Independent Artist of the Week: romæo
March 8th 2021
Photo: Matt Sitas
Wading the melodramatic waters of art-pop production, Sydney artist romæo wields a witchy wand. Her sophomore single ‘stare’ dances on the grave of realism, transcending to a far more interesting place.
Like the doll-like twins of The Shining, romæo is a dual force of both sweet and sour. Her second single Stare performatively showcases this Gemini act with a defining sense of artistry. Delicate, draw-you-closer vocals are paired with a strange anti-lullaby opener. It’s the kind of clunky jewellery box epilogue that’s a bread crumb trail towards danger as the seduction fast descends into an sci-fi synth fest. Whilst the ‘Stranger Things’ connotations build on a dark narrative, textural breathiness adds charm, letting all the eeriness settle in. romæo explains:
“‘stare’ began as a simple acoustic guitar folk song about the effort I had gone to in order to catch someone’s attention, obviously to no avail. I then overdramatised the whole experience and imagined what it would look like if my online stalking was translated to the real world. I wanted the production to demonstrate both the excitement and innocence of a crush but also the destructive obsession it can quickly turn into.”
This confronting look at social stalking is brought forth in a stark light. Layered clapping beats form a cocktail of teenage obsession and modern dance. romæo experiments with time signature and structure, making ‘stare’ a thrilling listen that’s as unpredictable and polarising as she is.