Omar Apollo: The R&B Artist Breaking Barriers with a Grammy Nomination

· Updated on March 31, 2023

Omar Apolonio Velasco is a Mexican-American singer and songwriter known professionally as Omar Apollo whose music resonates with millions worldwide. With his soulful voice and heartfelt lyrics, Apollo has made a name for himself in the music industry, earning a Best New Artist nomination at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards.

Let’s explore more about this handsome musician whose musical style combines up-to-date pop and R&B tunes:

Omar Apollo at a glance

Omar Apollo was born on May 20, 1997. Growing up, Apollo was the youngest of four siblings. His family is originally from Guadalajara, Jalisco, but they relocated to Hobart, Indiana where he was born and grew up.

Omar’s music journey started with a guitar and a dream

At the age of twelve, Apollo’s parents gifted him an electric guitar without an amp. Omar traded the electric guitar for an acoustic one and soon began mastering it by watching YouTube cover videos. With his uncle guiding him, he diligently practiced playing at church, honing a passion for ballet folklorico and singing in his Catholic church choir. Consequently, this set Apollo on a path to becoming an accomplished musician with skills that would last into adulthood.

Making the jump from SoundCloud to Spotify to the stage

Omar’s music career began with the DIY streaming site SoundCloud, where he uploaded his songs. In 2017, on a shoestring budget of just a $30 loan from a friend, Apollo posted “Ugotme” to Spotify, which immediately made an enormous splash. His song was featured in Fresh Finds that same day, racking up 20K streams by nightfall. A year later it had crossed 15 million+ plays worldwide!

His debut EP, Stereo, was met with critical acclaim in 2018, and its success of it propelled him to go on two hugely successful tours – “Want Tour” and “Voyager Tour.” Afterward, John Shanks, a renowned rock producer who has worked with established artists, produced his second EP, Friends, which was released in April 2019. Months later, his tour expanded into Europe as well as Lollapalooza.

Collaborations have been big for Omar

Later in 2019, Apollo and producer Kenny Beats partnered together to produce two more singles – the first being “Frío” followed by “Hit Me Up.” Fast forward to April 2020, the pair released their third single, “Imagine U.”

In August 7 of that same year, Apollo unveiled his lead single for his debut mixtape, Stayback. Two more tracks followed shortly after – “Kamikaze,” as well as “Dos Uno Nueve (219), capping off with a collaborative effort between himself and Ruel titled “Want U Around.” Finally, Apolonio, Apollo’s first official mixtape, was unleashed upon the world on October 16, 2020.

With his mixtape and his 2021 debut studio album, Ivory, achieving critical praise, Apollo has proven he is a force to be reckoned with. His single, “Evergreen,” made major rounds on TikTok, propelling it into the Billboard Hot 100 list.

Omar’s collecting Grammy noms

In 2021, Omar’s partnership with rapper C. Tangana on the song “Te Olvidaste” earned him two esteemed Latin Grammy nominations for Best Alternative Song and Record of the Year. This year, Omar Apollo hit an even bigger high with a nomination for Best New Artist at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards.

This is a significant achievement for any musician, as the award recognizes exceptional talent and potential in the industry. It is also a milestone for Latine representation in music, as Omar Apollo is one of the few Mexican-American artists to receive a Grammy nomination in recent years.

Omar Apollo is Openly Gay

Omar Apollo is an openly gay Latinx artist, who recently opened up about his experiences with coming out and navigating the music industry as a person of color. In an interview with Billboard, he shared, “In Indiana, people were saying, ‘He’s not even gay, he’s just doing that to be artist-y.’ I always thought it was funny because the reality of my life is not that; it’s not a choice, it’s just what I am.”

While he’s faced allegations of queerbaiting and rumors of dating Frank Ocean, he keeps his responses particularly light on Twitter:

He keeps it real in his music

Omar’s music explores love, heartbreak, and self-discovery themes, and he’s unafraid to be vulnerable in his songwriting. His willingness to be himself has inspired many fans, and he’s been vocal about the importance of representation in the music industry.

The Bottom Line

Omar is a rising star poised to impact the music industry. One of the reasons Omar Apollo has become such a celebrated artist is his ability to break down barriers and challenge traditional notions of R&B music and sexual identity.

His ability to blend genres and break down barriers makes him a unique and exciting artist to watch. As he continues to grow and evolve, it’s clear that he will continue to be an inspiration to fans worldwide.

Representation matters and Omar Apollo is one of the many artists leading the way in making the music industry more inclusive and diverse. His Grammy nomination is just the beginning of what is sure to be a long and successful career in the music industry.

If you’re interested in learning more about other queer artists who are making waves in the music industry, be sure to subscribe to the INTO newsletter.

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