Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Feature

Omar... just keeps on giving and giving

Omar @bluesandsoul.com
Omar @bluesandsoul.com Omar @bluesandsoul.com Omar @bluesandsoul.com Omar @bluesandsoul.com

At almost forty three and still sporting those distinctive locks Omar has to date achieved so much be that working with some of the biggest stars like Stevie wonder and indeed gaining plaudits from a plethora of artists (the best plaudits me thinks).

Indeed it is an old and I expect pointless assertion that he should be bigger than he is because he frankly is not that bothered. Maybe in a way it is better because he has kept the much coveted position of independence which has allowed his musical productivity to be totally about what he wants to produce. As we await his seventh album (produced in his own studio) Omar continues to be as busy as ever it seems.

The seventh album “probably my best."

It is my seventh album and the second that I recorded in my new studio. This time I decided to keep it free of cameos because the last album I had Stevie Wonder, Angie Stone, Common and Erykah and this time I wanted to keep it in house. I have written some songs with my brother Scratch Professor who produces as well as plays. If you know about Omar̢۪s music then you know about the soul, the funk, the jazz, the reggae, the Latin and the classical. I would have to say this is probably the best I have made so far. To me it is such a free album I mean my stuff is always free because I tend to go with how I feel but this album is the biggest selection of stuff that has that free element.

The new studio brings “freedom."

I think so I have been able to spend time in the studio to work things out without having to watch the clock and how much money I am spending. It is a little different now because at the time I was living in the house where the studio is. The missus, my twin girls and I have moved down to Brighton so now I have to give myself an allotted time to work in the studio. It still works out however because it is there and available.

Facing the pitfalls of a music career and not becoming a victim like Amy Winehouse.

People have their ways of dealing with stress. I cannot go to those extremes but people have their own little vices and things and I had mine. It is such a shame that a person that was so talented died at such a young age. It was like I was saying to someone though she was a star that shined brighter than most, but those stars that burn bright are burning at a faster rate than others and so it will implode faster. I am all about music from the moment I wake up and so I think that is what has helped me to survive. Now I am forty three this year and music is my destiny. Wherever I am in the world performing people know me or know my music and that is just so powerful. I just give thanks that I can still play my music to the young and old.

How to stay musically relevant twenty six years on?

It is about sustaining something through this life and career and make music that should stand the test of time. When I did 'There̢۪s Nothing Like This' it was two weeks after doing my first single and I absolutely f#*king hated that single after two weeks of it. So I decided there and then that I had to make music that you could listen to years later and I have I think been able to do that through my career now. People still come up to me about other tracks they are the hardcore fans. Someone put up on Facebook what was your favourite Omar tracks and there were over a hundred replies with all different tracks and so that really pleased me and it is all love.

Nothing Like This is the signature tune for you in many ways is it irritating?

I do have other music but it does not really worry me if they start with that track because they can then look and find the other music I have made so I am blessed. The fact that people pick that one thing doesn̢۪t get me vexed. I have made six albums and that is a lot of music and if that is coming from that one tune then that is great. I have a place in London, a place in Brighton, I have a beautiful missus and beautiful children, I have toured the world and met so many different people. That track has given me quite a nice lifestyle so I cannot complain.

Loving life.

I was in Copenhagen and I managed to get my missus and the girls out there, there was an absolutely brilliant singer called Honey LarOchelle and we were talking and we were saying that we absolutely love our lifestyle. We get to travel the world, eat and drink in different places and get paid something. A lot of people go to a job they do not even like travelling to work and sruck in traffic. I am making my music got my studio to make a vibe it̢۪s good.

What̢۪s in the pipeline?

I am producing on a bigger scale and I do want to do that. I am working with an artist called Cherri Davis, she is on the Metropolis label also managed by Amy̢۪s manager Ray Cosbert and that will be out in two month̢۪s time. I actually played it to my brother and he heard it and he did not think it even sounded like me and that is what I am going for really - she is coming with a vibe rather like Toni Braxton. The album will be next year but I am not sure what part of the year but that is all coming around and of course I am still acting at the moment in my one man show and I am definitely looking to continue acting.

Did you move away because you were spending too much time in the studio?

No, no my missus was just not in love with the area where the studio was and in terms of bringing up the girls. She is actually from Southampton and so she wanted to be near the sea again so we actually live in Brighton & Hove. It actually works well for me because I just go to London for business.

Omar's re-released album 'Sing If You Want To' is out now through Tru Thoughts.
Words Semper Azeez-Harris

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