What Ever Happened to R&B Singer Rome?

I know I’m not the only one who has experienced this.

We hear new music all the time – some songs fly in one ear and directly out of the other, some stick with us for awhile, and still others might find a permanent home on our playlists.

But then there are those cases where you hear a song ONE TIME and you just KNOW it’s gonna be a hit and the voice behind the track will be a megastar.

If you were around in 1997, I bet that was your reaction this this song.

This year Rome’s “I Belong to You (Every Time I See Your Face)” turns 20 years old.

Excuse me while I renew my AARP membership.

“I Belong to You” has been one of the biggest anomalies in R&B history. How can a surefire career-making hit spawn no solid follow-ups? And where the heck is Rome? Retired? Lost his voice? Dragged into the Upside Down by the Stranger Things monster?

You’ve got questions? I’ve got the answers.

Well, some of the answers. This Rome guy is pretty slippery.

Jerome Woods of  Benton Harbor, Michigan, grew up with a love for music. In high school, he sang in a cover band named Fire & Ice, which sounds like the name of one of those lame teen clubs we went to in high school.

In the early 90s he dropped out of college and hit the road, heading to California in search of his big break. Although he toured with the late Vesta Williams for a while, it wasn’t until his demo landed in the hands of Gerald Baillergeau and Victor Merrit. The duo passed the demo to RCA Records, who signed the man now known as Rome and prepped him for his solo debut.


In 1997, Rome kicked down the door with his self-titled debut, and one of the best R&B songs of the 90s.

Most of you reading this probably know this song very well, but have you listened to the lyrics lately? I mean, really listened to them?

Say my lady
Tell me what’s wrong with your boyfriend
Aaaahhhhh come on
He holds the key to your heart
But he don’t love you baby, baby like I do
Only wanna be with you
Girl you are the love of my life babe
And I’d give it to you baby
You belong to me and only me


If this was 2017, Rome would be lurking in your girl’s DMs. He was out here Drake’ing way before Aubrey shoved his struggle vocals down our eyes.

Shame on you, Rome.

Song’s still fire though.

“I Belong To You”  climbed all the way to No. 2 on the R&B charts, but it’ll always be No. 1 in our hearts.

After a song that HUGE, you’d think success would be certain.

But if you think that, this is probably your first time reading one of our “What Ever Happened to” columns.

Rome followed up that hit with two oft-forgotten singles.  “Do You Like This” fared OK, based off the strength of Rome’s previous hit. It wasn’t nearly as memorable as its predecessor. Rome also dropped “Crazy Love,” a song I vividly remember thanks to its insane video:

You see, Rome is crazy in love six years before Beyonce, so let’s throw him in a mental institution and have him literally bounce off the walls. Wearing a vinyl straight jacket:

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Then all the mental patients gather for a late-90s dance number.

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Lawd if this video dropped in 2017, the think pieces would fall from the heavens like poorly written manna.

Despite this video being burned into my retinas for eternity, “Crazy Love” didn’t prove to be as memorable for the masses. The song didn’t even chart.

Here’s where things get a little tricky for Rome. He soon began recording songs for his sophomore album but it was rejected by RCA. Undeterred, Rome signed a distribution deal to drop Rome 2000: Thank You under his own label. But RCA wouldn’t play ball and the material recorded under RCA was not released (though you can now find a few tracks online). Thank You for nothing, RCA.

to infinity

Rome continued to grind though, quietly dropping To Infinity (Thank You) around the turn of the century. To Infinity was a revamped version of the original Rome 2000 album and, honestly, wasn’t much to write home about. “She Believes In Me” is a pretty nice track though, as is “Say Yes.” Also, the album cover looks like an after-party flier that some weirdo would stick under your windshield wiper.

And speaking of album covers, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

to the highest

In 2001, Rome would return with To The Highest.

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Lord keep me near the cross.

It’s like Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift had a baby with one of those old No Limit album covers. And look at Rome’s face, he looks like he got caught stealing one of the bikes from the set of Transformers The Last Knight.

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The bike matches his outfit though, so props for that.

ANYWAY, I couldn’t find very many tracks from To The Highest online. One can only assume that all the money from the project was sunk into that sweet bike. “Yes I Will” wasn’t bad though.

do it

In 2003, Rome was back YET AGAIN with Do It, and ladies, he’s serving y’all ALL THE SEXY with this cover. Velour suit with no shirt, sitting on a photoshopped water fountain (or giant wedge of wet loaf bread, I can’t really tell) – y’all gonna GET this work.

Rome’s out here stealing hearts and motorcycles.

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Seriously, though, Do It is a shockingly great album. “Drew from the Deck” is a BANGER, and “Can We Get Down” is good too. Most of the tracks are lingering around YouTube and are well worth your time.

Besides a greatest hits album in 2006 (that is basically a chopped-up version of his debut) and an EP 2014, the big homie has been relatively quiet for the past decade.

But guess what? Rome’s been hiding in plain sight. He’s pretty active on Facebook, still performs on occasion and apparently is looking to release new music soon. Check him out for yourself.

I like how he’s now Rome the Smooth R&B Singer. I guess that’s better than Rome the International Bike Thief.

Should He Come Back?: This is a tough one. While most of Rome’s albums were merely OK, Do It proved he had way more in the tank you might expect. Then again, Do It was recorded way back in 2003, back in those halcyon days we merely had dumb presidents, not psychopathic ones. But R&B certainly needs a voice like his today – I’m willing to give him a shot again.

Plus, who can say no to this face?

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Visit our “What Ever Happened to…” archive for more on your favorite forgotten artists



  1. Am alex from nigeria and i luv ur piece on rome..the first time i heard him was him singing let me come home,never be a love,real love.etc..miss him though..i dont know what these guys r singing dis days..Tank’s ok though😊

    • Rome needs to come back but with the right people and we all know what that means. As for your feedback on “Do You Like This” -YOU IS TRIPPIN- with how fast you dismiss it but i respect opinion. Do you like this, I liked WAY MORE than “I belong to you”. TELL ROME GET HIS ASS BACK OUT HERE AND GET THIS MONEY. WE MISS HIM DEARLY.

    • Rome needs snother chance.He has that Talent to create.Alot of us miss his Music Tremendously. He deserves a chance to produce.Bring him Back for a look see.

  2. Someone in Edna Texas told me he died so I stop checking for him.Glad 2 know he’s still around come on (Rome) you have (FanS) waiting ~~》 Fuck ~the ~HaterS!!!🌹⚘

  3. Come on ~(Rome)!! Fans are waiting ~~》2018~~》 Let’s ~Get~it!!Your music still get played today (yoU) might not know it😉

  4. We need you. Your music is everything.

  5. Mannnn….I thought Rome was truly forgotten. Thanks for the article on him. His voice was awesome and I would love to hear new music from him. I’m a true fan who listen and watch his videos. #ATrueFanOfRomeTheSinger ❤️ Now let me find him on Facebook😂

  6. About 5 to 6 years ago I hung out with ROME in Las Vegas, He still can sing his ass off, and yes he was performing here and there when opportunity presents it self. He is one of the coolest guys to hang out with, a true friend. I lost contact when I moved back to California… Hey ROME what’s up man? Its LONNIE!!

  7. No need to worry people, Rome is doing fine. I can’t reveal who I am but I’m a very close friend of his. I f you would like to book him for a show then go to his facebook and reach out to his manager which is located in dallas Texas. He can still sing the heck out of all of his songs and hasn’t missed a beat. Rome is currently traveling and still doing shows throughout the US. If your lucky you may just hear about hime coming to your town real soon.

  8. Very well written!! Miss his music gonna see if there’s away to book him in the near future?Nice article!!

  9. Love u ROME💞🤗

  10. His music was great l loved it

  11. He has been touring. It’s all posted on his FB page. I do wish he would come back full time

  12. I want rome to come to my fiance bday party!! He loves rome and sing his songs to me daily!! This would be the ULTIMATE surprise!

  13. When I was in college around 2001, 4 friends and I were renting a house in Canoga Park, California. When we moved in we found a TON of Rome memorabilia in the garage. There was even a gold record plaque from the Blade soundtrack.. We thought it would be funny to decorate the living room with it. None of us had heard his music before, but it quickly became a staple at parties we threw. Fast forward a couple of months after moving in, and the doorbell rings in the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday. I answer the door, and Rome is standing in my doorway! He was looking for his stuff and some mail, as he had been living in this house before us. I let him in to the living room and I think he was a little freaked out by the “shrine” we had erected. He ended up taking everything, but after some pestering, left us with a framed poster. If only selfies were a thing back then…

  14. Yo, this article was funny. I laughed a few times while reading it. However, I still listen to his music. Im listening to his debut album right now as Im typing this message at work LOL. I love this album. I can play “Let Me Come Home” all day long. Yo Rome, you still have fans. C’mon man, we miss you man. Bring that ass.

  15. Rome is a great singer and his first album was in my top 10 favorites.

  16. My brother Rome grew up sing New Edition then got out the teen years and started singing Babyface songs …my family proud of him still today for accomplishing his goals….prayers for a come back big brother …love ur sister Sonya

  17. Rome is not dead he’s back home in Benton Harbor, Mi.

  18. Man this piece had me rolling with laughter. You have real good humor. I wander what happen to Rome. Your right I belong to you is one of my favorite. Thank you for sharing.

  19. ROME, still in my top “playing” playlists!! The saying with my friends/fam…Rome is her man – he don’t know it, tho💜 The lyrics, the way Rome sings, OMG💜💜💜💜

  20. I’m working on a flyer design for a party that features Rome, Adina Howard and a few others, found your site while trying to find better pictures of Rome for the design because sometimes it’s hard to get artists to send over high-quality pictures in a timely manner. I have the album cover picture for The Best of ROME and then found the larger version of the picture by itself but as I was starting the design realized the picture was more blue than the one on the album so started looking for others again. The whole time I work on this flyer I keep singing Beenie Man “It’s all about ROMIE” LOL – http://www.djemir.com & http://www.extremeflyerdesigns.com

  21. Man, listen…Do You Like This was and is one of my absolute favorite songs of ALL TIMES!!! I Belong To You a very close second. I would love to see Rome make a comeback. Like you, I cannot believe this dude didn’t blow the hell up. I’m listening to the debut album now, sipping my wine, strolling down memory lane with a huge smile on my face. Thanks for the article and, wherever you are, Thanks Rome for introducing me to exactly what love feels like. Peace and much love!

  22. Closandra M. McWherter October 23, 2019 at 6:26 am

    True Rome fans know that he is still out there “grinding”. Maybe not on as grand a scale as he should be. I see he’s still performing. When he hit so hard in the late 90’s I knew he would be my favorite for life. When the music wouldn’t come out big, I researched it. I am the proud owner of 4 of his 6 released cds. I’ve been having the damndest time getting all six.(Not from lack of trying though). I’m gonna have that man sing (This is the day) at my wedding. Rome if by chance you see this, Holla at your “true blue #1 fan!!

  23. Hi my name is Sheila I am fan who love his music I was just wondering is he okay is life treating him okay and if he ever comes to Detroit look me and my family up we love to hear from him tell him to take care and Happy Holidays.

  24. I see rome all the time, as a matter of fact I shook his hand and talked with him today . It’s always a honor and a pleasure for me to talk to rome, I am truly a big fan. Right here in Benton harbor Michigan.

  25. Rome really does need to make one more run with the right team… His voice can carry from era, to era… Downloaded music to my cell so when my lady say play something sexy and get in that mood.

  26. Come back ROME We listen to your music to this day. 2020

  27. If he gets the right people on his team he could be way above his game

  28. I had the honor of hanging out with ROME a few years back in Las Vegas. He became a good friend who I’ll never forget. I can truly say that his voice has not changed,that man can sing. He most definitely need another chance..
    Hey ROME if you see this message email me at lonniekhillman@gmail.com

  29. Hello all. I just had the opportunity to speak with Jerome and yes his voice is still what you all fell in love with all those years ago.

    He is back home but touring most definitely. His music will always be remembered and song throughout his city. I know first hand because we just hung out together today at an open house.

    Love you my Benton Harbor brother and can’t wait for your next hits.


  30. I am looking for you the only Mahasin that you know Remember when we went to San Diego to do a show and the Chief of police had surrounded the the car and you were ready to sing out side for them do you know me now we had a lot of good Times.

  31. Your music rocks Rome! That’s Jerome! Come on back and make some music baby we need your style out here the music out needs help! Your a great guy! 🌹Xoxo
    Shout out from Palm Coast Fl 🌴MaryJayne

  32. Rome and I were signed under a production deal with Al McKay from Earth, Wind, & Fire in the early 90s. We cowrote and recorded several songs together in that Sunset Studio!! We were also working with Michael Concepcion’s label (All In The Same Gang). ROME is an exceptional Artist, and a True Family Man…I hate that his label RCA failed to put the proper marketing dollars behind him…

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