Being Roaman

By Cassidy Slockett

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John Cabot University graduates often go on to become journalists, entrepreneurs, and tech experts – but 2013 communications and political science graduate Riccardo Vitalone, 28, is becoming well-known for his work in a more unconventional eld: folk music.

After graduation, Vitalone found himself stuck in a typical 9-5 desk job. He became bored and began to feel that there was more to life than just working to make money. He felt like his life was the equivalent to running on a treadmill. When his job ended, Vitalone moved to London with only 300 euros, and began the process of discovering what he was meant to do.

In the music world, Vitalone goes by ‘Roaman.’ The name is a hybrid between his self proclaimed nomad, or roaming, lifestyle and the fact that he was born and raised in Rome. This singer and songwriter taught himself to play guitar by watching YouTube videos in 2008, and decided to pursue music only after he had graduated from university. Currently, he spends the majority of his time on the road. Vitalone’s journey has not been easy. In fact, more often than not, trying to build a successful career in the music industry is an uphill battle.

Between pu s of a cigarette, he re ected on his early days as a musician. “When you nd yourself in the place you are afraid to be, it’s not as bad as you thought.” Positive thoughts like these have helped Vitalone continue to follow this dream. Before landing a gig at a vegan cafe in London, Vitalone used to play his music on the streets, even in the dead of winter. Sometimes, his ngers bled from playing

the guitar in below freezing weather. At one point, he was making only enough money to buy one meal a day.

Still, Roaman refused to give up. He continued to perform in front of more audiences and save his money. Eventually, he was able to release an album titled, “Free at Last” on Spotify.

This album features songs which are aimed to share a message of peace, love, and unity through uplifting and encouraging lyrics.One of the songs featured in this album is called, “Be a Friend.” The lyrics in this song even inspired Vitalone to have this message permanently engraved on his arm in the form of a dark green tattoo. The tattoo serves as a reminder that “without the support of our community, we are nothing,” he explained.

On a recent trip from Rome, Italy to Los Angeles, California, Vitalone was detained in the LAX airport and promptly sent back to Europe. The reason: customs agents found evidence that he had been paid to perform at two concerts in the United States on a previous visit. Unfortunately, this is illegal with a tourist visa. Still, this incident did not stop Vitalone from continuing to follow his dreams. He later explained that, “Now all my energy is focused on getting another visa, making some more money and heading back to California.”

As for Vitalone’s plans for the future, he will keep singing, traveling, and spreading positive messages. By the end of this year, his goal is to make enough money to record an album in an actual studio in the United States. He describes the airport incident at LAX as, “a little speed bump,” reassuring himself that, “it will all be ok in the end.”

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