Omar Apollo: «What happened in Palestine is a genocide, and we artists are here to speak out on things like that»

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Omar Apollo: «What happened in Palestine is a genocide, and we artists are here to speak out on things like that»

Omar Apollo has been having more and more influence, and his audience has not stopped growing since he published ‘Ugotme’ in 2017 (with an “urban legend” that, as he confirms in this interview, is not such). We were able to chat with him while passing through Primavera Sound with the intention of finding out what he brings us in ‘God Said No’, his second full-length. The truth is that the talk was a bit strange, we suppose it was a consequence of those slots in which several journalists come in a row without time to form a bond with any of them.

At some moments, Omar did seem comfortable and even made a joke, but at other times, he was distracted watching the concert that was taking place a few meters away (Ethel Cain, we can’t blame him either) or even looking at his cell phone, he rambled on in the answers or In short, it seemed like he didn’t really know what he was proposing with his new album. Let’s hope that its launch this June 28 will change our minds. Meanwhile, in this talk he gives us some details about ‘God Said No’, while we ask him about other topics such as collaborations, the #1 of ‘The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill’ on the Apple Music chart (one of his favorite albums) or the commitment/pressure of artists in the face of Israel’s genocide in Palestine.

We start by talking about how two of her favorite albums, ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’ and ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’, are in high positions (Lauryn’s directly #1) on the aforementioned list: “(“The Miseducation” ) is a great album, I talk to artists all the time, and many of them love that album… the position corresponds to the current moment, it is a very 2024 opinion.”

Omar has an anecdote similar to that of Madonna and her $35 when it comes to starting out in music and, far from being an urban legend, he confirms it: “I was uploading free music to Soundcloud for a year, maybe less, and a friend It convinced me to also upload to Spotify. I told him I didn’t know and he told me he would teach me, which cost 30 dollars. I told him he didn’t have any, so he sent it to me through CashApp, and I uploaded it. And, over time, I was able to pay him back.” Also over time, that Omar won over critics with ‘Ivory’, his first full-length, which he even discarded to start the album again, something that he claims has not happened to him here, “he was quite sure from the beginning, he had a lot of confidence in the composition and in my voice.”

However, although we notice that self-confidence, we do not see it when it comes to defending the ideas of his album. When asked if the title (‘God Said No’) implies that there is a presence of religion in the lyrics, he tells us that he is not a religious person (“I believe in God, but not in religions”), and, later After clarifying that we are referring to the lyrics, not him, he tells us that he simply “liked” the title because “it looked good.” And a bit the same with the cover: “I only took the photo that I liked the most.”

By tightening the screws a little we managed to obtain that “well, the back cover is like a smaller version of me and the cover is wearing very expensive earrings, without a shirt underneath, it is like a reflection of how my music has changed.” All this while he is amazed by Ethel Cain’s performance, to the point of interrupting our next question to comment that Ethel is wearing a t-shirt that says “Palestine.” The latter leads us to ask her if she feels that artists have pressure not to take a position with what is happening: “whoever has pressure is perhaps stupid. Because it’s a bit obvious: it’s genocide, come on! And if we are artists it is also to speak out on things like that…” he tells us before looking back at Ethel.

We earned it a little when we discovered that one of the special editions of his album includes a condom as a gift with the title printed on it (remember, ‘God Said No’): “that was my idea,” he tells me, laughing. , “I thought it was very funny, when I was little they told me not to have premarital relations, so I thought it was funny that that phrase appeared on a condom.” But we lose him again when he asks about collaborations (they liked the ones he has with Kali Uchis, and in ‘God Said No’ there is another one with Mustafa): “I don’t have in mind doing more collaborations, I already have the people I love in my life “, he says firmly, “I don’t look at a collaboration as something commercial, but as something artistic, I believe that you have to have a very close relationship with an artist to collaborate with him, to be friends. Unless they give me a lot of money.”

It is inevitable, and even more so with that last sentence, to ask him about his collaboration with C. Tangana (when ‘Te Olvidaste’ came out, they didn’t know each other at all): “well, I haven’t heard from him in a long time, I hope he’s okay… I like him.” all the music he is releasing,” he tells us about the author of ‘Estrecho/Alvarado’. Any other Spanish artists you like? “I really liked BB Trickz, he performed yesterday.”

Little is known about the new album, and Omar does not give a word either, although he does comment on his favorite songs (‘Driftin’, ‘Glow’, ‘Whiie U Can’ and ‘Less Of You’), and confirms that Pedro Pascal “ is” in ‘Pedro’, about which there has been so much speculation these weeks. Do you wonder which way he “is”? Me too, but “I prefer to wait for him to come out, and not say it before… I asked him to do something,” he tells us of the ‘The Last Of Us’ actor. Omar has not seen ‘Strange Way of Life’, but he really wants to, because “I love Pedro Almodóvar.”

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Simon Müller

Simon Müller is the driving force behind UMusic, embodying a lifelong passion for all things melodious. Born and raised in New York, his love for music took form at an early age and fueled his journey from an avid music enthusiast to the founder of a leading music-centered website. Simon's diverse musical tastes and intrinsic understanding of acoustic elements offer a unique perspective to the UMusic community. Sporting a dedicated commitment to aural enrichment and hearing health, his vision extends beyond just delivering news - he aspires to create a network of informed, appreciative music lovers. Spend a moment in Mueller's company, and you'd find his passion infectious – music isn’t simply his job, it’s his heartbeat.