You may not know Heavy Mellow yet, but you have certainly heard his music. The Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum music producer has worked with some of the most recognizable names in the music industry today – from Roddy Ricch to the Jonas Brothers, and many more in between.
If you haven’t seen him on one of the tracks he produced for Skrillex or Juicewrld or Jack Harlow or Halsey, you might have seen him playing on The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon. Or maybe you’ve seen it even closer to home.
Because before Heavy Mellow moved to Los Angeles and built his prolific career as a producer, he was Everett Romano, playing restaurants in San Marcos and south of town at the Tanger Outlet Mall.
“I used to play Root Cellar for $ 50 and a plate of food,” Romano recalls.
Before that, while still a Rattler at Miller Middle School and San Marcos High, Romano and his classmates formed a group that trained every morning before class, then again during lunch, then again. after the final bell has rung.
This passion and perseverance – even from the age of four when he learned to play the piano – drove Romano to pursue a career in music, leading him first to Berklee School in Boston and then to New York. York, and now in Los Angeles, where he works as a full-time musician and producer.
Moving to LA opened new doors for Romano, who goes through Heavy Mellow in his production work. “I have a very interesting life,” he says. “There are of course the stereotypical LA experiences, but the one thing I didn’t expect was how hard some of these young creatives are working. They really give it 110%. “
Romano recounted stories of people coming to Los Angeles from other countries far from home and putting everything on the line – not even sleeping – in pursuit of their musical dreams.
“This is not an exaggeration,” he said. “But it made me realign my priorities. I have to commit even more. There are even higher levels for me.
Romano’s willingness to engage pushed him to learn his trade.
“The intimidating part was the learning process,” said Romano. “I spent 10 years teaching myself and learning in school, learning how to do this.”
Even with that deep-rooted passion and determination, Romano admitted it was still a fight. “There were a lot of times I wanted to come home and work at HEB and call it a day,” he said. “But I’m really glad I stayed with this.”
Romano said things started to change for him on May 31, 2018 – a day he decided to take his chances on the internet.
“I will never forget this,” he said. “I woke up that day and said, ‘This is the day I’m going to change my life. I turned on my phone and wrote a song. It has gone viral. So I woke up the next day and did another one.
His EP titled Acid R&B Vol. 1, garnered 1.4 million plays in its first week and created a genre synonymous with the name Heavy Mellow. “It was a real moment of vulnerability,” said Romano. “In these videos, I was panicking. I didn’t know what I was going to do or how to pay the rent. I went from being totally unknown to being shared around the world. It changed everything for me.
Artists and performers quickly noticed Heavy Mellow’s unique artistry and started calling him to work. That was four years ago, and since then Romano has just been nominated for his third Grammy Award. Currently, he plays guitar with Roddie Ricch on a major festival tour in the United States and will perform with the rapper on stage on Saturday Night Live on January 15.
Yet in his heart, Romano remains connected to his music and to his roots. As a producer, Romano says he considers himself a performer.
“I’m trying to be the key to unlock their magic,” he said. “They’ll say, ‘Hey, Mellow, I’ve had this thing in my life, let me tell you about it. They’re going to tell me a story, and throughout this process I’m listening very carefully, imagining what the tempo of that feeling is. There are so many emotions that I have to translate.
Then Romano sits down in the studio with the artist, with his piano or his guitar, and they collaborate together to make the final piece. “Everything I do is improvised. I play what I feel at the time. Sometimes that’s exactly what they want, sometimes they ask me to try something else.
To succeed in an industry that relies on notoriously quicksand, Romano says his foundation has always been his family in San Marcos. “They have been the most united people during this whole process,” he said. “I owe them everything. They never took me away from pursuing music, although financially it is not always considered the safest profession.
Although Romano’s list of renowned musical collaborators continues to grow, he must in particular credit his early fans with his success: his parents, Elsie and Anthony; his brother Austin; his grandparents, Eva and Tony Rodriguez, and his grandmother, Margarita Romano, after whom he named his guitar, Maggie.
After Romano’s return to Los Angeles, he intends to return to work in the studio, where he has several projects he is working on. One of them is a solo project based on his original Acid R&B series.
But he also admitted that he loves the unpredictability that comes with his job.
“I never know what’s going to happen,” he said. “I wake up to a phone call, a text or an email and my life changes again. It’s very unpredictable, but as long as I stay open and collaborative, this is the formula that works for me.
As for the other young Rattlers making their way around the world, Romano had some precious words of support.
“At the risk of sounding cliché,” he said. “Follow your intuition, follow your heart. No one will be able to live your life for you. Get involved in the things you love early on. Find what you really live for. What makes you go to the music room at 7:30 am every morning. For me it was playing music with my friends. This is my advice.
Check out Heavy Mellow on Spotify, and on Instagram and Soundcloud @heavymellow. Also find him on Facebook at facebook.com/heavymellow.
Sign up early for the things you love. Find what you really live for. This is my advice.
– Heavy mellow
musician and producer