David St. Romain

When country artist David St. Romain first heard the demo for “Twenty Years Late,” he cried. Whether rowdy or restrained, the singer-songwriter and former Nashville Star finalist likes to wear his heart on his sleeve—and his daughters’ names tattooed on his forearms—so he recorded the tune and sent the single to country radio in April.

After starting his own label and releasing All I Really Wanted to Say, St. Romain officially becomes a song-and-dance man this month by performing in the upcoming Dancing for Big Buddy event May 7 at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Your new single, “Twenty Years Late,” is about a son missing his mother, and it seems timed for Mother’s Day.

My mom is pretty deeply emotional, and we share that bond bigtime. Every time I do that song I think about her, about losing her or missing out on time spent with her. At some point I always catch myself choked up a little.

Did you ever feel pressure to conform to a certain stereotypical country box?

Well, I tried a cowboy hat, but I have hair and no reason not to show it. As far as getting a mainstream major label deal, I’ve heard the comment over and over: ‘Are you sure he’s country?’ I’ve also heard my whole life that I sound like Travis Tritt, so it’s obvious that I fall into the country market.

American Idol is hitting its home stretch this season. What are those contestants really going through by being judged in such a public way?

For me, it was actually a lot of nerves to work through. Being on Nashville Star, I stuck to one idea: less is more. Those shows try to pull in drama from your life—that’s what they do. I just wanted to represent good things and make Louisiana proud. But less is more. That goes for interviews too, I’ve learned, which is funny, because I talk all the time.

So what’s your go-to dance move?

I’m the standard white boy on the dance floor. But I have some rhythm, and I can count on beat. My dance partner says that’s a positive. We’re doing a tango with a bunch of lifts, so it’s not easy. I’m sore from practicing. But there’s a huge calling to help kids with me, and that’s why I’m excited about it. davidstromain.com