Publish Date: 09-17-2014
Type: Music Beat
Byline: Savannah Nelson
Title: Copy Editor
Kickhead: CU Denver student finds success as local rapper
Word Count: 540
ESE Count: 2
CU Denver recording arts and music business student Ian Romero is an artist taking advantage of the ever-expanding Denver music scene. He is reaching out to listeners under his rap stage name, (uNiT)e, and working to establish a fanbase in the metro-area.
Romero is the founder and rapper of The LivedLIFE Movement, which aims to innovate rap as genre. Their goal is to create a sub-genre called “vibe hop,” which is dreamy and expressive, rather than harsh and demeaning. The movement also consists of Michael Aiello—cofounder, instrumentalist, and DJ, and Matt Morrison as a vocalist.
Romero grew up in Colorado Springs, where he first discovered his passion for creating music. He saw opportunity in the performing arts element of Denver, and decided to pursue his career in Colorado’s capital city.
“When I was really young I always wanted to play an instrument,” Romero said. “I got a guitar when I was 10 and learned how to play it. My grandpa, cousin, and having some of the most supportive parents I could ask for has really influenced me and allowed me to be free in ways that are directly translated in my music.”
Growing up to the beat of hip-hop and rap directly influenced Romero’s attraction to the genre. As a child, his parents would play the likes of Funkmaster Flex, Run DMC, and Dougie Fresh. Often, Romero would let the relatable lyrics wash over him. Eventually, Ian used writing lyrics as an outlet—among playing the guitar, ukulele, keyboard, and mandolin.
“I’ve always had that urge to be creative and to make something from it,” Romero said. “So I just went with it, in whatever direction I was inspired to take. Rap was the only direction that made sense.”
Romero has been on a path toward a rap career since his freshman year of high school, when he started self-releasing EP’s and LP’s and dropping singles regularly. By his junior year, he was performing showcases. As a senior, he began to focus his energies on battling and perfecting his wordplay—emphasizing the power of words. When he felt confidence in his progress, he began throwing his own shows and received attention for his talent; his work was sought out from fans wanting to hear his lyrics and see his energy-filled sets.
Starting out with venues and shows with 50 people in the crowd, Romero has performed sold out shows with hundreds of people. He is a regular performer at Cervantes Other Side and Cervantes Masterpiece in Denver, The Aggie in Fort Collins, and has opened at Red Rocks.
“I started opening for national headliners and that's when my cousin (Michael Aiello) and I started The LivedLIFE Movement,” Romero said. “He produces the instrumentals and I write the lyrics and rap over them. Over the past year we have played about 30 shows opening for some rap legends such as Mobb Deep, Nas, Pete Rock, C.L. Smooth, Machine Gun Kelly, Nappy Roots, Hopsin, Schoolboy Q, and many more.”
Be on the look-out for Romero as he storms stages in the Denver area by night, or on campus as he heads to class by day. His drive for success and his relentless ambition gives the student rapper an edge for notability.
For updates on (uNiT)e and his progress as an aspiring rap artist, you can like his page on Facebook, https://m.facebook.com/LivedLIFEmovement, and follow him on twitter, @unitethemc. You can also visit www.livedlifemovement.com for show updates, music, and announcements.