In Conversation with… Omar

This week I spoke to Neo-soul superstar Omar ahead of his first full band live session this week Wednesday at The Cause. As part of the Tuckshop’s Open Air Live Series, Omar is debuting post-covid supported by Amahla, Andy Lemay on the decks and myself spinning only the sweetest of soul songs. Final tickets can be found here.

Omar’s career has spanned over 30 years


 

My conversation with Omar was one that was plagued by my cackle; I didn’t really know what to expect but of course as a veteran of the music industry, Omar has been interviewed 101 times, and has all the right come backs. A truly charismatic character, I’m not sure if it was the giddy fan girl in me or the woman with a love smooth chat that made the conversation flow effortlessly and my laugh just would not quit. Omar is of course a legend in his own right, adding to my own bubbling notion of nerves. Omar has collaborated with everyone worth collaborating with, including my own personal hero Stevie Wonder, with whom he produced the big soul tune ‘Feeling You’. This track has since been remixed by Henrik Shwarz and heard across the dance music landscape. He has also worked with everyone from Angie Stone, the Kele Le Roc to Erykah Badu, Carleen Anderson and  Common making his repertoire of artist alliances a strong one to say the least. His major hit ‘There’s Nothing Like This’, reissued on the Talkin’ Loud record label, hit number 14 in the UK singles charts, and in his own words has ‘stood him in stead’. The long and short of it is, his contributions to the neo-soul scene are nothing short of iconic. 

What seems to be the pre-requisite for the new normal in that our conversation started with our mutual mourning for our industry in the wake of coronavirus ended in pure positivity. Omar and I spoke about learning to become multifaceted during the lockdown, both indulging in lives across Facebook and Instagram. I also asked (much to his disdain) who his favourite person to collaborate with has been during his lengthy career, which for the sake of the podcast I won’t divulge here. We also talked about the weird and wonderful things that come with having an MBE, influences and accolades and who musically Omar is really feeling at the moment.

To be honest, I was nervous that the time old saying ‘never meet your hero’s’ would come into play. I remember meeting Mark Lamar at the 100 Club last year and being enamoured in that Never Mind The Buzzcocks was in my mind, the show that changed music journalism in a way. But true to form, his character was much like his on the show, sarcastic and abrupt, and when I asked if he fancied being on my show the blunt ‘No’ I received cemented that the role he played wasn’t just for show. Moral of the story; don’t idolise miserable middle-aged men.

Omar is a classically trained musician and songwriter


 

Omar on the other hand, was a dream and then some. So keen to hear about how I worked my way through lockdown, not opposed to a question and also said he was looking forward to meeting me this Wednesday, which is definitely something I will be writing down in my diary. A man of serious talent and writing ability, and also someone who’s perfected their craft through countless collabs and endless hours in the studio, I really cannot wait to see what he brings to the Open-Air Live Sessions tomorrow. This Tuckshop Music podcast gives a well rounded aural vision of Omar as an artist and something I hope you all enjoy with ease.

Here is out first In Conversation with… via Soundcloud:

Written, hosted and produced by Scarlett O’Malley