My.Kali’s exploratory action: Omar-probed!
“Yes! Everyone does! And if they don’t, they need therapy!” he says, a one’s notification on shadow-dancing, and yes, he does dance crazy when no one’s looking! When you think of Omar Afuni, you can’t help but to imagine him as a person, who wakes up in the middle of the night, walks around in loony-toons pajama bottoms, opens the fridge, drinks milk right from the cart and, yes again, dances when no one’s around! But isn’t that the real Omar anyways? He set to step forward in a new light with a new confidence and maturity. My.Kali salutes a truly super guy…
Haven’t we been yearning for music, creativity, just a teensy-bit? Well, if you don’t know Omar yet, you’ll certainly know his music, a guy who we read about all the time, in-on stand magazines, up-coming artists, shows and gigs… YouTube anyone? And as Omar unfolds, there’s a whole new album in it for us, up-beat, Dance and groove… and a new vista of languid gorgeousness. However, is he good in being recognized? People usually stop him at the mall to tell him how much they appreciate his work.
Omar has came a long way since his 2007 radio-hits ‘Rainy Days (might’ve said goodbye)’ and ‘Separate Ways’ in Jordan, he has graduated with a degree in civil engineering, moved to Kuwait and now works the field of his study, something as he called it to “pay the bills”, something to “please his father” and something a singer may shy-away from. “Unfortunately, people who choose to be musicians in our society commit social and financial suicide because no one respects them” Omar has confessed to OC magazine earlier, but that’s a confession doomed by its owner’s future, just like his name’s aspect, flourishing! His family has been upping their support toward what he’s doing, and he himself has faced the ups and downs of their moody support, what? Should he keep his talent within discretion? “My dad is actually supportive of me. My mom is more supportive though because she understands my passion for music and art. My dad doesn’t get ‘it’, but he supports my goals. I had to hide my talent when I was a kid because I always sang so loudly and didn’t want to annoy him after a long day at work!” he says, “My family is very encouraging emotionally, they give me the emotional security and reassurance that I need.”
In his mid-20s, Omar is a music and show-biz veteran. It’s a known fact that his uncle has bought him an electronic Casio keyboard when he was five. His mother took notice of his talent at a tender age. He also participated in the 2006 Karaoke World Championship of 10-weeks of which he won. And as I lay there going through his interview and reading other features of him, I noticed how this guy is attached to his childhood, to his mother’s love, and of that he had no reason not to “I have lots of happy memories with her, I cherish our memories when I was a kid mostly, when she’d come every day after work with a toy in hand… All the times we traveled, the amazing surprises she’d do for me and my brother on birthdays and Christmas. I have the best mom in the whole world.” But is it by any chance that his childhood is within repression? Omar wasn’t the best kid to holler around in the playground, and he wasn’t the best of the cool then “My school experience was disastrous after 4th grade, before that it was actually awesome. I was the first guy in class to suddenly become 5 ft 11, grow facial hair and get acne! In spite of all that, I was the last guy in the whole school whose voice broke! So naturally, I was bullied. I’ve been called names and made fun of, especially when I oh-so-wisely told people I wanted to be a pop star” he recalls.
But wait a minute, we are more cautious about this guy now, more concluded, Omar is what a goody-goody gagged up to be! We’re fooled and not so much by all means, and still, a straight-A student, a guy whose most trouble he ever gotten into is probably being late to work (a few times maybe), a guy who doesn’t know what ‘NO’ really is! And he seems happily resigned to his reputation as a bit of a goody-two-shoes. Worst habits? “Mmm not having the power to say ‘no’. Even if I can’t do something, I could never say ‘no’ to someone if they asked me for it. Then I end up overworking myself and doing something I didn’t want to do in the first place so the other person won’t be hurt. I also have the awful habit of planning my day and not sticking to my plan. I hate that!” he says “I think I have a bit of OCD too. I can’t do anything unless it’s perfectly done and there’s no such thing as perfect. I try to remind myself of that whenever I get in this obsessive mood. I like things to be neat and clean and done the proper way. Like, for example, you’d never find me outrageously eating something that doesn’t match with another type of food. See, I just described mixing two types of food as ‘outrageous’. How sad am I?!” However, does Omar ever get his ‘bitch-mode’ on? Does the guy even have one? “Well, I don’t have an evil side, that’s for sure! However, I am a moody person and I change moods so quickly you’d think I was schizophrenic. That’s probably one of my worst flaws, because even if I like someone a lot, I end up being a jerk unintentionally” he says, “I try not to call anyone when I have a bad day, I usually just let it out on my Twitter or Tumblr. I have a venting session!”
“My school experience was disastrous… I was the first boy in class to suddenly become 5ft 11, grow facial hair and get acne… I’ve been called names and made fun of, especially when I told people I wanted to be a pop star”
He always seems to be determinedly grounding himself, there is no diva in that guy, and we like the fact that he has a point of view over his whole life, and the word is wholesome. He’ll jump into a project and gives it his all, committed is another form of his being! The in-winter review had set off, we had gone through one of the exclusive sittings of his new album, listening to the tracks that promises a return to form! Omar has dedicated the past year to produce his latest album ‘Resurrected’ of which he wrote and composed all of the songs, where he mixed several genres from dance and R&B to electronic and pop, allowing everybody to step into different aspects of different sides of him, aside from the usual pop (modern and old), jazz, soul and blues he usually plays. Songs like ‘200 BPM’ and ‘puppet show’ are postmodern sounds that are beat-driven balladry, and song ‘Where I can dance’ is feverishly-hot. Let battle commence! “My album is a pop record that talks about the past 3 years of my life. I let my emotions run free on my album, you’ll find that most of the songs seem to have a negative message when in fact they’re talking about healing and positivity” he says, as it is his first album as a producer, where Omar got to be the boss of himself “I’m very excited for everyone to hear my production! This is the first time that I felt I was in control of my music, saying and singing whatever I wanted the way I wanted without some so-called producer bossing me around and limiting my creativity.”
“I draw inspiration from my own personal experiences, experiences of friends, people with a story, nature and art. You know what? Inspiration knows no boundaries and I could really be inspired by a box of tissues, but I usually am inspired by my experiences because I’m very passionate about them. The best part about the writing process is the therapeutic part of it. It’s such a great form of release and expression.”
On reflection, he thinks his childhood has its haven of repressed memories, sheltered by an outspoken past that was heading toward a miss-guided future, transparent and not translucent, but what is Omar really resurrecting from? “All my life since I was a little kid, I always thought of myself as a musician until I graduated from university and started to work as a civil engineer. The excruciating aspects of my job and the super long hours distracted me from music and took over my life” he said, “At one point I woke up and thought: ‘this is not for me, this is not what I wanted my life to be like’. I was so miserable and realized that it was because I had neglected music. I felt dead. With this album, I am fully embracing my true identity again, and being myself for the first time in years doing what I love to do and what I’m best at.” He says. These are surprisingly mature reflections from someone so chaotically up-heaving to managing his life within order. And what of life outside this quaintly domestic idyll? Does he kiss his stuffed animals’ goodnight?! “I had a super cute purple elephant called Shinkar after the Egyptian actress Hahaha!” Omar confesses, “I’m such a big kid! And in case you were wondering, I’d be best friends with Bugs Bunny!” he says. And it’s right there, his creative gang of confidence that gives it away, he’s warm but also hazy, charming but inconclusive, lovely to look at but murky.
And as this feature sets for its horizon, it occurs to us, he’s a voice of many pains, a voice of many loves, and a voice of many people… and it makes us feel that his music is reaching where it’s suppose to reach, affect what it’s supposed to affect and doing what it’s supposed to do, and it’s bigger than radio. We feel his strength and he senses our pride, a true Middle Eastern super guy with his arming super music. We believe Omar has yet to rise from his sheath.
The Album ‘Resurrected’ will be released this January 2011 for free-download for a limited time and will be available everywhere online (iTunes, Amazon, Napster, Spotify, Nokia) “…and I hope everyone enjoys it!” Follow Omar on your favorite network through his official website to be notified when the album is available. Click (here>)