Sun 3/11 @ 7PM
Cleveland’s Michelle Romary is back with her third EP Grounded, which finds the singer-songwriter performing a fresh batch of originals that delve into pop, rock, punk, reggae, western and folk.
For the upcoming CD release show scheduled for Sun 3/11 at Music Box Supper Club, Romary, joined by Efraín Hernández (drums), Jimmi Chance (guitar), Brent Hamker (guitar) and Matthew DeRubertis (bass), plans on performing new material, as well as a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Paint it Black.”
When she’s not creating music, Romary is working on her own apparel line (Michelle Romary Apparel), which is sold at In the 216, BAYarts, Artefino Cafe & Gallery and Print & Press Shop & Studios. She also sells her wares at Cleveland Bazaar shows.
CoolCleveland talked to Romary about new EP, her successful apparel business and the secret to success.
CoolCleveland: Congratulations on Grounded. What’s your thinking about releasing an EP over an album?
Michelle Romary: I was planning on doing a four-part series and so this is the third EP in it. I feel like I — as well as many other people — just don’t have the attention span for an LP anymore, unfortunately. I personally like to put out a release a year, and six songs is just easier and faster than having 10 songs ready to go. This EP was due out in 2017, we just got really busy. A lot of people even now are going to releasing singles, which I usually release from every EP.
CC: Pretty soon all artists will only release 10-second snippets of songs.
MR: I know, it makes me sad. In particular, one of the songs, “Perfect Timing,” at the very end is completely different than the beginning, so it’s like I hope people listen to the end. I know our attention spans are short, but hopefully people are still putting in a CD or putting on Spotify and listening to the whole song. I was in a band called Pout. We had a full-length album out, and we also had an EP out. So those were kind of the precursors to seguing in to my original music. Pout disbanded, but I use the same musicians.
CC: Um, do you still pout?
MR: No, I’m happy. I’m a very happy person.
CC: So tell us about the idea behind Grounded.
MR: I can’t not write music. This is something I just have to do. I’ve been doing this since I was a little girl. So it’s just my way of speaking what I want to say. And you know whether people respond to it positively and listen is up to them. It’s great, but these songs in particular I did get a little bit more political with them. There’s one song about loss and heartbreak. I typically tend to write more about what I’m seeing and how I’m feeling.
CC: Stylistically speaking, what were you going for on Grounded?
MR: People put me in this kind of pop-rock bubble. It’s an interesting thing trying to describe your own music. It seems like I’m really good at describing other people’s music, but when it comes to my own it’s harder. This album in particular I’d classify as indie rock. There are elements of like spaghetti western on one song (“My Light”), I have a reggae-inspired ska song (“With Me”) too, I have a punk-rock inspired song (“One Last Drink”). I even throw in a little bit of spoken-word-thing in one song (“Perfect Timing”). So it’s just kind of all over the place and that’s kind of where I prefer to be. There’s no rap, no heavy metal, but it definitely spans the gamut.
CC: Well, perhaps you can delve into metal and rap on your next EP?
MR: (laughs) Yes, you never know.
CC: In terms of genre-jumping, it appears as though you take the same diverse approach when it comes to your arts and apparel work.
MR: It’s funny, that’s exactly how it happens, yes. I love all sorts of music. I love all sorts of art. So I have a clothing line, and I don’t just design and sew clothing. I also make graphics; I put graphics on different mediums. Like I’m working on a mug and coasters right now. I’ve incorporated lavender working with herbs in my line. I’m just all over the place. I love doing graphic design. I love sewing, I love designing clothing. You can’t keep me down.
CC: Finally, it seems as though no matter if it’s music or apparel, you’re living your dream.
MR: Yes, I’m older. I’m not in my 20s. I feel very secure with what I’m doing. I feel that I spent enough time singing, writing, recording and designing clothing that I just can take it and do exactly what I want to do. And people have responded positively to it so far, so it’s worked out for me. Someone once told me you can make anything a success, you just have to stick with it. And that’s the truth.