OMI: “I wish I knew beforehand how unrealistic the expectations of some people would be”

I wish someone had told me that all my other passions and ideas could have coexisted with my music career, so many artists have now diversified in their brand and streams of income. Let this be a reality check for all young up and coming artists who only see this fictitious representation of what the […]

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I wish someone had told me that all my other passions and ideas could have coexisted with my music career, so many artists have now diversified in their brand and streams of income. Let this be a reality check for all young up and coming artists who only see this fictitious representation of what the lifestyle and the culture really is.


As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing OMI​.

OMI​ established himself as an international artist to watch through a string of viral releases, including his world renowned single “​Cheerleader​,” which spent six nonconsecutive weeks at ​№1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart​, went​ 5x Platinum​, and garnered over 4 million Spotify weekly streams. The music video for the ​Felix Jaehn​ remix alone has accumulated almost 9​50 million YouTube streams​ to date, numbers comparable to those of international superstars. He’s performed on ​The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,​ ​Good Morning America​, a​nd ​America’s Got Talent​ ​ — and that’s just in the U.S. The worldwide success of “​Cheerleader”​ earned ​OMI ​collaborations with ​The Vamps​ (“​I Found a Girl​”),​ Shaggy ​(“​Seasons​”), and ​Marcus & Martinus​ (“​Never​”) in the years that followed. In 2018, he reunited with German producer ​Felix Jaehn​ for their single “​Masterpiece​,” which has accumulated 36+ million streams on Spotify. The uptempo, summery track encourages women to find beauty in themselves as they are, in a digital age that often pushes the other way.

In the years that have passed since releasing “​Cheerleader​” and his debut full-length album ‘​Me 4 U​,’ OMI has recharged his body, mind, and soul by spending time with family in Jamaica. He’s also been honing in on his craft — growing as a singer, songwriter, and performer. Now, he’s ready to begin his next chapter. With​ 5+ Million Monthly listeners​ and more than a ​BILLION Streams​, OMI is pleased to release this second look off his upcoming album — a project that will fuse elements of Pop, Reggae, and Dancehall and showcase OMI’s continuous progression as an artist.https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/dc1672c2008c015d262828016629aa07


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series OMI! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

First let me say thank you for reaching out, I was born in Jamaica in a town called May Pen, Clarendon. I spent most of my childhood moving from place to place with my family but finally we settled in my birthplace in a one room shack. Even though I had such a humble beginning, as the last of four children I’d always had the ambition to end the cycle of poverty which existed in my family. My dad was a major influence in my decision to become an artist since he was also a singer/songwriter himself, I however, lost my dad at the age of nine to a rare blood poisoning. We went through many hardships but my mom did the best she could to raise me to be the man I am today. Maybe one day I’ll write a book with the full details but for now I’m trying to keep it short and sweet. LOL

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

The reason why I chose this specific career path was because I discovered at the age of 14 that I had the ability to write songs and I just continued to fuel my passion with discipline and dedication.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

The most interesting story that happened to me since I began my career is the story of how I met Clifton “Specialist” Dillon who assumed the role of a father figure after experiencing the void of not having one for so many years.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The funniest mistake I made when I was just starting would be the time I went out on stage and started to sing not realizing there was no mic in the mic stand. The lesson I’ve learned from that experience is never leave your mic unattended.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I would love to share but my ultimate plan was to let it be a surprise to my fans. (Wink)

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

1) I think in the world of entertainment both music and film it is a portrayal of real life, and if this is so then it is very important for us to be relatable to everyone.

2) I see us as not just entertainers but educators therefore our influence is highly impactful.

3) Seeing someone become successful in music or film who looks like you, shared similar experiences but is now able to live that dream lifestyle might motivate you to unlock your true potential.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

In a nutshell, I wish I had the privilege of knowing that the idea of me having money and fame would have negatively affected the relationships I’ve built with some of the people who were dear to my heart.

I wish I knew beforehand how unrealistic the expectations of some people would be.

I wish someone had told me how thick my skin had to be in order to survive the harsh criticisms of the public.

I wish someone had told me how overrated being famous is as I’ve now come to realize that being impactful is far greater an accomplishment, half the people singing my songs don’t even know what I look like because I pass them everyday and trust me I don’t mind.

Lastly, I wish someone had told me that all my other passions and ideas could have coexisted with my music career, so many artists have now diversified in their brand and streams of income. Let this be a reality check for all young up and coming artists who only see this fictitious representation of what the lifestyle and the culture really is.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

A few tips I would give to my colleagues in the industry is to first wake up and realize the mistakes of those who were before you

2) Being controversial does nothing for you if you’re not going to use it to build your brand and make yourself marketable in any capacity, otherwise you’re clowning yourself for free entertainment.

3) The idea of “securing the bag” is not about how much you flash on social media but how much you’re really about building generational wealth.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

My perception of what the game is would have changed over the years of being in the industry, and what I’ve realized is that all the major decisions in this life are made by people of power and influence. Power and influence comes from the ideas one is able to cultivate within themselves and then presenting it to the rest of the world changing it for the better. If we were able to nurture this concept within our children and motivate them to be creators and inventors instead of just going to college to get a great job, then we would have a faster advancing race and become witnesses to a lot more wonders and breakthroughs in our lifetime.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Well I always start off by giving thanks to the most high God, other than HIM I owe a great deal to Mr. Clifton “Specialist” Dillon, he has managed my career since the start and has been a father and a mentor. The story regarding how we met is going to be in his book, but I will say this much, how it happened could not have happened any other way. Lol

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favorite life lesson quote is actually from a Specialist, he always says “ gum on the way up, grease on the way down”. This is relevant to my life because it’s oftentimes very difficult to attain success in this business but it’s so easy to lose it all in the blink of an eye.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I’ve always been a big fan and admirer of the man himself Mr. Dave Chapelle, as I’ve always loved his stand up comedy, I still watch all his old materials. The thing about a stand up comic is there is always that uncomfortable truth in their materials yet if you possess the right charisma, you can get everyone to listen or even accept it. There’s so much to learn from having a conversation with someone like him plus… that’s a free meal damn it!!!. LOL

How can our readers follow you online?

Answer 13.

The readers can chat with me on my Instagram @omi

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

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