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Thursday, December 16, 2010

WBM Features: Omar Charles

Music is a manifestation of love... If you are touched by music you are
touched by love in a very pure way.
-Pepe Romero

To many people, many things matter. However, to this young, bright and very talented producer from Toronto, Canada, one thing matters most-- Music. And as our next WBM Feature, you have the wonderful opportunity to see why music has so much significance in his world.

With some time to understand the mind of one looking to make impact with his works, Omar Charles has a great deal to say, a very interesting perspective and grasp of what he plans to make most of his endeavor as an aspiring producer.

Travel with Omar as he moves you with his words in a fashion much like how he does with his music.

[As Told To Why Blue Matters]

Who is Omar Charles?

Omar Charles is an 18 year old who is looking to express himself to his fullest potential in creative ways, at least that is who I believe I am [laughs].

Where are you from?

OC: I usually tell people Toronto! (However, I was born in Grenada).


OC: Music is definitely my main interest and has been since I was around 13, however, I also like to blog ( I've been discovering more and more interests as I discover more people who are doing unique things in creative fields, so recently I've also taken an interest in photography (more specifically, lomography) and I've been fostering a growing curiosity about fashion since the age of 16.

What does music mean to you?

OC: "Music ain't just the world; it’s the universe to me". That’s something I wrote in a song by the way.

How long have you been involved?

OC: I've been involved in musical endeavors for about 5-6 years now.

When did you know that music was something that you wanted to pursue?

OC: Well I had played around with the concept of that for a few years and still did up until recently, so I suppose about 7 months ago I started to lean towards the idea of pursuing this as a serious career and not just a hobby that I didn't do anything with.

Do you play any instruments?

OC: I took up the guitar at the age of 16 in an attempt to substitute for a lack of access to a keyboard. I've been self-teaching myself ever since.

What inspires and motivates you?

OC: Musically, I get inspired and motivated by other producers...kind of in a competitive way. I'll hear something that I really like and think "wow, I've got to step it up" or "I really need to practice and learn how to do what they do". For example, one of my top 3 favorite producers, Ryan Leslie has all these videos up of him producing songs in studios and the energy you can observe from him and his music just radiates. It tells me that I can do this producing thing as long as I work REALLY hard at it, perpetually learn about the business and build connections.

Beats that I don't think are that great also have a similar affect. Few things make me want to produce more than beats that I think I can do better than (I know that sounds cocky and egotistic but I'm really not that kind of person, it’s just my competitive spirit).

I'm also really inspired simply by life. Just like how an artist can see something that gives them a vision or a feeling that they need to write about or put on a canvas, things that I see, hear and experience evoke emotions that I try to translate into instrumentals.

What producers do you look up to?

OC: J Dilla (had an amazing way with samples and capturing that rugged or smooth sound)

9th Wonder (Has one of the best ears for samples I've ever seen and was part of a group that fuels my love for hip hop)

Ryan Leslie (Not only is his music impressive, but his career and life as a whole is just something else. Major inspiration)

Pharrell Williams/N.E.R.D. (Creatively out of this galaxy in my opinion and philosophically a genius)

Afta-1 (He chooses the most unlikely sounds and instruments and constructs some truly amazing patterns and sequences. Love Is Real.)

Your production is impressive, what goes into the creation of your songs?

OC: I appreciate the compliment. My songs kind of come about in an odd fashion. Sometimes I'll just be playing around with sequences and samples when I make a song but then something will catch my attention and instantly a brand new idea for a pattern (or sometimes a completely finished instrumental) will pop into my head and I'll try to put it down. Honestly though, that is a process that could repeat itself perpetually until I come up with a song that I think is worth finishing. Other times I might just be humming a pattern or beat boxing something to myself and as I try to create what I've thought of, all the little details (percussion, riffs, extra melodies) will just come to me.

What program do you use?

OC: I've been using Fl Studio for a while. I just recently got the 9th edition. I plan to make a move to Reason and/or Pro Tools VERY soon though.

Working on any new projects?

OC: As of late I've been doing A LOT of production for a young Toronto rapper who goes by the name of Rob G.F.. He's incredibly dope and has a LOT of potential (I don't say that just because I produce for him either). He'll be releasing many mixtapes and you'll find most of my production strewn across them.

I'm also trying to put together a beattape that I plan to submit to MTV so they can have some free music for their shows. I think it’ll be a great opportunity to showcase my skills.

Lastly, since I was originally just a writer when I discovered my passion for music 5 years ago, I have tons of raps…like at least 4-5 years of 16+ bar verses, and I’m still an avid writer to this day. Because of that, the idea of releasing my own little lyrical showcase mixtape has been floating around, however I highly doubt that will come into fruition. I don’t wanna be a rapper. I would like to get into professional songwriting (or verse writing as I like to call it).

What are your thoughts on your success?

OC: So far I'm not quite sure what to make of doesn't even really feel like least not yet. I feel like I'm making progress but really I see everything that’s happening as a baby step towards a bigger goal. When I reach that goal, THAT is when I'll feel like I've achieved some real success.

Biggest Accomplishment?

OC: There are three that are tied for that title. The first accomplishment was a personal one, where I got the courage to go to a music industry conference almost 2 years ago for the first time all by myself. It was mad intimidating cause I was all alone, na├»ve (more than I am now) and surrounded by people who seemed establish and were sure that they wanted to do music. I’m REALLY proud of myself for doing it though. The second one would be having a music video shot for one of my beats (which can be found after this interview) at such a young age. Back in August , Rob G.F. shot a music video for “The Lowlights”. I know there are probably a quite a few producers younger than me that have accomplished this (probably multiple times) but I still feel that having something like that under belt before I even hit 20 years old is big. Lastly I scored a track on T.City ‘s debut mixtape “Olde English” which is an INCREDIBLY dope project T.City's Olde English Mixtape

What type of impact would you like to make with your music?

OC: With my music, I wanna do what others have done for me with theirs. Inspire people, give them something to listen to for whatever mood they feel. I don’t just want my music to feel like instruments, synths and samples all tied nicely together, I want it to feel like LIFE MUSIC.

Who have you worked with so far?

OC: Rob G.F. T.City, Tristian Corbin, Only Da Greatest (duo) and J.Bee. That’s the list so far.

Any anyone you like to work with in the future?

OC: Tons of artists. I’ve been trying to get beats to the likes of, Redway The Rapper Guy, Erik Flowchild, WolF J Mcfarlane, Curren$y (and the jets), Soulja Boy, Lil B and Mac Miller. I also have a beat waiting for The Cool Kids and I want to get a track out to Luu Breeze

What's next for Omar Charles?

OC: Life is so unpredictable so I’m not too sure, however, if things go swell within the next few months, you’ll be hearing MUCH MORE of my work.

Any advice for those looking to pursue their aspirations in music?

OC: One extremely important thing . Learn about the business. This is probably even more important than the music itself depending on how far you want to with it. If you produce, have a portfolio/track record before you even THINK about selling beats unless you have some kind of connection that permits that. If you are an artist WRITE AND PERFORM your @$$ off, especially the latter of those two. An internet buzz is nice, but its just that, an internet buzz. You need to show your face on stage if you really want respect and recognition (plus, you’ll make some nice pocket change once you really get into it, so all the more incentive to start rockin’ shows).

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