Review: Rio Romeo romances way into music industry

Group publishes new single after first goes viral


Lucian Steube-Lintner

Artist, Rio Romeo, shares their new single “Missus Piano” on their YouTube channel.

Lucian Steube-Lintner, Staff Writer

A passionate shout, soft snapping and an off-beat piano rift accompany sharp vocals, backup vocals echo in the background calling attention to the main singer’s voice. Rio Romeo fits a catchy tune about nostalgia for an old partner in just over a minute flawlessly, capturing a lovesick guilt.

Romeo, a non-binary and lesbian artist, came out with their newest song “Missus Piano” on Sept. 26. This will be Romeo’s first release after their song “Butch 4 Butch” went viral on TikTok, the popular video-sharing app. Within just a day of “Missus Piano” being released, it has been played over 17,137 times on Spotify, and even before the song was released, several fans danced and helped advertise using a preview of it on TikTok.

 Romeo’s songs typically use various older music styles: “Butch 4 Butch”, written in a three-fourths waltz and “Missus Piano” written in what sounds like swing. Romeo’s usage of exclusively piano and vocals scratches a special kind of itch for listeners who prefer a focus on the lyrics of a song.  They highlight an imperfect voice with surrounding vocals, creating a more personal listening experience, similar to sitting in an audience and watching them live. 

Romeo’s songs carry deeper meanings to those of the LGBTQ+ community as they hit on common stereotypes that lesbians face. Butch lesbians, specifically, can resonate with Romeo’s music as it highlights how they are treated as though they need to be strong and emotionally closed off, not showing affection for their partners. 

In “Butch 4 Butch,” the main premise is how Romeo is lovesick for a fellow butch lesbian but neither are allowing themselves the freedom to remove emotional barricades in fear of losing the other. “Missus Piano ” is written as an ode to a past partner despite Romeo having moved on, still thinking very fondly of them.

Romeo’s openness in their music creates a special bond between listeners and the singer, giving listeners a doorway into Romeo’s past life and experiences. Romeo’s audience resonates with experiences shared in Romeo’s songs, giving them a safe space in Romeo’s fan community. “Missus Piano” is a great example of how to use minimal instruments and still make a meaningful song.