Fri | Apr 12, 2024

Five Questions with Royal Blu x Runkus

Published:Friday | March 1, 2024 | 12:09 AMShanel Lemmie/Staff Reporter

Royal Blu x Runkus are two Jamaican reggae stars that are rocketing to becoming household names. Though not formally a duo, the pair are frequent collaborators and share the same dream of unifying the nation under a central ital banner. Both natives of St Catherine, Royal Blu was born Sean-Michael Francis. and Runkus was born Romario Sebastian Anthony Bennett. Both dabbling in all forms of music production, composition and execution, they bear the brunt of the work when it comes to creating both music together and as soloists. Slated as one of the acts for the recent Lost in Time Festival held at Hope Gardens in St Andrew, they caught up with The Gleaner for Five Questions With …

1. You missed performing on the Lost in Time stage last year. How does it feel to come back and get this type of reaction from the crowd?

Runkus began:“It’s a great feeling cause for people wait fi a year and dem still give we dah energy deh.”

Jokingly Royal Blu added: “Fi tell you di truth, we nearly miss dah one deh.”

“Yeah, man. The traffic did bad,” Runkus continued, “I think it happened exactly how it needed to happen.”

2. How did this link come about?

Describing how they became acquainted in high school, Royal Blu said: “When I went to high school, I was the baddest thing in my high school at Meadowbrook. Mi hear seh somebody badder than me deh a Campion. Mi a say Campion nuh produce people weh bad like me. So when dem play di song and me hear it, me say ‘Oh no! This bredda is actually like a problem’. So since then we had rival crews, some youth weh we clash dem and retire dem, they are doctors and lawyers now, but he and I remained artistes.”

Giving his side of the story, Runkus said: “Everything him say is facts actually, but even to call us a duo not even justify the connection. It’s just two brothers who love the music and do music together. If we were a duo then we would come up with a name. And we actually do have a name, but it’s not like name for like the two of us only. It’s the Gs. You’re a G if you’re on the same frequency as us. Actually, everyone is a G. They just don’t know it yet. We speak life into each other and everyone around us. That’s why we have such undeniable faith inah weh we do.”

3. Do you guys write music together?

“We try to but we end up idling,” Royal Blu joked.

Runkus chimed in: “We end up play Ludo more than anything else, but we do make music together. We have many methods of how we write together, in solitude, it don’t matter.”

Capping the argument, Royal Blu said: “One thing about us is that once we focus on music, we doing music, whether is 12 o’clock at midnight or in the day. Once we [are] focused, it’s music. But otherwise just idling.”

4. Your music has a very orchestral sound with a lot of strings and horns, almost like a Broadway 1920s energy. Who is responsible for that?

Runkus began, “Thank you for noticing that but all of the Gs are a part of that.”

Cutting him off, Royal Blu began: “He is being modest. Yes, all of us are musically inclined to deliver that kind of stuff, but he is a mastermind at just composing and actually getting people to execute. He is genuinely a mastermind.”

“I just have a vision of music, and I feel like it should be bigger [than] something I’ve ever heard before. I’m just trying to make something I’ve never heard before,” Runkus responded humbly.

5. Your lyrics sound like what Bob Marley would call ‘message’ music. What inspires the concepts you talk about?

“We’ve travelled so much. We read a lot, we watch a lot of documentaries, we just live life. We apply what we learn from life to music. So it just comes naturally within the music,” Royal Blu said before throwing to Runkus.

Runkus: “It’s almost like we music is a soundtrack fi we life and other peoples’ lives. Or at least that’s what we try to do. To make up a story is easy. To tell your truth is brave. We try to give a voice to the voiceless people. People who aren’t artistes and poets, and whatever, we try to give them a voice.”