Band of the Week: Michelle Romary

Band of the Week: Michelle Romary
Photo by by Meg Quisenberry

MEET THE BAND: Michelle Romary (vocals, melodica, tambourine)

A MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST: A local singer-songwriter, Romary grew up in Dayton and attended Ohio University. She moved to Northeast Ohio in 1998 and took private lessons from a Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music professor. As a Catholic cantor and soloist, she regularly sings at wedding ceremonies and funeral/memorial masses, singing both traditional and contemporary pieces. "I have been doing this for as long as I can remember," she says. "My dad was a songwriter. There was a baby grand and organ and guitars around the house. I played multiple instruments pretty early." She formed a rock/pop band in 2010, and while the group started as a cover band, it eventually began writing original music and put out two releases during a four-year run. After releasing an album of faith-based songs in 2014, she issued the EP Floating Shift. She followed it up with a series of EPs. She wrote the songs on the releases, and local producer Michael Seifert arranged, recorded, mixed, produced and mastered them.

WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR HER: Guitarist Brent Hamker arranged the songs on Romary's forthcoming album, Grounded, which was again engineered by Seifert. Album opener, "Home," began as a poem and then became a children's song before Romary tweaked it into the mid-tempo guitar-driven rock tune that's on Grounded. "It wasn't intentional," she says of the song's evolution. "I just wanted to show off my different influences. 'With Me' has a reggae vibe and 'My Light' has a spaghetti-Western vibe. I thought that was so cool when I first heard the arrangement. [Hamker] really understands what I'm trying to do." "One Last Drink" begins with soulful vocals before wailing guitars kick in. "I think people will love or hate it," she says when asked about the song. "I got out of a guitar lesson with [local guitarist Michael] Bay and played it for him. I asked, 'Does it make sense?' He thought it translated nicely, so I thought that was great. When I do random things like that, people try to talk me out of them and I used to let them. Now, I just do whatever the hell I want."


WHERE YOU CAN SEE HER: Michelle Romary performs at 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 11, at the Music Box Supper Club. — Jeff Niesel

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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