OMI Talks Return to Music, Premieres New Record 'Masterpiece': Exclusive
Well-known for his No.1 Hot 100 record, “Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Remix),” Jamaican artist OMI returns from his hiatus with another feel-good collab, "Masterpiece," alongside German producer Felix Jaehn. The uptempo, summery track encourages women to find beauty in themselves as they are, in a digital age that often pushes the other way.
The multi-platinum pair connected in London for their first in-person studio session. In hopes of recreating the magic that topped the charts in over 50 countries on Me 4 U, OMI & Jaehn aimed for a radio-friendly earworm. With the foot-tapping chorus, “Cos every time I look at you I’m looking at a masterpiece/ If you’re trying to be perfect, you don’t have to be,” OMI's knack for riveting global blends prevails.
Billboard caught up with OMI to discuss what his next chapter means sonically, why he is a fan of his fans and the importance of protecting what is sacred. Check out what's been going on behind the scenes with the Kingston sensation, as "Masterpiece," leads into his second offering.
How does it feel to make your return to music after the success of Me 4 U?
I am so excited. You wouldn't believe it. I'm so [overwhelmed]. I have been picturing it in my mind and thinking about what it is going to be like. Also, [I pondered] how I wanted to do this. It is finally here.
What inspired this brief hiatus?
For me, it is about taking some time to reinvent yourself and working on your craft. [With] the next project that I release into the world... my fans will see my growth and development. [That is] in terms of me as an artist, vocally and musically. The objective is for them to grow with me. You know?
“Cheerleader” was the first time you and DJ Felix Jaehn worked together. The remix topped the charts in over 50 countries, including the Hot 100. Describe that experience.
Ah, man! It was awesome. It is so weird that we are meeting for the first time. The chemistry is there. I do not know if it is because of the previous project that we worked on. It is a perfect vibe. I really appreciate the decision to let us work on this one in-person. I think it was a good move.
You last reported to Billboard that you were still searching for your cheerleader. Did you find her?
[Laughs] Of course! Listen, it has been a while. Have you been traveling the years? [Laughs]
Was she the muse for the record, "Masterpiece?"
Not necessarily, I am a very private person. Relationships are something I keep off-record because I believe it is something sacred. It is not something for the public. Believe it or not, sometimes the public dictates what goes on in your relationship as an artist. I try to keep that separate.
You and DJ Felix met for the first time for your latest single, “Masterpiece.” How was your in-person studio session?
Oh, man! There were just really good vibes. There was no ego. We were bouncing ideas off of each other. Making this [record] everybody was giving their best to make it all that it could be. That is just an awesome feeling.
In your opinion, how does "Masterpiece" best showcase your growth?
I think it captures one aspect of it. The album has so much regarding diversity, well, the vibe of each song [differentiates.] I am happy that it is setting an example. It is very radio-friendly. So, it is easy to listen to. But, at the same time, it shows that some [effort] was put into the project.
This forthcoming album has a theme, can you elaborate for listeners?
Well, I cannot give any date as to the release of it, or [reveal] what the album will be called. However, I can tell you: my fans will see the growth and development. They are going to be proud of this one. At the end of the day, I do this for them. As I always say, I am a fan of my fan.
What is to come for fans musically?
One of the things I tried to do with this album is make songs that are easy to follow. You remember how [my song,] "Cheerleader" was a sing-along. It was an anthem, so to speak. I wanted to recreate that in a sense. Still, I did not want to make it seem as though I was trying to recreate ["Cheerleader."] Do you know what I am saying? So, just to have that effortless feel [was important]. It is where the fans can feel they are a part of the music. It is not an opera. [Laughs] It is something that is easy to sing along. It is very easy to vibe to.
Who is OMI?
OMI is a very easy going but determined person. I would like to think I am very calculated. I try to think before I act, I try to listen more than I speak. I try to learn from other people mistakes. I love music. I am very passionate about it, and I want to remain passionate about it. I value teams. I value my fans, family, and the people who are around me. I respect each [of them]. Yeah, what more can I say? You can ask the people I have worked with. They will say it.