We spoke with Charlie Romo, a Wagner College and WCBG alum who is helping to bring back the music our grandparents listened to in a new innovative way. Despite being a young performer, Romo embodies the character and finesse of someone who has been performing for decades. Many of his performance standards come from the Great American Songbook. We loved talking to him about his performances and his love of music.
WCBG: Please introduce yourself and tell us a fun fact about you!
CR: Hello I’m Charles Poveromo, professionally known as Charlie Romo and my fun fact is that I’m a Wagner alum.
WCBG: What did you major in when you were at Wagner?
CR: I dual majored in Music and Childhood Education.
WCBG: What was your favorite class that you took at Wagner?
CR: One coming to mind right now, is probably my music classes. I would say all my music classes along with a history class I took with Professor Weintrob called “Immigrant New York City” – we went on a lot of trips to downtown Brooklyn and we went to the Tenement Museum, I learned a lot in this class.
WCBG: Are you originally from Staten Island?
CR: I actually am from Brooklyn and moved to Staten Island when I was 10 so Brooklyn and Staten Island are both my home. Staten Island has really taken me in as their hometown boy.
WCBG: So, what is the local scene like living on Staten Island?
CR: That depends on who you ask and what part of the Island. I went to Wagner, which is on the North Shore, so I got to know a lot of the restaurants and the bars here and started to get involved in that scene. The South Shore is a little bit more chill, with places like the Conference House. I live on the South Shore now so it’s nice in that regard.
WCBG: How did you get involved in music?
CR: I’ve been singing since I was a little kid, two-three years old watching The Wizard of Oz dressed as The Scarecrow in the house. I was inspired by a lot of music teachers as a young kid, from elementary to high school I had a lot of teachers believe in me that I could perform professionally which is what I’m doing now. That’s also why I decided to major in music and education while here at Wagner. Staten Island has a lot of great music teachers and is definitely a great place to hone your craft.
WCBG: Can you please describe your sound for us in 3 words?
CR: I refer to myself as a Contemporary Crooner. Timeless, Romantic, and Fun.
WCBG: What is one thing you would change about the music industry as it is today?
CR: One thing I like and appreciate about the industry, I feel like nowadays people are able to be themselves where that is praised and encouraged. Beforehand people were placed in this cookie cutter mold. People were boxed in and now people have the freedom to be who they are. I definitely think that—I wish there were different types of music besides the top 40 pop stuff that was heard by a wider audience so people can have a more well-rounded sense of music. The stuff people hear on the radio might limit them. Like in the mid-50s when rock and roll was popular and there was this formula and that’s what was selling. I hope it starts to change and ties in some of the stuff from the past to modernize it.
WCBG: What is your favorite album in your personal collection?
Since I am such a fan and I appreciate Bobby Darin’s music so much it would have to be one of his albums. He started out singing rock and roll then he went to jazz. I actually have a tribute show to him where I sing all of his songs. My favorite album of his would have to be Darin at the Copa, it’s a live album from the 1960’s. Actually, his drummer on the album, Ronnie Zito, actually plays for me and I got him to sign it. It’s a super special album.
WCBG: If you could perform with anyone Dead or Alive who would it be and why?
CR: That’s really tough…I feel like I answer that different every time. I would probably have to say Frank Sinatra. He’s the leader of the pack and a phenomenal performer.
WCBG: What is your favorite venue that you’ve performed in?
CR: I performed with a big band orchestra at Lincoln Center for a Christmas show. I was one of four acts and the headliners were the cast of Wicked. Other than that, in 2019 I performed the national anthem at 6 different baseball parks like Dodgers Stadium in LA. So, I would say Lincoln Center and the baseball stadiums.
WCBG: What advice would you give anyone interested in joining the music business?
Stay true to yourself and what you believe in. People will recognize and respect your talent. Do your homework on the business not just the music and have good people around you who believe in you and push you to become better.
WCBG: What are you plans for the new decade of 2020?
CR: It’s hopefully gonna be a big decade. I have a lot of plans. At my age, here in SI, I was recently named the best entertainer in SILive, which I am so grateful for. Going forward I hope my recognition on SI and beyond, which has been based on my live performances—it’s genuine real and right in front of you, I want to release a debut EP so I can put something online for the masses to listen to.
You can follow Charlie Romo on Instagram and Facebook here!