CLOSE’s “Base Level” column features the hottest new artists we’re buzzing about. Before they make it to the summit of superstardom, we spot them at base level–the beginning of their hopeful journey to the top.

J Rome’s rendition of Whitney Houston’s classic ballad ” I Will Always Love You” sent him straight to the winner’s circle of the hit show NBC “Duets.” He earned the title “The Crooner” and we think it fits his melodic voice perfectly! When the Maryland native isn’t performing he contributes to the Greater Than AIDS” Celebrity PSA for the National Black AIDS/HIV Awareness Campaign. And, for his efforts was rewarded the the “Secretary of Defense Combined Charitable Campaign Coin” award.

Get the basics on J Rome.

Name: J Rome

Age: 20 something [LOL]

Hometown: Laurel, MD

Musical Inspirations: Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder

When did you know this is what you wanted to do? I remember I had just started posting videos on Youtube and a young boy about 14 years old wrote me a message in my inbox and expressed to me that he had been going through some issues at home and his best friend had passed away. Then told me that he had been contemplating suicide but something had him searching Youtube and he came across mine. For whatever reason, it gave him hope to keep going and pursue his dreams and continue on living. If that wasn’t a sign that this is what I am meant to do then I don’t know what is. On top of the many fans that have contacted me with similar stories…I have to keep going because you never know what song, melody or note will change someone’s life.

Biggest break thus far: I have to say my biggest break thus far is being chosen to sing alongside Jennifer Nettles of the country duo Sugarland on a nation television show. ABC’s Duets was huge to me and to win the show was even bigger!

If you were the child of two musical artists who would they be? [Laughs] I always get told that I sound like a mixture of the powerhouse vocalist Whitney Houston and have a similar style to MJ.

Do you have a name for your sound? I’d have to say my sound is very R&B with a pop twist!

Watch his video “One Night Stand”


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