the voiceless.
Anyone using their talents and skills to create for the sake of sharing, shaking and inspiring. There are so many of them, too many!ROAMAN
Who would you like to collaborate with?
Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Tupac, Amy Winehouse, Trevor Hall, Jason Mraz, Nahko, Brett Dennen, Rising Appalachia, Ben Harper, Justin Timberlake, Rising Appalachia….just to name a few! They’re all amazing artists, each in their very own way, and it would be just the coolest thing to collaborate with any of them on anything…even though I know some of them may be a bit harder to collaborate with than others.
Where do you find inspiration for your uplifting music?
Usually, inspiration finds me, when I least expect it. But I do find a lot of inspiration in nature, just sitting under a tree, or in front of the ocean can sometimes be enough to spark something. I’m also moved by what is happening in the world; I hear all the shit that’s going down, and inevitably I feel called to write and sing about it.
How does your creative process look like?
It kind of changes, it’s never really the same. Sometimes it starts with a word or a sentence I read somewhere, sometimes with a melody or a hook I hear in my head, sometimes – the best times – a song will literally pour out of me in a matter of minutes. It’s still kind of a mystery to me.
I try to attend to the creative spark when it happens and allow whatever wants to come, come when it’s ready.
Once the foundations for a song are laid down (say the melody or the theme), I can then spend weeks working on it, choosing the right words, the right flow, the right feel. A song won’t feel complete until there’s nothing I could add or take away or change, then I know a new creation is ready to be shared with others.
Do you have a song that when you hear it, you’d be like “Damn, I wish I’d written that?
I can think of two songs right now: one is “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell, an absolute classic and some of the best lyrics ever written.
The other is “Beautiful Mess” by Jason Mraz, such a gorgeous song.
If you could do one thing to make the world a better place what would that be?
The serious, more realistic answer is just to keep working on myself to be not just a messenger but the very essence of the things I sing about. Humanity is made up of billions of people, little droplets in a vast ocean, and I know that the world will never be a better place unless we become better people. So I’ll start with me, and trust that if I’m doing something right that something will inevitably cause positive ripples.
The less serious and entirely unrealistic answer is:
I would have anyone involved in any war, conflict, oppression, exploitation experiment with psychedelicsROAMAN
Imagine that! Have them take some acid at sunrise by the ocean, or eat some magic mushrooms in the forest and end the day by sitting around the fire under the stars to share their experiences and realisations, reconnecting with each other, passing around some medicinal herb and listening to some old school reggae. Then see if they still want to kill each other and destroy our beautiful planet!
What would you like to be remembered for?
Not my last answer. Jokes aside, I would like to be remembered as a good man, a friend of the people, as someone who brought some joy wherever he went, as a warrior who didn’t give up. I would also love to be remembered as one of the great singer-songwriters of our time, as an artist who used his voice to bring people together and tried to use his music for something greater than himself. Knowing that when I leave a part of me will live on in my music is a very special thing.
In your song “Speck of Dust” you say “What is the purpose of this life if not to dance until the end?”. Do you ever think of how life will be when you are much older?
I do, and I don’t. Whenever I think about the future is usually not more than a couple of years ahead. I think about where I’d like to be in a few years as far as where I want to make my home or things I would like to accomplish and manifest. But I do like to imagine myself as a happy old man, content with what I’ve done, in a loving relationship, living with my family in a beautiful, place possibly by the ocean.
What are the biggest highlights of your life?
Being in London between 2014 and 2015, when I lived between a hippie commune and a canal boat, that was fun. Living, creating, travelling and performing with my best friends who also happen to be amazing artists and singer-songwriters. Spending two winters in Tenerife living on a banana plantation right by the water, writing songs, living a simple life and reconnecting with myself, that was a highlight. My one year anniversary, when after 12 months of long distance and lots of travelling back and forth to be together with my girlfriend and I celebrated in Venice Beach, CA on the same beach where we had met a year before. Performing with Michael Franti in London on his Soul-Rocker Tour in front of 2000 people. Busking in front of hundreds of people in the squares of Rome who would gather around and stay for sometimes almost two hours just to listen to the music. Many highlights, I consider myself very blessed for that.
With everything that is happening right now in the world, I believe that your song “People of the Sun” should be the main theme inspiring people to wake the fuck up. I’m curious to know how the song was born.
There is one specific event that inspired me to write the song, and that was back in the fall of 2015 when England declared war on Syria and started bombing the people. I was in Tenerife “living the life” and when I heard that someone, somewhere was getting bombed for some bullshit agenda (still today in 2018), truly enraged me and it took me a few days to calm down and start putting the song together. It all started with the very first line :
People of the Sun come together unite,
Holy children of the Earth do you know why we fight?
as in “Yo, people wake up do you know that we’re at war???”
Your debut album of the same name should be released this year. What was the concept behind the songs we will hear on the album?
Although the pillar of the album is simply “love”, there are three main themes: What the hell is going on and what do we do about it?
Let’s slow down to reconnect and heal ourselves before we go out and try to change the worldROAMAN
Time to come together as a human family, “The People of the Sun”.
I don’t want to give away too much, but let’s just say: expect the unexpected! I’ve moved away from the purely acoustic sound of my first two EPs, and I’ve started experimenting with and incorporating new sounds and new instruments. Expect a fuller production, a mix of folk, reggae, hip-hop and gospel and some real bangers that I can’t wait to start sharing. I must give a shoutout two my two friends and co-producers of this album Jesse Sheehan and Samuele Cangi for being the musical geniuses they are and for being down to co-create with me.
What does it mean to have your album out there in the world?
In a way, it feels like a child, my little creation that I’m preparing to walk on its own and head out in the world to do some good. There’s something truly magical about creation, about bringing into the world something that wasn’t here before, and it’s been a truly incredible experience to see these songs evolve from an idea in my head to a melody to some lyrics scribbled on a piece of paper to a full song that I can now share with everyone. It’s pretty special.
How long have you been working on it? Is it correct that you already finished recording but you had to delay the release date?
Yes, that is correct indeed. I started recording in Tuscany in September of last year after a successful crowdfunding campaign to produce and release an EP of 6 songs. We couldn’t finish everything we wanted within the time we had in the studio and shortly after that I went to the States for almost 5 months to spend the winter with my girlfriend, so I had to put the project on hold. Which at first was a bummer but it turned out to be a good thing as I wrote 3 new songs during my time in the U.S. and so I came back to London to record these new tunes and add them to the EP which is now going to be an album. Funny how things work out! I don’t have a specific release date yet but if all goes well the project will be complete by the end of May, and I’ll share the first single between June and July.
I am so happy to see that you are quoting Amanda Palmer on your Patreon page. She is such an inspiration to many.
She is a badass woman who is making waves as an independent artist. Very strong, creative and captivating character, I have much to learn from her!
Do you think platforms like Patreon are important to help independent artists?
A real revolution in the way artists and creators can connect with their audience and community to receive the support they need to keep making art. Artists need all the support they can get, and I’m happy to see more and more people stepping up and chipping in to support art in all its forms.
I feel like I haven’t been that involved recently, but I’ve spent the past week or so re-imagining and editing my page to try and reach even more people and make the most of this awesome platform.
If you could start the revolution, what would it stand for?
For peace, for justice, for equality, for truth, for no more bullshit, for the cessation of the constant abuse of our planet and our people, and for the innate right we all have to be happy, love and be loved.ROAMAN