Written by: Cindy Vasko
Broken Records Magazine’s Cindy Vasko spent some time talking to country musician, David St. Romain. He was very eager to talk about many things, and especially Some Things, his new single released on February 6. St. Romain’s Cajun heritage is evident in Some Things’ up-tempo tribute to frankness. Indeed, St. Romain exclaimed, “many Cajun folk are known to be outspoken and this fits into my personality…so much is going on in the realm of politics right now, and the timing was right for the release of the single.” Some Things was actually recorded for his last album, All I Really Wanted to Say, but he said, “It was never included with the last album. I want to be me and be blunt at the same time, so it was time to go ahead and do that” with the release.
St. Romain spoke about his musical aspirations while growing up in Louisiana. He said, “I was one of those cliché’s. I always wanted to perform music. My dad would sing to me all the time and he had a band. Music became a part of my being when I was about five to seven years old. When I was ten, I started playing guitar and by the time I was in middle school, I started doing talent shows and musical theater, and then in high school, I was involved in talent shows and formed a band. A week after I graduated high school, I moved to Nashville. I always wanted to be a country singer. I never understood what it felt like to do anything else. When you are younger and you know what you want to do, you have a focus and a goal to build; otherwise you are just rambling in a cavalier way without knowing what to do.”
Many remember St. Romain as a finalist on Season 5 of the reality show, Nashville Star. St. Romain said his appearance on this show was “an absolutely positive experience” and “the most important thing was to pick the right song.” His appearance on the show allowed for the formation of close friendships, including a special friendship with country music star, Randy Owen, and his family.
St. Romain created his own independent record company label, DSR, and I asked him about this endeavor. He zeroed in on my use of the word endeavor and said, “endeavor is an interesting word. It is a word that means you actually go out and seek” something. In contrast, he said, “I created this label without doing anything with it for about ten years and kept it sitting on the shelf and using it as a source of the business.” He had an association with an independent record label, but when the independent record company stepped away from St. Romain’s projects last year, he noted, “I decided, along with my team, that we would launch the company as the label and move forward with the idea to move projects that we already had in the can. I decided to just do it and everything that comes back into the company, goes into the company. Across the board, everyone has been supportive and I am starting to see the next step. I am producing a young lady that might wind up on my label. I have never focused on anything but being a singer and a songwriter and now I am able to take all of my experience of the last fifteen years and take it to another level. It is another chapter in my life where I have always wanted to be. The label allows me to build a future for my family.”
He added, “I still have a lot of goals as a singer. I would like to continue to move up the charts and have a charted single. A goal is to have a charted single on my own label. That would be a huge milestone for a young man like me. I have a lot of goals. I would love to be able to make a record with my daughter if she would ever want to do that. My daughters are five and three, and at this age, it is a lot of fun; but as a parent, you really think about not making them feel like they have to do what you want.” He emphasized, “I do not want to be a pageant dad or what I call a dad-ager,” but added, “frankly, I would love to share my career with my children on a day-to-day basis”
St. Romain’s other projects include the production of a music video for Some Things as well as an album queued in the production pipeline. Speaking about the album, St. Romain commented, “with the exception of the single, Some Things, I wrote the entire project from scratch to finish. I had some co-writers, but it was my conceptual idea for each of the songs. Every song has a story.”
He spoke of his tour and was pleased that new shows have been added to the appearance schedule. “I would love to be able to tour with a major artist. Paying for the tour is not a problem, it is getting on it,” St. Romain exclaimed.
A lengthy discussion ensued about the evolution of the digital side of the music industry. St. Romain noted, “I absolutely love the digital process. I am a huge supporter of it and the consistent upward movement of technology,” but cautioned, “there is a certain amount of loss that has to happen in every company. No matter what, I will lose a certain amount, but at the same time, it puts my name out there. Someone is always supporting you in some way. There is a viral secondary advantage from the process” in that the digital process prompts other positive benefits where “someone will buy a t-shirt, or they will correspond with you on Twitter. The bottom line is that I am just happy playing music. Just getting out to perform is what God put me here to do.”
St. Romain displayed obvious knowledge and passion about the new frontier of digital music. He said, “we went from 100% physical record sales to now 48% record sales” – a statistic St. Romain put forth compliments of Sean Parker of Napster and Facebook fame. “We crossed the threshold in 2011 where 52% of record sales are digital. If you are not aware of this, you will not exist. I am not trying to write the book, I am just trying to read the book. I try to stay on top of things. This business changes so fast and there are so many new products, digital apps and opportunities, and if you don’t read the insiders’ trades or blogs, then you can’t stay on top of it,” St. Romain added.
He went on to note, “all of the ways the new companies give away apps, recordings and music, is a wonderful idea. A financial loss is part of the marketing. If you ask me, it works. Now we have Spotify and Pandora and I can listen to whatever song I want to hear that is offered on Pandora and Spotify.”
Continuing with a discussion about the new style marketing of the music industry, St. Romain’s admiration for country artist Colt Ford’s business acumen was apparent. He exclaimed, “Colt Ford is ahead of the game. He built an unbelievable fan base that is super loyal. He is selling out 1800 seat venues. This is not just a coincidence. He found a niche and ran with it and now is sitting on 1.8 million digital downloads. One of my goals is to be in Colt Ford’s shoes one day.” He added, “as an artist, I have to continue to write and sing and perform as a label. I have to continue to learn what is ahead of the game and what is the next step. What are we doing six months from now? I have a great team and I have a new radio staff that works internally. I have a business manager and I don’t have to sweat the small stuff.”
He closed the interview by extending his gratefulness to his existing fans and declared, “a real big thank you…it is so gratifying to feel the support.” For prospective fans, he extended a request to, “check me out. I love to sing about real stuff and there is a lot of purpose and meaning in my music.”