Omar Apollo is an anomaly in that he’s done something most people only dream of: He’s achieved the American Dream. The son of Mexican immigrants, Apollo, 22, established himself as one of pop music’s most intriguing up-and-comers even before landing a record deal with Kobalt Music Group. Back in 2017, the Indiana-born crooner grew an impressive fanbase by self-releasing a series of singles and EPs that eventually garnered millions of streams.

It’s only gotten better from there.

In 2019, he released his major studio LP, collaborated with notorious producer Kenny Beats and solidified his come up by performing an electric “Late Night” set that combined all the best parts of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Elvis, and Childish Gambino. You can tell he savors every moment during his televised jaunt; the small-town kid from the Midwest shakes his hips in front of millions of viewers like this was all he was meant for.

It feels like the “big break” every kid dreams about while playing air guitar in their bedroom.

"Not only does his diverse catalog speak to his particular identity, but it also realizes the multitude of influences on his sound. At his core, Apollo is a singer-songwriter."

But forget how this story has the trappings of some forced, cinematic narrative of rags to riches: Apollo is without a doubt one of the most intriguing young stars in popular music. Much like his fellow Gen Z contemporaries in Clairo, Cuco and Phoebe Bridgers, Apollo radiates a kind of quiet confidence that makes him feel tangible and approachable. He’s far from the overly curated, highly branded pop acts that have infested your Tumblr and Instagram feed.

Far from it, Apollo’s working-class, Latinx roots are strikingly apparent in his music. Look closer, beyond his jazz-inspired, funkadelic ballads: songs like “Frío” feel like a dreamy ode to the infectious sounds of reggaeton radio, while Apollo’s early single “Brake Lights” compares his heartbreak to owning a crappy used car.

Not only does his diverse catalog speak to his particular identity, but it also realizes the multitude of influences on his sound. At his core, Apollo is a singer-songwriter. The tracks that put him on the radar, “Ugotme” and “Erase,” are timeless references (with a modern twist, of course) to the mid-century blues and jazz singers of yore. “Times you take my breath away, I’m so in love with you, now just passing the time, waiting longer for you,” he yearns on “Ugotme.”

Apollo’s impressive combination of R&B, funk, jazz and pop is both refreshing and historical; a duality that is compounded by the way his vocal harmonies and pensive guitar licks ebb and flow with graceful balance. He’s an exciting act with a great story … a story that is only just hitting its first act.

Don’t miss Apollo coming to town next week performing live at Brooklyn Steel Thursday, December 12.

Get Tickets to See Omar Apollo Live at Brooklyn Steel Here


Share: