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Xana Romeo was born Azana Makeda Smith on August 26, 1994, in a small community called Greenwich Town, in Kingston Jamaica. She is the youngest daughter of reggae veteran, Max Romeo. Xana has been playing around with music her entire life but recently, in 2014, decided to make it her career choice.
In the early 2000’s, Max Romeo moved with his wife and kids to a place called Treadways, located in Linstead, St Catherine, Jamaica, where Xana finished school and currently resides with her parents and siblings.
Xana is the manager of her father’s business, Charmax Music Enterprise, which includes the Red Ark Recording Studio and Charmax Music label. This is where all her tracks are recorded, mixed, mastered and produced. Working alongside her dad, Max Romeo, Omar Johnson, otherwise known as Jallanzo the multi-talented from the group, DubTonic Kru, and Calvin Bennion of Firsteye Production from London England, Xana is currently in the process of working on her first project set to release soon. The project will be a Dub Treatment, the genre of reggae that Xana is focused on. Her love for Dub music has grown over the years and she now composes Dub Instrumentals and assists with the arrangement of the tracks.
Xana is a very artistic individual who enjoys creating her own art, paintings, and drawings etc., in her spare time. She has a love for African fashion and plans to release her African Print Clothing line in the future. Photography is also an interest of Xana. She never leaves home without her camera and likes to take random snaps of whatever strikes her interest.
Xana has worked with a lot of major producers and musicians and has been featured on a few shows with her dad and brothers (Rominal). Xana Romeo is set to tour Europe and the world in the upcoming year with hopes to leave a mark in the reggae music industry as effective as her dad did.
Xana recently released her first single to the public titled ‘No Love’, on her birthday, August 26, 2014.
IRIE. You are the daughter of veteran roots-reggae singer Max Romeo. What inspired you to pursue music and how long have you been making music?
Xana Romeo: I’ve been writing music for as long as I can remember, but my dream as a kid was to become an Architect. I still have an obsession with buildings and construction and hope to make that a reality someday. I was raised in a musical environment. I don’t know how to wake up to a 9-5 life and live an organized life while working for a firm. Music is the only thing I know. Neither of my parents had jobs outside music. All my family members worked together to build something ‘musically’. My entire life was built in a recording studio. That’s how my dad would make money to support us. That’s what he would do for fun. He turned to the Mic when he was happy orsad. He was there for both business and pleasure. Music is his life. So I wouldn’t say I chose to pursue a career in music… it chose me. I was born a musician and I’ll die one.
IRIE. What’s it like to work with your dad? Any pressures?
Xana Romeo: Working with my dad is easy, very easy, as he is a very simple man. I look up to my dad and all the veteran icons in Reggae Music. It’s a pleasure to have a foundation artiste to be my father. I look at it in a way where I tell my self “I can never go wrong if I follow his instructions” for he was there, he was among those who created what taking up. I am a reflection of my father. I grew up hearing that (lol). So it’s not hard for me. All I do is work on a project, then have him listen. He gives his opinion, and I work with what he says, cause after all “Daddy knows best”. He’s 70 yrs old. There is nothing I can do that he hasn’t yet tried or done, better yet mastered.
IRIE. Tell us about your upcoming European tour with your dad and brothers.
Xana Romeo: I’m set to tour Europe for the first time with my father and younger brothers ‘Rominal’ later this year. This was always daddy’s dream when we first started doing music as a group called “My Kids”. All three of us would write our own songs and perform them together, but I was shy back then (lol). I was even scared to eat in public so I left the group.
IRIE. You’re currently working on a music project? Can you tell us a little bit about the concept behind the project, who you are working with and what we can expect from the final release?
Xana Romeo: The title of the project is ‘The Cleanse’. I recently started viewing life differently. I woke up and realized that negativity breeds negativity which later leads to a negative heart and a poisonous soul. I was lost, so lost that at the time I didn’t know it. I caught up on the wrong side of the world, living the fast and flashy life. I had everything around me to lead me unto the right path but peer pressure and mind control had me at its best. The media infected my mind just as it does to most young individuals, living in this Americanized generation. I was unaware of my past so I couldn’t create my own future. This was a major change in my life so I decide to write about it, hoping that it might inspire another lost soul. For that is how it goes. Jah uses us to deliver his messages. So that’s what The Cleanse is, a message. I’m working along with Jallanzo Muliti-talented, known form the Dub Tonic Kru, and Calvin Bennion of Firsteye Productions in London. Working along Jallanzo feels like a day in the park (lol). He’s like the fun big brother I never had. All my brothers are always busy working. Jallanzo is one of the most talented person I’ve ever met, and he’s like a doctor treating a baby (lol). He knows how to add fun to everything (lol). I recently met Calvin back in the summer of last year but it seem he has been around forever. I call him my ‘angel on earth’ as I never met someone so pure and innocent in all my 20 years on earth.
This project won’t be just another compilations of tracks on a disk. It will represent hard work and dedication put in by all.
IRIE. You have your own studio. What equipment do you use and do you play any instruments?
Xana Romeo: The Charmax Red Ark studio which is an analog studio named by daddy (Max Romeo) in honor of the Legendary Black Ark. It was recently refurbished and reopened. I play around with the violin sometimes but I’m not yet a professional. Never played in public but I do play at home.
IRIE. Is it true that you managed the family business, Charmax Music Ltd? Can you take us through a normal work day?
Xana Romeo: I’ve been managing and operating my family business for 3 years now. I’m in charged of filing of documents, payroll, marketing etc. My sisters assist with accounting and finance as I’m not a lover of math (lol).
IRIE. When you’re not making music or running the family business, what do you like to do and where do you like to go to just chill or escape?
Xana Romeo: I’m a lover of nature so I enjoy being outside. I like to draw pictures of what is around me and paint them later. I also enjoy taking pictures of what interest me. I guess you can say I kinda like wanna be photographer (lol). But my favorite place to be at this moment is at Kingston Dub Club up by Uncle Gabre in Jacks Hill on a Sunday night. It’s my lil heaven on earth (lol).
IRIE. I hear you are a Dub fanatic like myself. Can you share with us your obsession with Dub?
Xana Romeo: It’s a feeling I myself can’t describe. I haven’t worked out how to explain it fully but it’s a connection, a strong one. When I listen to a Dub Instrumental I feel connected, to something powerful. I like that feeling.
IRIE. What can we expect from Xana Romeo in 2015 and beyond?
Xana Romeo: My aim is not to be famous or wealthy by doing music. If that was the case, I would have achieved that many years ago with the help of my father. I’ve been sitting on my talents for years, lowering my voice and storing my message. So look to expect me to stop doing that. I’m ready to have the world hear what I have to say, one step at a time, one day at a time.. no rush. Just pure love and strength.
IRIE. Is there anything you would like to share with the IRIE audience?
Xana Romeo: I’ll be releasing ‘The Cleanse’, first on vinyl. So for all the vinyl lovers out there, look out for this one.
IRIE. Nuff Respect!