Omar is, “The Man”
If you are a pure lover of R&B this was the week for you as OMAR brought the heat with his new CD entitled, “The Man”. Some may say that was a bold and conceited way to title a CD in a genre that has fallen way below the standards of where R&B used to be but after you hear this CD you will agree that the title is well deserved.
Omar Christopher Lye-Fook gave us a new take on the, “British Invasion”, and fulfilled all that was expected and more of this music blogger when I popped open the CD. The opening track, “Simplify”, had me feenin for more. This CD contains deep bass, great percussion, heavy horns, award winning studio mixing and a throwback soulful arrangement. But, most importantly, this CD is filled with Grammy award winning singing.
Rhythm and Blues is no longer a good moniker to describe the twenty year or so absence of an iconic singer in that category. Once R&B had the likes of Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson, Prince, Rick James, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Tina Turner, Teena Marie and others who held it down for decades. Now we are settling for one hit wonders, computer straightening pitch assisted high note hitters, and hoping that something that the artist does goes viral enough to sell records.
That is the state of music in the United States!
Overseas and abroad soul music is at an all time high and many singers are jockeying for position on all mediums as their consumers continue to support them regardless age, race, creed or gender.
I remembered the first time I ever heard Omar. It was on Common’s CD, ”Electric Circus”. FYI, “Electric Circus”, was one of the most underrated CD’s of all time and if you do not have that CD rush out to get it now.
The song that I loved on “Electric Circus” featuring Omar was entitled, “Heaven Somewhere”. That is one of the most beautiful songs you will ever hear in the world and also featured, Cee-Lo Green, Bilal, Jill Scott, Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu and Common’s father, Lonnie Lynn. You know that song is a winner with an artist listing like that. Omar was also featured on another song on that album entitled, “The Hustle”.
Omar is a very talented artist who was classically trained on the piano, trumpet and with the percussion instruments. Omar grew up in Canterbury, Kent and attended Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester as well as the Guildhall School of Music in London. Omar is described as the father of British Neo-Soul!
One of the things you will notice about this CD is that OMAR was allowed to be himself. That’s what is great about putting your music out on an independent label like Shanachie. Madison avenue would have not allowed OMAR the strong afro-centric alpha male look without assuming the product would scare off targeted demographic.
You can put this CD in and allow it to play without stopping. Although it will be categorized as an R&B CD after you listen to the album fully you will understand that it really has no genre.
Whenever I have a hard time categorizing a CD that usually lets me know that I am listening to a masterpiece.
Seriously though what else did you expect from Omar? The red sticker on the CD has a quote from Stevie Wonder that says, “When I grow up I wanna be like Omar”. The album also has features with Caron Wheeler from the legendary R&B group, “Soul II Soul” and Stuart Zender from one of my favorite groups, “Jamiroquai”.
The singe that Omar released on this CD is entitled, “The Man”. You can watch the video here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akZOy9t6GZQ
Omar has the chance to keep that sticking power. There are no gimmicks on this CD. There are no auto tuners on this CD. There are no fake fights in the media needed for promotion. There are no celebrity tie-ins or fancy product placements or mentions on this CD.
What this CD does contain are 13 fully produced masterpieces.
My favorite songs are, “Simplify”, “The Man”, Come on “Speak To Me”, and “High Heels”.
If you would like to check Omar’s CD out at a listening party email firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will get you an invite to the VIP only listening party held July 7 in the Chicagoland area.
On another note this is a CD that you can play in front of the whole family and not worry about language or suggestive lyrics. That is good to know as it is time to put the family in the car and take that summer vacation drive to the Wisconsin Dells, Disneyland, or wherever you will go with your loved ones.
All you have to do is pop the OMAR CD in and drive!
Just my thoughts man…