MP3 Joe Romeo - Grace is the Ocean
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12 MP3 Songs
GOSPEL: Contemporary Gospel, FOLK: Folk Pop
A Brief Biography
My name is Joe Romeo. Iâm a 41 year old country GP, married with 6 kids.
I grew up in Brookvale, in Sydney, with Mum listening to 2UE, when songs like âtie a yellow ribbonâ were big. Other than this, there was no musical influence as a child. At high school, in year 8, I discovered Mozart. I was learning the clarinet, and realized with some surprise, that I could read the music in our school score reading book, play it, and recognize the piece. I went out and bought my first record, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. I was not only addicted to Mozart, but I wanted to learn how harmony worked. I had my clarinet, an old guitar, but no piano, so I worked from manuscript. I started with the scale in G major (the key of Mozartâs serenade), and soon had all the notes and common chords sussed out. I spent hours on my music homework, and minutes on everything else. If we had to write a melody, I would always fill it out into a two hand piano arrangement. I would spend the night looking forward to the next day, rushing to school so that my teacher would play the piece I had written on the piano, and I would hear it for the first time. I learnt a lot from this, and must honour Lynne Leak, my music teacher (and excellent pianist), for encouraging me so much at that time.
My clarinet playing came along, and I was able to join the Sydney Youth Orchestra (second orchestra) as a second clarinet for a year in 1981. I also played in the conservatorium wind orchestra and attended the clarinet society at the time. I entered eisteddfods, but did best in composition, winning at the Warringah Eisteddfod in 1980, and receiving a commendation in the Sydney eisteddfod in 1981.
In 1982 I completed my HSC with an overall mark of 459, my 3 unit music mark was 142 (out of 150) and this included composition as my major.
At some point I had bought my younger brother, Dom, a copy of the Beatles red and blue album (on vinyl) as a birthday present.
In 1983 I started medicine at Sydney University. Early in 1984 I was âborn againâ in my faith as a christian. I had let music go to a large degree, but by 1986 had written my first christian song. It was also around this time that I started listening to more popular music, and became a huge fan of the Beatles.
A close friend, Greg Macdonald, had written a fantastic worship song, which he played to me, and soon had it recorded by Rob Smith, on his first professional worship tape. I was there in the studio for his vocal takes, and that was my first experience of a recording studio. When I graduated, in 1988, I asked Dad for a guitar as a gift, and he bought me a fender acoustic. I had continued to write songs, and occasionally shared these with friends. In 1988, I went to Taree, as an intern, and bought a Korg midi keyboard and a Kawai Synth module, as well as a Maton 12 string (amazing what an income can do!). I think the Commodore 64 I owned had a midi interface, and I quickly learnt how to programme midi with this early computer. Dad bought me a four track Tascam tape recorder, and I was starting to make simple demos of songs I had written. One song âJesus our Kingâ, was well liked by Don Priest, of New Creation Ministries, and he included it in their hymn book.
In 1991 I met my wife Elizabeth, and we married the following year. In 1993 we settled in Narrandera, in the Riverina.
It wasnât until 1998 that a friend, David Maegraith, encouraged me to record a CD of worship songs. He helped me a great deal, in terms of advice on what process was needed. His brother Richard was willing to produce the songs, and by late 1999, we had released my first CD âGrace is the Oceanâ, a collection of worship songs.
In 1999 I also re- entered the Sydney Eisteddfod (now the MacDonaldâs Performing Arts Eisteddfod), and I entered a piece I had composed for string quartet, a Rondo. I was fortunate to win the open composition section with this piece.
I continued to write songs, and had long moved to Macintosh computers and since 2003, a digi 002 for demos. I had enough songs for a second CD, but in the meantime had met Wal Spencer, and watched him perform his one man gospel drama in Narrandera. I thought it would make a good musical, so we agreed to start with one song, and see how things turned out. This song was âOrdinary peopleâ. A year later, we had a musical with 16 songs and an overture, ready to perform. This happened in 2004, and again in 2006. Over 4000 people have seen it, and have found it both moving and entertaining.
In 2005, with the prospect of âGruntâ being performed again, I decided that Grunt should be recorded, rather than a second CD of worship music. The recording happened during a week in November, at A sharp, and was an amazing experience. I was particularly thrilled with the horn parts âworkingâ.
I continue to write songs, and hope to find an audience either in worship songs, or pop music. I love the big Disney cartoon productions, and would love to have a go at a film score.
I have a busy life as a country GP, but always seem to find time to work on music.
Although I am classically self taught, I feel there is as much skill needed in writing a successful pop song, as there is needed in writing a fugue. Iâm sure that many would argue against this point.
Blind Can See Music
22 Bells Rd Narrandera, NSW. 2700
in partnership with CDbaby
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