But now Omar moves calmly behind me through the crowd of Soho, untouched. He rarely speaks unless asked to. He’s not the kind of cool you get from wearing head-to-toe Supreme or smoking packs of cigarettes outside of Clandestino in Dimes Square; As he strolls through various vintage shops, he’s quick to spot what he would or wouldn’t wear, pointing out warm colors like Yves Klein blue that inspire him. If he’s worried about reception ivory, there is no reference to it. He says he has no expectations of the album’s public perception. “I don’t want that,” he says, knowing that it would only make him sad.
We stop at a pub on Prince Street where Omar tells me he’s been obsessed with his health ever since he quit ivory. He begins each day with a “cold dip” in a colossal ice bucket parked in front of his Los Angeles home. He’s really into “Hot Yoga and shit” and is currently concentrating on his “gut health”. He stopped going to therapy because he decided his friends could offer deeper emotional insight. He tries to eat slower, meditate more, and see growth as an ongoing evolution of the self. “I feel like if I’m not sweating, I’m thinking too much all day and not being present,” he explains. He looks down as he narrates all of this, as if knowing he might sound like a typical Angeleno transplant who suddenly advocates raw veggies and probiotics. “The shit you do to feel normal,” he says while toying with the restaurant’s checkered tablecloth.
Los Angeles is relatively new to Omar. He grew up with his Guadalajara parents and three siblings in the small town of Hobart, Indiana. His parents, who are happily married — “they’re not super in love, like cuddles and stuff, but it works because they love each other,” he says — worked multiple jobs to support the family, and Omar has helped by helping has worked at Jimmy John’s (he still swears by order #2 with bacon) and Guitar Center. He saved enough money to buy a microphone as a teenager and used it to record songs like 2017’s “Ugotme,” which he uploaded to streaming platforms after a friend sent him $30 with a note saying read: “Invest in your future”. That led to an offer of $800 – “the most money I’ve ever seen”; he spent it “going crazy at Wingstop for about two weeks” – from his current manager to play a show in New York, which was quickly followed by a record deal.
Taking 11 months to complete, Ivory’s 16 songs navigate the spectrum of desire from crushes to raunchy, anonymous sex, even managing to make confrontation and monogamy seem sexy. On “Petrified,” Omar sings about longing (“I think about you more every day”), and on “Killing Me,” he’s more direct (“Touch me like you want to die / fuck me like you fantas”). He confidently switches back and forth between English and Spanish as he sings about a man leaving another man for a woman (“Evergreen”), or a lover more emotionally searching for a romantic dynamic (“Go Away”). “I could sing tunes all day, but I won’t get anywhere if I don’t have something to say. So if I have a theme, a word, a feeling, a phrase, an emotion or words attached to it… then the song writes itself,” he explains.
Omar Apollo on his debut album Ivory and the Pharrell-produced single
Source link Omar Apollo on his debut album Ivory and the Pharrell-produced single