By ABBY ROSE NOTARNICOLA//Embed from Getty Images
Omar Apollo is currently one of my favorite artists. The 23 year old singer-songwriter’s retro-indie and R&B sound has been the soundtrack to my life ever since I first heard Ugotme in 2017. Since then, he has released a number of songs I’ve listened to on repeat– Unbothered, Erase, Trouble, Ashamed, Stayback, Kamikaze, and Hit Me Up– and a new album called Apolonio which has easily taken the cake for my favorite album of 2020. Though his sound has evolved slightly from his first single to his most recent release, his laid back, tender style has remained consistent. Each song incorporates a slow beat, jazzy guitar riff and drawn out vocals, creating the kind of music that melds with the quiet, calming moments of the day, making you susceptible to feeling exactly what he is feeling. His music pairs perfectly with a dazed, early morning walk, an intimate dimly lit dinner or a midnight metro ride. What adds to the impact of his sound is the substance of his lyrics, touching on topics of love, self-perception, relationships and gender fluidity. His talent is evident in his narratives as well as the instrumental backdrop he uses to present them. I would recommend his music to anyone who enjoys artists like Cautious Clay, Mac Ayres, Bruno Major and Brent Faiyaz, though he stands out uniquely among them.
Omar Apollo grew up in Indiana and was raised by two parents who immigrated from Guadalajara, Mexico. Discovering a passion for music, Omar taught himself how to play guitar and sing by watching Youtube videos and attending church. Labeled as a “spotify-grown star”, his career started after uploading “UgotMe” to spotify, where it was featured on Spotify’s “Fresh Finds” playlist the following day. From the popularity of this indie-pop ballad, it became clear that what draws people to his music is his vulnerability. Omar credits the emotional intensity of his music in part to Mexican musicians he listened to growing up, crafting bilingual songs and soulful corridos that have claimed him a spot in the current Latinx music movement, as well as from his experience with lingering heartbreak. Both of these influences fuse together to form a perfect pair, producing a one of a kind sound that separates him from the typical indie artists of today.
As for recent news, Omar Apollo has signed a deal with Warner Records and had spent the last two years touring before Covid-19 brought it to a halt. Over quarantine in Los Angeles, he wrote and released Apolonio, and is currently finishing up recording at New York’s Electric Lady Studios for his first official debut LP, which is set to release this year. As for updates on his personal life, Omar opened up about his gender fluidity in a recent article from the LA Times, explaining how he will wear a dress if he wants to wear a dress, and that people may not like his music, or the color of his nails, but all he can do is be true to himself. Endorsing this kind of message, Omar has received much praise from fans who find comfort in his fearless self-expression.
As for what to expect in the future, there is no doubt Omar Apollo will gain popularity in the indie music world, and attain recognition as a progressive Mexican-American musical influence. The time is NOW to get just as obsessed with him as I am, and you can start by checking out my Spotify playlist and the links below 🙂
Here is the link to a playlist I made that introduces you to all his music:
And to learn more about Omar Apollo, check out these links!
- Meet Omar Apollo, the blue-haired, gender-rebellious, Mexican American Prince (Los Angeles Times)
- Omar Apollo Wants to Inspire Young Latinx Musicians to ‘Go Crazy’ (Rolling Stone)
- Get to Know Omar Apollo and His First-Generation Love Songs (Pitchfork)
Recent Live Performance: Alive from Death Valley (Quarantine Performance)