Hey Romeo

Edmonton trio Hey Romeo brings upon us a breath of fresh air and happy vibes.  Gorgeous Stacie Roper and her partners Darren Gusnowsky and Rob Shapiro have been hard at work in the last few months  recording and taking to the road their new album Twist of Fate that was released on June 26th, 2012.  Hey Romeo's previous largely successful album That's What I Am and extensive touring with notably country music stars Sugarland, Johnny Reid and Gord Bamford created the perfect platform to build some notoriety in the industry and earned them the title Group of the Year at the last CCMA.  It has been an exciting summer for Hey Romeo and as the current tour is coming to an end Rob Shapiro takes a few minutes to tell us about the new album.  For more info about this band and tour dates, visit: HeyRomeo.com
Interview by: Valerie Bastien
Valerie: Tell us about the history of your band and how you got together.

Rob: Darren Gusnowsky (guitar and vocals) and myself were freelance musicians playing for Gord Bamford at a rodeo in Leduc, AB.  When Gord called Stacie Roper on stage to sing a song and that is when we first heard one of the best female singers around. Soon after that Stacie called and asked us to join her on a show in a club in Edmonton. Darren and I had a band called Udder Maddness at the time and we convinced Stacie to be a part of a band and forgo being a solo artist. Three albums, 10 singles, a couple hundred thousand kms through four countries later and we’ve never looked back.

Valerie: You have released your third album album "Twist of Fate" on June 26th, 2012. How does it make you feel?

Rob: It is our 3rd record so it’s a continuation of a band growing as songwriters and performers. It’s a breath of fresh air, playing brand new music for our fans who have been patiently waiting.

Valerie: Describe how the title represents the overall delivery of the album.

Rob: The song Twist of Fate was co-written with Carolyn Dawn Johnson not long after we won the 2011 CCMA Group of the Year. It kind of expressed how we felt collectively as we were underdogs in the category so it was a pleasant surprise and inspired the song.

Valerie: All three of you are accomplished musicians and surprisingly, there are many collaborations on this album. Why was it important to you to reach out to other artists during the writing process?

Rob: Co-writing is a great way to let the idea you have grow into song that maybe would not have got finished as I’m guilty for not finishing the whole idea. CDJ and Victoria Banks have great careers as artists and are our friends, our producer Byron Hill is a hit songwriter as well as Roger Brown. We wanted to let the best song win so we wrote a lot and these were the ones that really stood out.

Valerie: What was your first single off this album? What is this song about?

Rob: "Jump Back In" is the debut single.  It's about getting over your past, getting rid of emotional baggage and letting the fun back into a relationship.

Valerie: What other topics have you written about on this album?

Rob: Songs about real life, dealing with relationships that we all have and reflecting a bit on them.  There’s a good two step, a drinkin song about the ladies, a love song or two, story of a house, story of  being in a relationship with the right person and the wrong one and one about remembering someone.

Valerie: What is your favourite song on the album?

Rob: "Maybe You Remember Me Now" or "It’s a House"

Valerie: You have been lucky enough to open for many experienced country acts such as Sugarland, Johnny Reid and
Gord Bamford. What have you learned from watching or sharing the stage with these artists?

Rob: If you put an acoustic guitar in their hand and sit them down in a room by themselves, they will all knock you out with how good they are. Gord took us across Canada and that was amazing, it was our first time on a tour bus so it was a nice way to get across the country. Gord has a ton of hits and is a great story teller, he is unique as well. Johnny Reid has amazing command of his audience and has that smokey voice, his success speaks for itself. Sugarland had just broke when we opened for them, her voice crosses over well and showed if you have the right song you can connect with a lot of people.

Valerie: What song is the most meaningful to you and why?

Rob: That’s a tough one, I assume you mean on our record so again I will go with "Maybe You Remember Me Now" as it gave me chills to sing it in the studio and I think it was just how our voices blended together. "You Are So Not The Guy" is cool as it's kind of the opposite of what you think it might be lyrically.

Valerie: Thanks Rob for the interview.  We'll keep an eye on your future tourn plans!

Valerie Bastien is a vocal coach, teacher, musician and freelance journalist.
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