‘Romeo + Juliet’ singer Quindon Tarver dies aged 38

Singer Quindon Tarver, who found fame in as the choirboy in Baz Luhrmann’s film Romeo+ Juliet has died aged 38.

Tarver began singing in church as child, in 1996 when he was 14 years old he appeared as a choirboy in Romeo+Juliet, singing covers of Prince’s When Doves Cry and the Rozalla song Everybody’s Free to Feel Good. 

His recording of the Rozalla song appeared on the soundtrack album for the film which went on to sell over two million copies. It was so popular a second volume was released which featured the score by composer Craig Armstrong and the Prince tune.

A further wave of success came when the film’s director created a recording combing the Rozalla song and a newspaper column that offered words of advice for youth. Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) was a massive hit in Australia.

Tarver released his debut album, titled Quindon in 1996 and went on tour with some of the top artists of the day including Immature, Brandy and Monica. He later appeared as a contestant on two series of American Idol. 

In 2008 Tarver joined DeMario ‘Raz-B’ Thorton, a former member of B2K, and spoke with VIBE magazine detailing abuse they both suffered as young artists.  Tarver detailed his experiences when he spoke to the ABC’s DoubleJ in 2017.

Within a few years the teenager’s music career had come to an end and he was back at his Texas high school. Except now he was dealing with the trauma of sexual assault, and he found himself shunned by his peers.

“I was very quiet, I was going through a lot,” Tarver told DoubleJ. “A lot of people deemed me as stuck up, somewhat snobbish, but that wasn’t the case.

“I was hurting. I had been molested, I had been raped, I had lost my career, which is what I had dreamed of doing all my life.

“I had to come back home because someone did something to me. I didn’t know how to cope with that. I didn’t know how to deal with that.

“I began drinking and dabbling in drugs and I lost it, man. I spiraled completely.”

While he attempted to make a comeback via reality TV shows, he was never able to rebuild his career. In 2019 Tarver publicly shared that he was gay.

His family has confirmed that he was killed in car crash in his home state of Texas. He was 38 years old.

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