ISSA FEATURED ARTIST FOR JANUARY 2023
2022 ISSA Award Winning Artist – Male Emerging Artist (Bronze)
Hakeem Romance (Al-Hakeem Aquil Thompson) spent most of his early childhood as
an Army Brat traveling around the world with his parents who both were in the United
States Army for well over twenty years. His father achieved the rank of Chief Warrant
Officer 4 and his mother of Master Sergeant.
His family had to relocate often and Hakeem never stayed in any one school for more
than a year. He genuinely loved the excitement of living in different places and being
exposed to many diverse cultures. This exposure had a profound impact on developing
his awareness of the arts and shaping his future.
As a child the entertainment mediums of television and radio captivated him. One of his
favorite shows was the popular “Family Matters”. Hakeem loved the theme song so much
that he would sing and dance to it every time the program aired. Hakeem also spent a lot
of time listening to the radio as a young child. When hearing songs that he liked he would change the
lyrics and then perform them as his own creations.
Hakeem developed an undeniable love for singing and a great appreciation of the diverse
musical influences that he was exposed to as a young boy. For several years, during the
summer months, he visited his older cousin Khadijah. She would often take him to
her school, Arts High in Newark, NJ to watch the performances. There he was
introduced to some very talented singers and music steppers, which inspired him to
become involved in the arts. Hakeem soon realized that he had a natural talent for
singing and was destined to become a recording artist. It was with the support of his
family that during his senior year at East Side High in Newark, NJ, he
made that fateful decision to pursue a career in music.