First catching our eye with his distinct blue-green hair and thick-framed glasses, No Rome is the Manila-born newcomer who is set with real intentions to take the global stage.
Ever since the London-based Filipino artist, Rome Gomez, better known as No Rome, released “Narcissist,” the song that features Matty Healy and George Daniel of The 1975, which shot him into the starlight in 2018, the 22-year-old has been on a stratospheric rise into the pop music scene, and he’s taking full advantage of it.
Before Rome was catapulted into a whole new lifestyle, Samuel Burgess-Johnson, the visual artist and regular collaborator of The 1975—who also happened to be Matty Healy’s roommate, discovered Rome’s music on SoundCloud by accident and took a liking to his songs. Through an email, Rome recalls sending a demo album and being told that Matty was keen on collaborating with him. From then on, Rome was introduced to Dirty Hit Records.
Leaving everything in Manila behind, Rome decided to have a fresh start in London after testing out the waters for a few months and signing with Dirty Hit. He lived in Matty Healy’s house and eventually started joining The 1975 for their third worldwide tour, his first London show being no less than the O2 Arena. Shortly after, he made Philippine headlines for performing in Coachella, the biggest annual music and arts festival.
Coming off from the high of his second successful EP, Crying in the Prettiest Places, he releases his new single, Talk Nice–a self-produced track from an upcoming mixtape. On the cusp of his world tour with The 1975, Rome comes back to his hometown, Manila, with a headline show that his Filipino fans came to see.
While in Manila, Rome talks with MEGA about his new record – exploring his bittersweet relationship with money, and recalling how he put all his cards on the table to get to where he is now. As he talks to MEGA about his upcoming mixtape, he compares his previous EPs with the new one, saying that his older songs were, “very self-critical or personal experience of getting involved in situations.”
“While this song,” he continues, “inspired me to talk nice for once. It is a sad song, but there’s like this obvious message.”
Themed around the realization of revolving one’s life on money, Talk Nice is a firm statement of intent from the 22-year-old artist. “I wrote it after my birthday. I was in the studio, this really nice residential studio in LA–it’s the nicest studio I’ve ever seen,” he describes. “Basically, there was a big house and the side of the mansion is the studio. So you get to sleep in the mansion and then wake up, there’s a pool in the middle. It was a whole thing for yourself. And for some reason, I just kind of felt like I was doing stuff for the wrong reasons. I suppose that’s how it became that song. It’s not a song about anti-money. It’s just a song about having something to live for.”
When asked if he had ever imagined being where he is now, he answers, “I had intentions, but I didn’t expect it to be like this kind…whatever this is. But I had intentions of branching out my music, not just one spot. I wanted a broader audience, ’cause I liked to remain inside my space, so it was definitely a different thing for me, especially facing big crowds. But as far as it goes, I think touring with The 1975 and co-signs from people like Ryan Hemsworth, from then on, I kinda figured it might actually go somewhere. But it’s still weird.”
With a new mixtape in the works, Rome reveals that Talk Nice is the only song that sounds like his previous records. “The first two EPs I did with Dirty Hit are a bit conceptual. There’s a lot of songs there about rapping and introducing myself. So this next mixtape is just about having fun, it’s all these pieces of music rather than a collective idea of music. This one is like R&B. I’m pretty excited.”
Collaborating with Dijon, Beabadoobee, and Bearface, Rome remains hopeful for this new phase of his career. “I gotta be doing way more stuff to show some sort of growth and make the songs better,” he says.
No doubt, there is nowhere to go but up as No Rome is on his way to establishing himself as one of the most exciting, talented new breed of pop stars around.