Intro:  Long before Ray Romulus was a Grammy-nominated producer as a member of the Stereotypes production trio, he was an intern at Bad Boy Records in 2002 answering phones, making photocopies, ordering food, and even babysitting Diddy’s kids.  Romulus dropped out of Hunter College in the same year to pursue his passion for music and the Queens native has not looked back since.  His Stereotypes team, which consists of Jonathan Yip and Jeremy Reeves, was listed as Top 10 Songwriters and Producers to Watch in the June 5, 2010 issue of Billboard magazine.  They also signed the Far East Movement to their own Stereotypes Music production company and the hip-hop quartet went on to become the first Asian-American group to earn a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.  Romulus is also a member of the group JON MCXRO which features Yip, Reeves, and songwriter Three.  They released their debut album “The Fifth of Never” last November.

The track listing:  Romulus’ production credits with the Stereotypes include Ne-Yo (“Why Does She Stay”), Mary J. Blige (“Good Love” featuring T.I.), Bow Wow & Omarion (“Number One’s”), Melanie Fiona (“The Bridge”), Travie McCoy (“We’ll Be Alright”), Fantasia Barrino (“Even Angels”), Justin Bieber (“Somebody To Love” and the remix with Usher), Chris Brown (“Beg For It”), Tank (“Celebration” featuring Drake), Natasha Bedingfield (“Again”),  and Joe (“Why Just Be Friends”).

Can’t You See:  You may have seen Romulus in an episode of MTV’s “Making the Band 4” when the Stereotypes were recording “Damaged” with Danity Kane at Circle House Recording Studios in Miami.  The song reached #10 on the U.S. Billboard and peaked at #6 on the US Pop 100 Charts.  It also spent 3 weeks at the top of the Hot Dance Club Play charts.

Running with Diddy:  “Around the time when he was preparing to run the New York City Marathon [in 2003] one of the people working at Bad Boy asked if anybody wanted to volunteer to help him run just to give him encouragement,” said Romulus.  “I started training with him.  I would go on runs with him and then I ended up running the marathon with him and that helped build some sort of a relationship with him but most importantly I built a relationship with his assistant at the time, Norma Augenblick.” 

Friend of Mine:  “Norma saw that I was a hard worker and she is really good friends with Karen Kwak [former VP of A&R Administration at Arista Records].  At the time Karen was looking for an assistant for JD [Jermaine Dupri, CEO of So So Def Recordings] over at Arista.  I ended up interviewing with JD through Karen and that’s how I got the job.  My responsibilities were greater with JD.  I dealt with his flight schedules and scheduling his whole life basically.  One big thing that actually helped me personally is that I used to take a lot of meetings with managers and producers that he dealt with so I would sit with them a lot and go through music which helped me build a relationship with them which in turn helped me get my A&R job at Def Jam.  Once Arista split and L.A. Reid went to Def Jam, JD went to Jive so I went along with JD and I still had my relationship with Karen.  I built a great relationship with all these managers, producers, and writers and I would continually get music.  I would play her music for artists that she would bring up and as I kept doing that for a good year she would pass it along to L.A.  And L.A. would ask her, ‘Where are you getting this music from?’  And she told him, ‘Ray.  Remember JD’s assistant?  He’s over there grindin.’”

I Got A Story To Tell:  “One year, MTV held the Video Music Awards in Miami and JD didn’t make it.  I went down there with Memphitz [former VP of A&R at Jive Records] and I get word that Jay-Z is throwing a yacht party and we are like, ‘Damn, we need to get into that party!’ So I find out where the party is but we still don’t have an invite or credentials to get it in.  JD used to always hang out with Jay-Z a lot over at the 40/40 club.  I knew Jay.  I would see him in passing.  We would play pool.  I told Memphitz that if he sees me in front, I guarantee that he will let us in.  So we show up in front of the boat as scheduled and we just stand there as if we belong there.  Then Jay walks up minutes later with his entourage and says, ‘Hey, where is JD?’ I was like, ‘He didn’t get to make it.’ He was like, ‘Are you coming inside?’  I am like, ‘You’re damn right I am!’  So me and Memphitz get on the boat.  I see Karen.  I see L.A.  Then once L.A. sees me he connects the dots to me being the kid who brought Karen all that music and ideas.  Then right there he offered me the A&R position at Def Jam.  It was a junior A&R position then I later became the manager of the A&R department.  Once I got there my first week I delivered the first single for Teairri Mari [“Make Her Feel Good”].  I was 21 years old.”

Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down:  “In 2007 I was fired.  At that time Def Jam defined who I was.  So once I was fired I sat around for a month trying to figure out what I wanted to do.  But in actuality I was bored with being an A&R on one or two projects.  But I was always a musician so I knew in the back of my mind I always wanted to produce.  One of the artists I signed to Def Jam, Durtee 3, was signed to a production team called the Stereotypes.  So I called Jon and asked if I could work with them and see where it goes from there.  He agreed and I moved out to Los Angeles a month after I got fired.  I hit the ground running.   I am living out of Jon’s condo in his spare bedroom and the studio is in the spare bedroom.   We could only play music at a certain time.  We teamed up everyday and we would work from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.  In November we ran into our current manager Leonard Brooks and played him what we were working on.  He was super interested and said he wanted to join the team.  Literally a week later, he called us and said that Puff loves a song that we did and wants to fly us to Miami to record it on his group Danity Kane.  We fly down to Miami to do the song ‘Damaged’ and that song hits the Top 10 on Billboard for the next couple of weeks and changed our lives.”

Can’t Believe:  “The same people that fired me were now telling me what they wanted for their artists.  The greatest feeling was to have L.A. Reid sitting in my studio saying he loved everything he was hearing and telling me what he wanted for his artists.  We ended up doing one of Justin Bieber’s songs with Usher and Justin was signed through Def Jam by L.A.”

Victory:  “We helped break the first Asian group in America with Far East Movement and helped them go to No. 1.  You never see an Asian artist topping the Billboard charts.  I remember talking to L.A. and I wanted to sign an Asian girl and he said it would never happen.” 

Let’s Start Rap Over:  “We started JON MCXRO while we were in the studio working everyday and referencing for another artist.  We are sitting there thinking that we sound good.  We had a whole bunch of songs and put this out to see what people think. We put it out independently.  We were tired of complaining about turning on the radio and hearing the same thing.  And we really got a good response for what we did.”

The Saga Continues:  “We just completed work with John Legend.  We just finished three songs with him.  We have a newcomer named Nick Gardner from the UK.  He just penned his deal with Interscope and we will be working on that shortly.  And we have an artist named Travis Garland and we are almost ready to put that out.”

Everyday Struggle:  “Certain artists that come in to work are too focused on what is going on right now.  They are trying to follow a trend and it kind of hinders us from being creative and being the producers we want to be sometimes.”



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