Omar Christopher Lye-Fook, known professionally as Omar, is an internationally acclaimed and exceptional soul singer, songwriter and musician, who has been praised by the likes of Maxwell, Erykah Badu and Stevie Wonder. Stevie Wonder actually wrote him a song which they recorded together as a duet 15 years later.
Omar was born on 14th October 1968 in London. His father, Byron Lye-Fook was a studio musician and drummer who worked with reggae legends Bob Marley and Horace Andy, as well as the Rolling Stones. At age five, Omar was already learning how to play the drums. During his school years, he completed formal training in piano, trumpet/coronet, and other percussion instruments. He also spent two years at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, and the Guildhall School of Music in London. Recording for his father's Kongo label, Omar debuted in 1985 with the single "Mr. Postman" at age 16. He shot to fame in 1991 with his single "There’s Nothing Like This". It reached number 14 in the UK Singles Chart.
In the 1990s, He recorded the albums There's Nothig Like This, Music, For Pleasure and This is Not a Love Song in and towards the end of that decade moved on to major-label RCA. When he parted ways with the label, Omar constructed his own studio and established the record label Blunt Music. He released Sing (If you want it) in 2006. Omar received the Best Neo-soul Act and Outstanding Achievement Awards at the Urban Music Awards, which acknowledges urban music artists around the globe. He was also appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2012. The next year, he released The Man and in 2017 Love In Beats on the Freestyle label, which took three years to make with the collaboration of his baby brother, known professionaly as Scratch Professor (aka Roland). Roland is a Grammy Winning producer, remixer and DJ.
Omar's voice is extra soulful and distinctive although he hated the sound of his voice when he first started performing. He is now described by some as the father of British Neo soul. However, Omar knows no musical boundaries.His influences are wide and varied, including ragga, hip-hop, funk, jazz-pop, rock, and Latin/Caribbean music.
More recently, before the pandemic, Omar was awarded the Music Honour at the Black Magic Awards 2019 at the Criterion Theatre in the heart of London.
Watch his interview and his word of advice for upcoming artists.