Michelle Romary decided to quit her life as a geologist in pursuit of what she’s always loved and been passionate about: music. But this wasn’t a drastic lifestyle change; Romary has been creating music her whole life.
“I’ve been writing for forever, in grade school I had a huge 17-by-17 inch pink spiral notebook where I kept all of my lyrics and I had different things taped inside that I had written somewhere else,” she says. “And I always knew I wanted to pursue music, but my parents wanted me to major in something else.”
Thankfully, though, Romary’s love for music carried through college with her involvement with theater and opera at Ohio University; now, Romary has taken her vocal talent and found tremendous success in performing as a soloist and Cantor at ceremonies and masses in Cleveland. When she isn’t busy performing at about 100 ceremonies a year, taking care of her kids and running her own apparel company, Romary makes time to write and record her own music, her most recent work being her new EP Torrent
. She celebrates the EP’s release with a show at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 28, at Brothers Lounge.
Recorded in the last year, Torrent
is comprised of five distinct tracks, all of which were written and composed by Romary. Influenced and inspired by strong, honest female singer-songwriters like Dolly Parton, Ani DiFranco, Linda Perry and Sara Bareilles, Romary’s music could be similarly characterized as beautifully honest and sincere.
“Typically, I get some burst of inspiration and the lyrics and melody pour out in one fell swoop,” says Romary in regards to the songwriting process. “But sometimes I write a complete song when I’m supposed to be writing a demo for another song.”
However, Romary says the songwriting process for Torrent
was a little different.
“In the past, I have been a lyricist and I come up with a melody, but this time I wrote all of the songs on the guitar,” she says. “It feels much more me because I’m not super poppy, I’m definitely more of a ‘two guitars and a band’ kind of girl rather than keys. This process was definitely different in that regard, so it was easier to get my point across since I was using an instrument instead of using just my voice.”
And you can see these differences Romary talks about throughout Torrent
. The EP begins with “Whispers,” a song that is no doubt perfect for those sunny summer days. The guitar and vocals are highlighted perfectly throughout the entire song; juxtaposed to the upbeat, blissful “Whispers,” however, is the darker, edgier “Too Much.”
“Too Much” is stylistically distinct, unlike anything that permeates the charts today and is lyrically and instrumentally brilliant. “Too Much,” a song about people asking too much of Romary and Romary taking on a lot, is no doubt an honest and relatable song performed brilliantly. With powerful, soaring vocals reminiscent of Pat Benatar, “Too Much” is equally matched by fast-paced instrumentals that only help Romary’s voice stand out.
Immediately following such a distinct song, Romary seamlessly transitions into “Good Luck,” a lighter song compared to “Too Much.” Equally as brilliant as the prior two songs, “Good Luck” serves as a stand-out song on its own, but an equally as good transition into “I Will Carry You,” another highlight. What makes “I Will Carry You” so different is the short, unique guitar riff at the beginning followed by the subtly different, almost exotic, beat that carries through the song.
Lastly, Romary ends Torrent
with “Remind Me Again,” another song that perfectly highlights her incredible songwriting ability and amazing vocals.
With each song creating a narrative about life, it’s easy to see why Romary is one of the most popular soloists and Cantors in the area. Her voice and her lyrics have the ability to say it, rather sing it, like it is. There’s no bullshit behind anything. Her lyrics are inspired by her everyday life, making them relatable to every listener, and her vocals are pure and untampered. In a day when pretty much every song that makes it onto the radio has been manipulated ten-times over, it’s refreshing to hear music that sounds as good live as it does recorded. Romary is the real deal, so be sure to listen to Torrent
; after all, who doesn’t love stumbling upon new music, especially when it comes from one of Cleveland’s finest.