Origin: Billings, MT
Years Active: 2010 - Present
Hailing from Billings Montana, Chez looks to inspire the human soul with his music. Chez is himself a story of personal redemption and empathy; a man who has overcome his vices finding solace in sobriety. With hard work and dedication, Chez looks to change the world with his message of self-acceptance and belief.
Cheslon Michael Romero (born April 15, 1991), better known as Chez and formerly known as Prodiga1, is a musical recording artist, performer, and public figure from Billings, MT. Chez has undeniable testimony when it comes not only to his music, but his life overall. Chez was raised along with his older siblings by a single mother in an impoverished home. His mother abused drugs and regularly left him and his siblings alone for several days. Chez recalled times when he and his siblings were forced to steal food and face the consequences of misdirected physical abuse, but perhaps the most difficult hardship Chez faced as a child was being a victim of sexual assault, an experience he reflects on in his music.
Chez was naturally drawn to music growing up, listening to and learning from artists like Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, Pearl Jam, Tupac, and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. He began playing the guitar at age 11 which further opened the doors to his now budding musical career.
Academically, Chez was an excellent student who qualified for honors courses and had no difficulty achieving straight A’s. Due to his troubled upbringing, Chez stumbled onto the dead-end path of selling and abusing drugs soon after at age 12. He faced several drug charges in the wake of this life choice and ended up dropping out of school at age 16.
Chez also started recording his music when he was 16 years old. He and his friends would find spaces to jam in like a basement or garage and use borrowed musical instruments or equipment found through local pawn shops. Chez initially pursued spiritual, Christian hip-hop with influences such as Matisyahu, Lecrae, Tedashii, and Timothy Brindle. He released his first Christian hip-hop album in early 2013 under the rap name Prodiga1.
Chez teamed up with Montana hip-hop collective Poetic Intelligence in mid 2013 and began to experiment with secular rhymes in his music. Together they achieved a level of notoriety the likes of which had not been seen by a Montana hip-hop group, selling out multiple shows, chart topping online music retailers and inspiring a new wave of young Montana hip-hop artists. Chez continued to release two solo albums during his tenure with Poetic Intelligence through 2015.
Chez appeared to have placed his dark past behind him and continued to push the boundaries with his music. He decided to change his rap name to “Chez”, simply because that’s what everyone knew him as in day to day discourse. Shortly after the release of his fourth album ‘Kings & Queens’ (and first released under the name “Chez”), Chez experienced the death of his newborn daughter, Ismaela Mae Romero. His many efforts to improve his image and change his life path crumbled and continued to spiral downward until he ultimately attempted to take his own life in late 2016. On the brink of death, Chez awoke to find himself in a hospital bed surrounded by his loved ones, friends and fans. At that point he decided to change his life for the better and has been sober since February 17th, 2017.
Chez has found a new joy of life through sobriety which has inspired him to relay the same message in his new music; music dedicated to inspire and push a sense of security, positive self-image and hope in his listeners.
Chez owns and operates his own drywall and paint business in addition to pursuing a career as a musician. He was recently awarded a spot in the Billings Gazette’s Top 40 Under 40 for 2018, an annual celebration of community members who are nominated and acknowledged for their remarkable life stories and contributions to the Billings area. As of 2018, Chez has performed across the United States with notable artists such as Russ, Tyga, Lil Pump, The Game, Tech N9ne, Krizz Kaliko, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Famous Dex, Mark Battles, Kirko Bangz, Baby Bash, and Shwayze. His sixth studio album titled In the Light of Dark Tragedies is scheduled for release in mid 2018.