Omar Apollo has always been interested in songwriting. Soon after receiving his first guitar aged 11 or 12, he taught himself how to play through watching YouTube, as well as a helpful uncle. It's the same story with his songwriting, which he told Billboard was something that ever since he was 17, he felt compelled to do.
“Since I was 17, I felt this motivation. I don't know why or who or what was driving it. It was just, like, ‘This is what I have to do.’” The success he’s experienced thus far has only amplified his drive and given him more goals to chase. “I want to be a better singer, a better dancer, a better performer, a better writer, a better musician,” he says. “I think about those things every day.”
He's just released his new track, Go Away, which sees Omar dealing with a love that's all-too-brief. It's his first single since he released Apolonio last year, and like the rest of his discography, it's intimately relatable. To get you up to speed with all things Omar, we've put together a guide to the Mexican-American singer/songwriter, and what makes him so special.
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Omar was first introduced to the world with his 2017 single, Ugotme, which he only released on Spotify after a friend gave him $30 to put it on the streaming platform. He followed that single, as well as Unbothered, up with his 2018 debut EP Stereo, which features him rapping, as well as playing the synth. Speaking to DJBooth about Stereo, he said it was a very free project.
“There was no theme to that project. I didn’t give a fuck. I didn’t know if it was going to work out or not, I just threw some shit together. We talked about the order and how we thought it would flow the best, but in terms of the music and the genres, I just did whatever.”
Omar followed up Stereo with his Friends EP, which travels between jazz, R&B, funk, alternative, soul and pop. It's hard to pin it down and label it as a particular sound, which he tells Euphoria was deliberate. "I needed to put out this project to not be stuck in one genre. I’ve done the folk stuff, rock stuff, funk stuff, R&B stuff, soul stuff… That’s what I grew up on. It just came to be like that. The album will be more thematic and run through better, it’ll be more cohesive. Track to track. Front to back."
2020 was been a big year for Omar, as well as his Australian fans. He was in the country as part of Laneway Festival, and fans got a taste of what makes his live shows something that needs to be seen to be believed. He also released his collaboration with pop king Ruel, Want U Around.
Speaking about the track, Omar says, "Want U Around is about missing someone who doesn’t feel the same way. After you try everything and it’s still not enough, you know you should give up on that person — but something holds you back from giving up on the idea of being together one day."