We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelly Romo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kelly, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
The whole process has been a risk! From the moment I decided to really pursue a career deemed “unconventional” it was a risk. The only thing scarier than those risks I had to take to really go for a career in music was the idea that I might not ever try. Deciding to step out initially as just a DJ and now as a producer made a lot of people uncomfortable: friends, family.. they just wanted to see me secure in a career and externally music wasn’t something a lot of people could wrap their heads around sustainably living off of.
It was a risk the first time I stepped behind the decks at my first house party, having never played on any of the equipment. It was a risk with my first residency, my first clients telling them I could do things I knew I’d be looking up later. It was a risk going through a music production curriculum and continues to be a risk as I put my name, face, and now voice on the projects I release. Every single new thing or new advance in my career has been absolutely terrifying, to the point that things like my first single, my first video, even just pictures of myself on social media were shoved as far back as possible. That was until I discovered the feeling of pushing yourself and your art out into the world, uninhibitedly (or at least seemingly so). Every release is just as difficult as the one before it. I subject myself and my art to judgment every day. But isn’t that the biggest excitement of it all?
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh wow you hit my favorite topic! Primarily restaurants. I’m a huge foodie. Somebody just asked me actually where to take her mom in Atlanta and I couldn’t shut up about all my favorite restaurants. For breakfast and brunch I’d hit Highland Bakery, Ria’s Bluebird, Parrish, Egg Harbor, Muchacho, Homegrown, and for boozy brunch West Egg and Loca Luna! (ElectroBrunch Sunday’s… check it out!) Other favorites for lunch/dinner would have to be Grana, Hawkers, Soj Ba for pho, Eight Sushi, Beetlecat (oyster happy hour!), El Rey off Buford highway… honestly any restaurant off Buford, and absolutely a fancy steakhouse night at 101 Steak in Vinings. Food can be overwhelming to decide because I have so many favorites! If Atlanta does anything right, it’s restaurants! We’d absolutely go to the Porter Beer bar for quality rotating taps for beer and Golden Eagle, Intermezzo and The Establishment for cocktails. In between coffee trips to Grant Park Coffee House and Dancing Goats.
Food and drink is so easy.. and assuming we can move in between all those meals I would take my best friend to some of the amazing nightly and evening events! Ritmo, Alley Cat, Into the Void, Desires…. and hopefully an Elevate or Torch DnB event will be going on as well, DnB is my absolute favorite! We’d spend the days doing the kitschy stuff like beltline walks, piedmont park, grant park, and O4W with my dog. Also probably swing through the skate parks and cabbagetown to see all the street art. I feel like there are so many fun things to do in Atlanta on top of all the amazing parties that local promoters are throwing. We’d be busy! Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are more than a few people I have to shoutout on this ridiculous journey. The first being my family, who, against their comfort zones, have truly come out and supported me so heavily. I couldn’t have the skill, opportunities, or diligence without them. Secondly, my video team Juls Freed and Kai Flowers. If it weren’t for Juls pushing me beyond my comfort zone to go from “producer” to “artist” in the midst of quarantine, I wouldn’t be even close to as certain and confident I am with the path that I’m on. They really came through to not only support these crazy ideas, but to create such an incredible product for me through their skills and encouragement. Without them I’d have never put my face in front of a camera!
(Photographers @JulsFreed and @atlienpoet)