Omar Apollo - Apolonio
For the first time in his brief career, the triple-threat singer is running on more than just potential. On his latest project, he brings youthful charm, optimism, and curiosity to his most fully realized work yet. – Pitchfork (7.2)
In just a few years time, Omar Apollo has gone from teenage strummer to one of the most hotly-tipped R&B artists of his generation. Raised on a steady diet of legends ranging from Brandy and Musiq Soulchild to Prince and Stevie Wonder, the Indiana-raised Mexican-American singer-songwriter picked up a guitar at the age of 11 and never looked back. Learning to play and create in the age of SoundCloud and YouTube, he absorbed his influences both contemporary and classic alike while navigating a variety of genres and styles.
By the time Apollo turned 18, he’d begun uploading his songs to streaming platforms, having fun creating but still not entirely sure about pursuing a career in music. That all changed with “Ugotme,” a breakout single fueled by a chance playlist inclusion that grew his fanbase rapidly, the quintessential modern-day music business come-up. That success prompted him to keep honing his craft, resulting in a pair of EPs Stereo (2018) and Friends (2019) that demonstrated his 90s-inspired, subtly bluesy, and occasionally bilingual approach to bedroom soul. Critics swiftly recognized Apollo’s artistry and star potential, with Pitchfork praising him in their exclusive Rising series and Rolling Stone dubbing him an Artist You Need To Know. YouTube went so far as to include him in their Foundry program, the curated new artist talent incubator that previously introduced today’s hitmakers Dua Lipa and Rosalía back when they were still up-and-comers.
After two back-to-back sold-out headlining tours, memorable festival appearances at Camp Flog Gnaw and Lollapalooza, and a network television debut on Late Night with Seth Meyers, the now 22-year-old Apollo has transitioned from the freeform D.I.Y. creativity of those beloved earlier records towards a more focused development of his sound. He’s making deeper connections between his music and his Latin roots while laboring over each song in ways he never would’ve before. Part redefinition, part enhancement, the autobiographical new material he’s been working on for his upcoming projects promises to bring him to another level in his career.
Like the deep atmospheric grooves of “Frío,” his first fully Spanish-language single, and the jazzy falsetto funk of “Hit Me Up,” Apollo’s newest track “Imagine U” comes in collaboration with Kenny Beats, the highly in-demand producer who’s worked with everyone from DaBaby to Ed Sheeran. The instantly catchy cut not only captures perfectly what drew listeners to his music in the first place but represents just how much his dedication to the studio process has brought out the best in his inherently gifted songwriting.