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I have my own sound and I'm very proud of that

Sat 24 Sep 2022

from 23:00

OMAR

LYE FOOK

THE KING OF BRITISH NEO-SOUL

Born October 14, 1968 in London [but raised in Canterbury], Omar hails from a decidedly musical family. 
Omar was considered a musical prodigy in his youth, at first following a classical path, playing trumpet, piano, bass guitar and percussion. A former principal percussionist of the Kent Youth Orchestra, he later studied at both Guildhall School Of Music in London – who recently awarded him an Honorary Doctorate - and Chetham’s in Manchester.

Omar’s first two singles were Mr Postman [1985] and You & Me [1988]. His 1990 debut album was the one containing the track that changed everything, There’s Nothing Like This. The slinky, sexy, Ohio Players-inspired ballad made the then 21-year-old an instant star on the UK soul scene. Both the reissued There’s Nothing Like This album and single rapidly made the UK top 20.

 

In 1991 came a second set, Music, a vastly more orchestral and organic affair that highlighted Omar’s maturing as a composer, arranger and vocalist. Aside from the memorable title song, standout tracks included the still widely requested Get To Know You Better and the brilliant duet with former Young Disciple, Carleen Anderson, Who Chooses The Seasons.

 

Soon thereafter, Omar was snapped up by major label RCA Records, for whom he cut two further albums. Each notched up acres of critical acclaim and introduced him to several of his musical heroes and heroines. 
On ‘94’s For Pleasure he worked alongside legendary former Motown producers Leon Ware and Lamont Dozier. The album contains some of Omar’s most enduringly popular songs, such as Saturday, Outside and the Erykah Badu endorsed Little Boy. 

 

For 1997’s This Is Not A Love Song he travelled to California to collaborate with LA-based producer David Frank [a.k.a. one half of The System], recording a superb cover of The Stranglers’ Golden Brown and duetting with one of his all-time favourite vocalists, Syreeta Wright, on two songs. By this time, the trademark Omar musical core – incorporating elements of soul, jazz, Latin American and Caribbean sounds – had established its creator as one of the standout UK artists of his generation: for many, both at home and abroad, he was seen as ‘The King Of British Neo-Soul’.

 

As the century turned, Omar moved on again, this time signing up with hip French imprint Naïve Records. In 2001, Omar released his fifth album, Best By Far. Once again, the star names turned out: the album version of Be Thankful, a re-cut of the 1972 William DeVaughn soul hit, featured Erykah Badu. MOBO winner Kele Le Roc supplied the strident lead on the anthemic groove, Come On.

Five years further on he cut Sing [If You Want It], a co-production with Scratch Professer that featured contributions from US rapper Common and soul star Angie Stone, plus UK artists Rodney P and Estelle. The project’s headline achievement, however, was the inclusion of the Stevie Wonder duet Feeling You - a major coup for any UK recording artist. 

 

Stevie had been a fan of Omar’s music since he’d first heard There’s Nothing Like This back in 1992 – the same year he promised to write Omar “his first number one.” A 14-year wait ended when, one day, Stevie called Omar out of the blue to tell him he was in London… and had brought just what he’d promised. One jam session later, the irrepressibly funky and melodic Feeling You, featuring Wonder on vocals and keyboards, was captured for posterity. 

 

In 2012, he was awarded an MBE ‘for services to the British Music Industry’ – a rare accolade for an artist never overtly focused on commercial or chart success. The trip to Buckingham Palace saw Omar collect his MBE from Prince Charles, who told him, “Do drop off a copy of your new album.”

The album arrived in 2013, and what a cracker it turned out to be. In fact, The Man was heralded by many as Omar’s strongest venture thus far, collaborations with keysman Daniel Fridell, Hidden Jazz Quartet and world renown bassist Pino Palladino adding to a collection that further evidenced the artist’s continued determination to evolve and expand his musical base. 

 

Omar bridged the gap to his eighth album with an array of side projects: he revived his Lovesong one-man stage play, made weekly appearances on Javon Prince’s BBC TV comedy show, recorded and performed alongside fellow UK soulsters Junior Giscombe, Noel McKoy, Don-E and Leee John as The British Collective, and famously supported Stevie Wonder at 2016’s epic Hyde Park open-air concert. 

 

When Love In Beats finally hit the stores in 2017, it featured a staggering array of guest talent. In one of his final collaborations, US soul legend Leon Ware co-wrote and sang on Gave My Heart, jazz pianist Robert Glasper and rapper Ty both appeared on the soundtrack Vicky’s Tune, with input from Guadeloupe-born singer Jean-Michele Rotin, UK soulstress Natasha Watts, The Floacist and Mayra Andrade. 

In a busy 12 months, Omar also recorded, co-wrote and toured with British jazz legend Courtney Pine on his Black Notes From The Deep project.

 

Omar is very pleased to perform in Marbella in September 2022 at Joys Live in Puerto Banus and also in Mijas Costa at the well-known beach club Max Beach

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