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.

Tune in to Up For It with Courtney Ammenhauser every Monday morning from 6am to meet your Independent Artist of the Week!

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