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Omar Lye-Fook will prove he is 'The Man' at the Jazz Cafe

PUBLISHED: 17:32 19 June 2013 | UPDATED: 13:12 20 June 2013

Omar will be showcasing his album at the Jazz Cafe on June 27 and 28

Omar will be showcasing his album at the Jazz Cafe on June 27 and 28

Archant

Singer songwriter will be showcasing his new album next week

Come and hear Omar’s new album

Omar will be showcasing his new album ‘The Man’ at the Jazz Café, Parkway, Camden, on June 27 and 28.

For more information and to buy tickets visit http://mamacolive.com/thejazzcafe/listings/

The Man is released on June 24.

Omar Lye-Fook is undoubtedly one of Britain’s most talented soul singer songwriters.

If you disagree ask The Queen as she awarded him an MBE for his services to the music industry.

The 44-year-old was born to become a musician as his father was a drummer who played with renowned artists in the 60s including reggae singers Bob Andy and Marcia Griffiths.

His youngest sister Samia is a singer, and two brothers are also in the industry.

An alumni of the Guildhall School of Music, Omar released his first song ‘There’s nothing like this’ in 1989; but it didn’t become a hit until it was re-released two years later.

He told the Times: “I wanted to record something ‘old school’ like the music I grew up with.

“When I wrote it, it was the late 1980s and it was all about acid house so I decided to create my own kind of heaven.”

It may be classed as neo-soul but thanks to the song’s ‘two-step’ beat it is also a hit with rare groove lovers – a UK genre which consists of soul music spanning from the late 60s to the late 80s.

Revealing why this might be the case, he said: “It is influenced by a song called heaven must be like this by the Ohio Players (a soul track released by an American band in 1974).”

Omar has gone on to release seven acclaimed albums and next week will see his eighth entitled ‘The Man’.

He has collaborated with the likes of Erykah Badu, Angie Stone and the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard on his past albums but it was easy for him to pick the artist he has worked with who ‘blew him away’.

He said: “Stevie Wonder is my biggest influences so to walk into a room and have a one-to-one session blew me away.

“The fact he wanted to write a song for me was amazing.”

For ‘The Man’ there were a few collaborations with American artists but Omar decided to keep it more ‘in house’.

“The album features British artists including Caron Wheeler (of Brown Sugar and Soul II Soul fame) and Stuart Zender (ex-bass guitarist for Jamiroquai),” he said.

“Me and Stuart go way back so it was nice to have him on board.

“The greatest thing about my music is it’s not just an ‘older’ crowd who like it the younger generation do too.

“Gone are the days when someone would come up to me and say ‘I like your music’ now they are saying to me ‘my daughter likes you music and my granny likes it too.”

So with all his success why isn’t his type of music ‘mainstream?

He said: “There is no dedicated national radio or television station playing soul.

“Singers like Beyonce, Usher and Rhianna are RnB - there is a difference.

“There’s been a few crossovers from artists like Erykah B and Jill Scott so maybe one day it will change.

“It would be great to have a programme like Solid Soul (a soul version of Top of the Pops which broadcasted on Channel 4 in the 1980s) with bands playing live music not like these boy bands that are around. That’s what we need and if they are looking for a presenter I can do the job!

“But, mainstream isn’t ready for it now and that’s how it is.”

After more than two decades in the industry, Omar has no plans to slow down as there are more collaborations he would love to come to fruition.

“I would love to team up with Bill Withers and Bobby Womack,” he said.

“They are two fantastic songwriters. Plus I’m not ready to do Motown as that’s what some singers do when they are about to retire.

“I’m full of ideas and I still have fire in my belly.”

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