A local musician from Grassy Park is urging the youth of his community to dream big. Damian Roman, well-known CEO and founder of music record label Crybaby Entertainment (CBE), has been making the rounds in the entertainment industry since the age of 15. The talented artist says his journey has not been an easy one, but he advises youngsters to push until they reach the top. Roman established his label in 1999 and officially registered his independent music company in 2006. “I am very proud of myself for getting this far, but it is not an easy job being in the music industry. Having to put up with gossip and no support from our community are two of the biggest downturns,” he says. “Our community needs to realise that living in an underprivileged area doesn’t mean we don’t have talent amongst our people. We are blessed with tremendous capacity and our people need to stay clear of negative energy to make things happen.”Growing up in Retreat Roman fell under the influence and was arrested for the possession of drugs at the age of 15. He has never again indulged in those activities ever since. “This activity kept me from pursuing my dreams in life, but I managed to pull myself back up. I started using my greatest passion by focusing on giving other children in my area the opportunity to turn their lives around through the love of music. With the right intention and mindset at the time, I found myself successfully fulfilling my music career,” he explains. The musician’s search for success has set a high standard of quality and perfection in his work over the years. In 2006, South African jazz musician Jimmy Dludlu won a South African Music Award (Sama) for the song “Corners of my Soul” which was produced by Roman. “My achievements have definitely shown through my work with many well-known artists. Two years after Jimmy’s award, I produced and co-wrote another song titled ‘Tonite’, placing Sama-nominated artist Chad Saaiman on his journey to a hugely successful musical career,” he adds.In 2008, the label took a break for a period of groundwork. Roman started studying business and researched successful record companies to equip himself with skills to successfully manage CBE. “I have worked with many successful artists, including Ernie B and Nigel Morkel (Afro Z members), Richard Ceaser and Claire Phillips. “[Phillips] and I have just finished two songs which are set to hit the airwaves soon. Being her current music producer and director, I can assure that she is all set and ready for her Australian music tour later this month.” Roman has recently been working with multi-award winning songwriter and performer David Kramer. “David requested my music a while back after meeting up at a relative’s place. He listened to my work and immediately loved it. Not long after, I was asked to lead his band in one of his latest hits Amper Famous,” he explains. “One of the show artists named Vito, who is known to be an up-and-coming rapper, also performed a song co-produced by myself at the South African Ghoema Awards this year.”Music is not the only passion of the talented local. Roman hosts weekly self-defence classes in various underprivileged areas, which includes teaching boxing, mua-thai and grappling. Roman has also worked with various charitable organisations, and has done numerous school tours with the hopes of teaching young people to use their creativity and talent to make a living. “Damian shows real passion and determination,” says Gillian Schricker. “His work expresses his thoughts and ideas about the many truths and facets of what he believes love and life to be. It is proven, the journey that he has been on embraces both his love for music and God. As his mother, I am very proud of his achievements and how he has battled on to be the best he can be, and to help and support others to reach their goals.”The musician says his biggest dream is to see the music industry grow in a way so that other local musicians and singers can sustain themselves financially. “Things are not going to appear overnight for local artists, but with the right intention and mindset, everything will surely flow. This year started off really well for me and I have many great plans that will be heard of very soon. “Our youth need to remember that anything is possible if we put our minds to it. We need to live an educated life filled with forgiveness, love and passion. Everything else follows,” he says.