Toppa Top 20: LargeUp’s Artists to Watch For 2016

Xana Romeo (Jamaica)

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Photo: Varun Baker

Meet Xana Romeo, self-proclaimed dub empress and daughter of the legendary Max Romeo. Being born into a musical family, it was only a matter of time before Xana picked up the mic. Last summer she released her first single “Rate Rasta,” and earned herself two slots on Yaadcore’s Roots Dawta mixtape. She is in no rush to create music merely for the hype; Xana aims to create music that will stand the test of time. We agree — you can’t rush perfection. Keep an eye out for this empress as we patiently wait for more from this rising star in 2016. —Jahneen Leslie

How would you describe your sound?

Roots. Blending my dub obsession with my rootical message, and passion for reggae music.

My music is more of a feel, not a sound. I feel music, not hear it. I express myself along with the instruments. I can’t say who, or what, I sound like. You’d have to listen and feel for yourself.

Tell us a little bit about the place you come from

I’m from the beautiful island of Jamaica. I was born in Kingston, but now live in the rural side of St Catherine. Ever heard of Linstead Market? Yeah, that’s where I’m from. The ackee capital of Jamaica!  Not inside the market, but on the outskirts, in a fruitful community called Treadways.

Tell us about the moment  where you knew you had broken through as an artist…

The reaction my music got on social media platforms. And I once overheard some patrons at Kingston Dub Club discussing their admiration for my lyrics and voice while having a conversation at the bar. I smiled, because I instantly realized that my music was actually impacting people in a positive manner, just as I intended.

What were your highlights in 2015?

I released two singles “Righteous Path” and “Rate Rasta.” I did a lot of shows locally sharing the stage with my Dad (Max Romeo) and brother (Rominal). My music was featured by magazines such as Vogue, Riddim and Irie Magazine and radio programs all over the world. I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me and giving me good reviews on my singles so far.

What should we expect to see and hear from you in 2016?

I leave for a European tour early this year. It is called the Max Romeo & Family Tour featuring Max Romeo, Rominal, and myself. I will be releasing visuals for my previous singles, and more to come. I’m currently working on two projects to be out this year. Trust me, there’s a lot to expect from Xana Romeo in 2016!

What artists are you watching in 2016?

Right now my eyes and ears are on Rominal and Micah Shemiah. I just love Micah’s style and voice, his music speaks to me on a different level. Even though Rominal is my brother, I respect and admire his creative process, and I have exclusive access to see him evolve into a great musician. He writes, sings, plays instruments, and makes instrumentals at such a young age. I’m left in awe everyday.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDxsFd58qeg

  • Kiyoshi Marcin Matyjanka

    Nesbeth should be on the list as well… My Dream is huge for me

  • Jesse Serwer

    Nesbeth is good. He’s been making hits for a few years now, though.