IN THE FLOW: An Exclusive Interview with Omarion

Words by Kimberly Hadid

Genuine and headstrong, Omarion possesses an unshakeable kindness and drive that is evident in his presence—an attitude that serves as the mainspring to his personal and professional success. For
nearly two decades, the multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated recording artist, producer, and actor has put down roots in our bustling entertainment landscape, creating a legacy, not only for himself, but for his family. His unique sound has garnered the artist multiple Gold and Platinum albums and singles like “O” and “Face Off” with Bow Wow and beloved radio hits like “Ice Box” and “I’m Up”, featuring French Montana and Kid Ink to his triple-platinum 2015 Billboard hit “Post To Be”, featuring Chris Brown & Jhené Aiko. Starring in the millennial cult classic You Got Served and a favorite celebrity judge on America’s Best Dance Crew, Omarion has left a vibrant footprint in both the music sector and pop culture as a whole, and he doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon. We spoke to the artist about the Millennium Tour 2020, his latest development of the Unbothered brand, and what it means to be in the flow.








BASIC: Tell me about you. What is your story and who is Omarion at his very core?

OMARION: Well, I would say that I am one of the few child entertainer prodigies. At a very young age I was singing, dancing, and performing— anything that had to do with entertaining and bringing joy to people. At the core of my being, as a creator, I would say that I am a person that understands the importance of sharing, with music being that medium. I am so happy that I have the opportunity to have this as a profession, to be able to communicate with people and connect with people through my songs. At my very core, I am a creative person whose purpose on this planet is to bring joy to people.

BASIC: What was your childhood like growing up in Inglewood and when was the first time you were really exposed to music? Can you recall the very first album you ever owned?

OMARION: My mom had me at a very young age, at 16, so we pretty much grew up together. All of the music that she enjoyed and listened to, I enjoyed. The first album I ever purchased was TLC’s CrazySexyCool. But my mom was taking me to concerts when I was just five years old. My first concert was actually Michael Jackson. Inglewood was fun. It was the foundation of my personality and it is how I communicate with people, how I build community. It’s a special place for me. I even have it tatted on my arm. It’s my town, it’s where I came from.

BASIC: Over the last two years you have become the master of your own destiny, venturing out on your own to really cultivate your personal growth and creativity—which has translated to a solid connection with your fanbase. Can you speak to me about this process and what it takes to not only be an award-winning artist, but an entrepreneur?

OMARION: I think that it’s really important to start at the very easy level of communications and I think when you can really understand that we are all here having a human experience, a life experience, there are certain needs and necessities that you can market and create businesses to be able to have a less torturous time. Life isn’t easy, you know? I have never met anyone who hasn’t had any type of trauma or hardship, and I think that I have been able to continue as a creative and artist because that need has always been there. It has helped me to really contribute in a way that can also help my children. Having kids has really helped me understand how to create outside of yourself. A lot of the things I do now are not just for me. They are for my kids as well. It’s to be able to leave a legacy and something for them. So, to answer your question, I would say that just understanding those human
needs and understanding that we are all having a life experience, and if we all contribute in a positive way, we can all as a human family, have a less difficult time and a better life experience.

BASIC: Speaking of your fans, they were a monumental inspiration to you bringing back the second Millennium Tour 2020. Can you speak further on this endeavor? What was it like to see your fans be so engaged with you and your efforts as an artist?

OMARION: We are on the second installment of the Millennium tour because the original tour came from the same idea that the Scream tour had. The Scream tour is where I truly believe that I was able to see the rise of the effects of my music, of our music, being in a group back then. And of course, we can’t forget Bow Wow because that’s why the Scream tour existed and one of the reasons why I wanted to make him part of the Millennium tour. The Millennium tour is the place—many years ago—where we had established that fanbase and the connections. It was the place where I could entertain, perform, and people could enjoy themselves. For me, the Millennium tour is actually the newer 2020 version of the Scream tour and I wanted to bring this space back because to be completely honest, it is for the people in my age range, the new millennium, the place where B2K actually got their name from. We took Y2K and replaced the “Y” with the “B”. The Millennium tour is just a futuristic version of that and it’s now time for the fans to grow. That’s what this tour is about. It’s this nostalgic celebration where we get to put the early 2000s on a pedestal.

BASIC: Creativity is subjective and often times, a challenge. One moment we can be in the flow, in complete alignment, and unravel an endless stream of inspiration, but other days we can hit a brick wall. With the recent release of your brand new single “Can You Hear Me?” I would love to dive into your creative process and what that looks like for you.OMARION: One thing that has been really synonymous with me challenging myself and continuing to be motivated and inspired to create is that as an artist, in order to motivate people, we actually have to be motivated ourselves. I have made some great peace in my life and have had the necessary moments I needed to take a step away from my work. I think stepping away from your work and from creativity sometimes is good, as long as you make it good. It’s really a choice at the end of the day. You just have to choose. You have to choose to want to be inspired because you can find inspiration in some of the smallest things. For me, I have lived in the flow. I live in the flow. I don’t try to control things, even though certain aspects of creativity have to be controlled. As a creative you have to always make sure your intentions are pure so you can manifest what you want in your art and allow it to come out on the other side. Intentions are really important. So, if I’m making a song, I ask myself, okay, who am I speaking to? Are my personal experiences involved in this art and if so, what element is that? I have been creating for a long time so my process is that—maintaining the flow and making sure that I keep the sequence of storytelling, which is the beginning, middle, and end. Those are some of my approaches that I take in order to create a full sphere of my art. I am inspired by my own life and other people’s lives. With “Can You Hear Me?” that was me being in the flow. T-Pain was actually supposed to be on the tour, but he didn’t get the opportunity with things going on. He sent me some songs that already had some great ingredients and I took it and added my ingredients to it and that’s what’s so dope about being a creative and working with other creatives. It’s you know, sometimes you start from scratch and other times it’s as simple as an email. And it’s like, do I like this? Oh, I like this. Let me add that and put this in there. And that’s exactly what “Can You Hear Me?” was about. T-Pain and I worked together in the past and it was very natural. Also, because it’s the first time in my career that I have my own imprint and company, OWW (Omarion Worldwide), I have a team of creative people that I am able to tap in with on projects. We have a nice staff to bring things to life.

BASIC: What things or people in this world have served as your greatest influences to create and become the man you are today?

OMARION: Definitely people who have beat the odds and have moments where it seems like, maybe they were going to lose, but they didn’t. I am inspired by philosophers and books, but Jay-Z is also a person I am incredibly inspired by. He is someone that has mastered a lot of different things over his career, but one of the most important things that has inspired me about him is how he maintains his family life. He comes from a time where being married and the idea of family is a different concept than now because he is older, but he is still able to maintain that. He has one of the dopest, and I don’t even know what category to put her in, in terms of her creativity, but to be with Beyoncé is probably not easy, or maybe it is because both of them are creative people and they both speak a language they can understand. But yeah, he is someone I really look up to. Plus, he’s a rapper and it’s really hard to be a rapper in 2020.

BASIC: Your Unbothered meme, which transformed into a monumental viral moment, has now become a fragrance kit: Unbothered by Omarion. What sparked this idea and what does the Unbothered brand mean to you?

OMARION: Well, first I have to thank my fans for this. There is something really special about having a connection with the fans and them feeling motivated to encourage you to do things and try things. To be honest with you, I have always been a person who has loved cologne. My grandpa actually introduced me to cologne and I have always had this affinity for scents and sensual oils. That Unbothered meme of me with my shirt open—it was a current picture I took— looking all handsome and then they put this little “Unbothered by Omarion” thing on it and I was like wait a minute, this is a really good idea. Universe, can we make this happen? And with the help of my team and everybody, including the fans of course, we were able to manifest it. The oils are all natural, which I am super excited about. This is what I love and these are products that I use. Everything about it was a perfect fit and I am so happy the fans brought this to my attention. I am so excited for this concept and idea to be motivated by my personal life because there’s no mystery that I’ve had personal and public qualms, and it is truly motivating when you can turn your apples into an apple pie. I am so happy to be able to motivate people and for people to be motivated by my story, about not having to respond to negativity. It’s a representation of how you want to be with everything going on, especially now in 2020. One thing is for sure and that is that life always goes on.

BASIC: You have recently partnered with The Zeus Network to further your entertainment footprint and continue to distribute groundbreaking content. It is the first-ever SVOD network created by millennials for millennials. Talk to me about essence of this project and partnership.

OMARION: Yeah, so, the first thing that we’re going to be doing is releasing content to the world. I am doing a partnership deal with The Zeus Network for content—for special content and its many formats. Content is king right now, everybody has content, but The Zeus Network is a very unique network in the simple fact that they are more invested in making the creatives a partner, opposed to some of the bigger networks that might not allow you to really participate in certain aspects of the content. With Zeus, that is essential for me to explore. The first project we are dropping is the Millennium tour live. So whoever didn’t get the chance to go to the Millennium tour last year, which was the 15-year anniversary of B2K, they will get the opportunity to see it on The Zeus Network. All they have to do is tap in with them. I am so excited. Another original series that we have in the plans is a docu-follow. Currently, we are on tour and there is so much that goes on during tour, behind the scenes, during the performances, etc. We have a lot of exciting projects in the works.

BASIC: As a father of two it must be a challenge at times, juggling both family life and a high-profile music career. How do you stay centered? What keeps you ambitious and motivated to continue pushing forward?

OMARION: I am so blessed with support and I am so fortunate to have that help and a staff. I think that I, along with everyone else, have been doing a great job at maintaining all the things that we have going on. For me, support is so important as an entertainer and as a father. I am very present in my children’s lives. I drop them off at school when I can and I am very involved when I have them. I think the key is being able to continue to work hard so I can support the support, you know? My team is amazing and that is really how I have been able to do this. My mom helps, their grandma helps, other family members help. It’s not just, hey, I’m gonna pay you today, you know? I am so blessed to have that love and support in my life.