The Reggae Legend, Roman Stewart
Brothers Make Reggae Music For Over 40 Years
Tinga and Roman Stewart are Jamaican brothers that entertained with Reggae music from the 1960s to the early 2000s, a period of nearly 40 years. Roman was the younger brother, but followed his big brother into music at just age 11 in 1968. His career started later in life than either Michael Jackson's (age 5 or 6) or Sammy Davis Jr.'s (age 5), but he made a big impression in Reggae circles and music in general.
Roman Stewart: Man Of Dignity
Reggae did not win popularity in my community until the 1970s - 1980s, but Reggae singers and musicians began to be featured at small clubs and The Ohio Sate Fair in my county in the 1970s and popularity caught on with larger club managers that began booking talent.
Roman Stewart moved from Jamaica with Tinga in 1976 to New York City and developed a career by offering friendliness and polite manners. People liked him.
Frequently visiting record shops just to spend time and talk, he cut some records through the relationships he made there. He also was not against singing for free at parties of his friends and new people he met. He was a generous person with good manners and a friendly personality. It is well known in music circles that for this he was nicknamed Mr. Special.
Roman Stewart's Early Influences: Mario Lanza
Early Success of the Stewart Brothers
Tinga Stewart, who was born Neville Stewart in 1955, is still living and active in music at this time. He has won numerous music contests. Thus, he is is writing, recording and producing albums even now. Very popular, Tinga has amassed growing numbers of fans in both Jamaica and the USA.
Tinga and brother Roman attended St. Aloysius and Trench Town Comprehensive Schools in Jamaica. Tinga first began singing professionally at only age 15 in 1960 and became the lead singer for the Boris Gardner Happening from 1971 - 1974. He was quite good and showed much talent early on.
The final year of the collaboration with Gardner saw him win the Jamaica Festival Song Competition for the first of three times at age 29. He later won a second time as a singer and a third time as a song writer, landing a contract for an album almost simultaneously.
Brother Roman also won the competition in first place once as a singer in 1975 with a song written by Tinga - Hooray Festival. Both brotherwere talented.
Interestingly, Roman, born in 1957, was a Mario Lanza Tribute Artist in the early 1970s. notably at Victoria Pier in Kingston, Jamaica. Listeners quite enjoyed his performances of Mario Lanza numbers. Unfortunately, Lanza died in 1959 and never heard Roman's tribute performances. Some of the favorite Lanza numbers for Roman to perform were Be My Love and other love songs.
Different love songs from Lanza's also appeared in Roman Stewart's albums, but Lanza was a large influence. Mario Lanza influenced not only future opera tenors, but this great Reggae star as well.
The range of musical styles that the Stewart Brothers performed together was unexpected. Not only did they handle Reggae with aplomb, but they were just as effective with songs of theb Gospel (Peace In the Valley) - and even Country-related songs, Wolverton Mountain being a memorable one. Both men were quite handsome and drew large crowds of both men and women to their performances. They were well liked by many people in America and Jamaica and other parts of the world.
First Recording, 1968: Walking Down the Street
Rice and Peas
Sing a Hit Song
Roman's Death:Two Songs at a Party
Roman Stewart was actively performing through the years until the night of his death in 2004. There were no warning signs or physical symptoms prior to this night.
On January 25, Roman had been attending a Freddie McGregor (from Victoria Pier days) concert in NYC. When the concert was completed, Roan attended a party afterwards. There, he sang two songs, and stopped singing, because of chest pains. Later that evening, he simply fell into a coma. he had sufferred soe sort of cardiac event.
Heart surgery was performed for Roman and he is said to have awoken afterwards and spoken of quitting alcohol and drugs. However, he entered another coma from which he did not awaken. On January 26, 2004 he died in Long Island Jewish Hospital of heart failure at age 46. His brother Tinga continues to work in the music industry.
References for this Article:
- Album covers: Tinga and Roman Stewart. Break Down the Barrier; Brother to Brother.
- Barrow, Steve & Dalton, Peter. The Rough Guide to Reggae, 3rd Edition. Rough Guides. 2004.
- Walters, Basil. Roman 'Hit Song' Stewart Is Dead. Jamaican Observer. January 27, 2004.
Albums by Roman Stewart
Year of Release
Running Away From Love
Island In the Sun
How Can I Love Someone
Ruling and Controlling
Diplomat (new release on Controlling, TP, 2001)
Brother to Brother
June 6, 1998
Break Down the Barrier
Wisdom of Solomon
More by this Author
What styles of music are tops in America and globally? Five favorite styles have remained popular in the US since 2010. In fact, Top Ten #1 Katy Perry performed the 2015 Super Bowl XLIX Halftime.
You may have noticed that many vocal groups are named after foods and beverages. Meat Loaf is one of my favorites. What is your favorite Food Group?
- EDITOR'S CHOICE243
If you watch CSI and CSI Miami on television, you are watching criminology at work. Criminology is an important science in the field of sociology that can help prevent future crimes and help prisons become...