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Smooth R&B singer Rome was born Jerome Woods in Benton Harbor, MI. Early on, he sang along with his mother's soul records (Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke) as well as in the local church choir. He joined an R&B cover band named Fire & Ice while in high school, and traveled around the region performing in local clubs and talent contests as a solo act and with the band. Woods dropped out of Alabama's Oakwood University in 1989 to pursue his dream on the West Coast, and toured with Vesta as a backing vocalist as well as appearing in industry showcases and cable-access programs. Finally, he connected with producers Gerald Baillergeau and Victor Merrit, who sent his demo to RCA Records. The label signed him immediately, and he began working on his debut album in mid-1996. The self-titled LP appeared in April 1997 and soon ascended to number 30 on the album charts, earning gold certification. Thank You followed two years later. John Bush

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