Omar is much more than what meets the eye. He is a man with layers, strength and unremarkable diligence. He has proven that he is someone who wants to make a positive impact on this generation and the next one to follow through his first love, music.
NU People: Tell us a little bit more about your music career, as some people may not know that you are also a musician.
OMAR: I started doing my music professionally around 2014. I’ve been doing music my whole life but I would say professionally from 2014. I used to work at the council but I used to book annual leave to go and record in Birmingham because I did not record in London. I put out my first mixtape ‘Heartbreak: the Lyrics’ and that has lasted 3 /4 years now however I don’t have any music videos, I don’t have anything like that just because I didn’t have the money. So any money I had at the time I invested in audio for people to listen to. People have asked me why haven’t I done music videos or made a tape but life has had a funny way messing with me. So one minute I have a job the next minute I don’t have a job, the next minute I’m homeless, the next minute someone is putting me up, you start doing a track and then it doesn’t get finished. I’ve been with one management who was giving me what I would like to call lip service and then with another who gives me everything I want so its been a roller-coaster of stuff. I end up on a show like BKChat and now I’m really in the public eye but people don’t know much about the music side of things, so I’m getting recognised for other things. Things can only get better from this moment and I would like to do more on the music.
Would you say the music is therapeutic?
Yes definitely, I would say my mental health has changed over the years. All the things that have happened to me has definitely taken a toll on my mental health I can’t lie but you do find ways to help it. I like music of all genres but I have noticed that music does soothe me. Other things that I feel help are drawing, writing music, going to the gym, talking about it perhaps. My music is my escapism and it’s where I can put everything on how I feel into something that is melodic and where I can also spark the same interest, emotion and curiosity in the next person. So again I decided to not just make the music not just about myself but to put different scenarios in a song where people can relate to just to add a different dynamic so its almost like a conversation but in song form. I want people to think, I want people to wake up and also feel the emotion because you are not alone in this. I would say if I didn’t have the music I don’t know what would be my escape.
What is your next offering going to be and what can people expect from it?
Regarding my next project, I mean I’ve learnt throughout the years to keep my mouth shut (laughs). But to not give anything away, I’ve got a few gifts and its been three years in the making, we’ve been able to sell out a venue, they’ve heard new music, its about time that I give something back whether that be a new single a new video an official album. Everything has been planned for years up until this moment. I’ve planned the mixtape/album that I want to do, I’ve planned the music videos, the workshops etc. It was just matter of who was going to help me take it off the ground. I’ve done alright with the things I wanted to do as I have had a sold out venue with the management that I am under. But I feel three years in the making the people that I really regards as fans are the ones that I feel I really owe them, so my focus is on them is not about the masses. It is for the people who stuck by me for all those years. There are artists that bring out mixtape and music videos however it still doesn’t amount to much. Its a very crazy concept.
A lot of people know you for your online persona. How do you present yourself as a musician?
I’m the same person. I’ve always been a musician, people may not have known that before BKChat but I’ve always been a musician. BKChat was a great opportunity for people to know who I am as a person. Because of the show people can now understand why I say the things I say and they now can go back to my lyrics. Baring in mind that the words are a few years old but now people can relate to it. That’s type of thing that I am trying to go for. Holding myself as a musician and a cast member of the show it does tie into itself. The idea was to always ease the music in and to let people know what I do. I will be real to you, I received a sold out show because of BKChat and the audience that it provided but I had the music that people were willing to stand there and listen to for 4 hours. My talent is able to speak for itself and for people to be happy to check out my music and part with their money to see me is a really big thing.
How much has your Ghanaian background influences your music?
Some of the new stuff that I’ve been doing I really wanted to incorporate my younger self. I went to school in Ghana for like three years I went when I was 12 and that is when I first started writing songs, I started writing songs at my desk in Ghana. Being around the Ghanaian community and culture, I loved it! When your in London the only thing you really see about Ghana and Africa is Oxfam adverts but going there it was nothing at all like that. I wanted to incorporate the sounds because you know in Ghana you do ‘Jamma’, I wanted to incorporate that into the music that I do. I wanted to really incorporate the home sounds of the motherland into what I do. If the music doesn’t make you move, it really isn’t from Ghana mate. Ghanaians can make music out of anything, they can take two cans bang them together, I can guarantee you that it will make a beat and make you move. When I compare the UK afro beats to what we have in Ghana, its not the same I would rather bring what we have in Ghana over to here.
What impact are you looking to have on the world music scene?
Honestly just to wake people up that’s what I believe my job is to do. Before it was about having the success in music, putting little messages in music but with so much stuff that has gone on from when I started my career until now with regards to my personal life etc., that it was I’ve started to put into my career. I want to let the next man know that you can do it. There is so much money in this world, its not like we have to ration it. Its just a matter of how much work you put in and how bad you want it. All I’ve been trying to do is to speak greatness onto peoples lives that’s what I really want to do. I want to be remembered as the kid that loved music, who thought through everything, who didn’t give up and who believed as long as you keep pushing, somebody out there will take an interest in you to help you move forward with it. I want my life to be a living testimony to the next person. My message is to not give up just because it is hard, or your friends don’t help you or mum doesn’t believe in you. Doing music is not an easy lifestyle especially if you don’t have financial backing or job you know but you have to keep pushing.
I’ve seen a man with no limbs from the waste down doing music with people surrounding him. People are doing a lot more with a lot a less. Me, I have two legs so I better make sure that I’m doing something with my life. You have to get up and fight and not give up. You may not be recognised today but someone might recognise you tomorrow. I refuse to give up in this world. This is all a blessing, I’ve never been on the front of a magazine cover before but it’s a blessing and I take it and I’m very grateful.
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