Omar Apollo expresses raw emotions in the form of R&B while putting his own Latin spin on the genre, and never shies away from transcending genre and switching up the vibe entirely. When he returned to London, his audience really got to see the true depths of his talent, from hitting high notes, guitar solos and a charming stage presence.
Here’s favourite moments from his Roundhouse show:
his suspenseful entrance
Flashing lights painted the stage red while thrilling sonics blared underneath a profound monologue as his band began to emerge and take their positions. The soft, dainty keys of his latest single ‘Ice Slippin’ floated through the venue as he appeared in a sparkly, black outfit accompanied by those lush vocals of his.
the punk rock pace of ‘talk’
Rockstar guitar riffs meet abrasive drums and create this high-speed, sprinting tempo as Omar jumps chaotically on stage, evoking punk rock energy as the adrenaline kicks in on ‘Talk’. He slings a white electric guitar over his body to join in with his guitarist as they strum their guitars at lightning speed, heightening the boisterous energy in the room. When the track comes to a halt, Omar’s biggest UK fan, also known as Katie The Scammer, caught his eye with a Union Jack flag with his face on which he held up triumphantly as the crowd cheered.
serenading the audience on ‘ugotme’
Gushing on the smitten-but-sadly-unrequited love song from his 2018 debut EP Stereo, Omar’s falsetto comes out on this track as he hits those high notes with tenderness. The melody of this track embodies how it feels to fall for someone, Omar amplifies these emotions through the smoothest riffs and runs.
tapping into his Mexican roots on ‘en el olivido’
The stage lights glow green, red and white to represent the Mexican flag as Omar Apollo launches into Spanish track ‘En El Olivido’. The Mexican corrido-style strings evoke a harmonious melody as his warbling vocals vibrate around the room.
the crowd being heard the loudest on ‘invincible’
A popular hit from his 2022 album Ivory, his collab with Daniel Caesar proved to be a crowd favourite. This was the loudest I’d heard them all night and they knew every yearning lyric to ‘Invincible’, which switched between drifting melodies and accelerating, punchy drums.
the harmonious yearning on ‘want u around’
A dreamy guitar solo sets the scene for Omar to pour his heart out. His vocals range from rich and smooth to airy tones that oscillate and ascend when the chorus hits. Omar manages to belt in a way where you’re able to hear the longing that ‘Want U Around’ describes.
his raspy vocals during ‘tamagotchi’
As that Pharrell four-count stutter hit the speakers, Omar’s slick vocals that danced between Spanish and English had the crowd’s confidence on ten. During the second verse, Omar’s voice gets raspier – a pleasure you would only hear live – as the crowd cheers at this captivating surprise before Omar shouts “B***h this Tamagotchi!”
tugging at heartstrings during ‘Evergreen’
The slow drums on ‘Evergreen’ welcome Omar’s heartfelt vocals as vulnerability drifts from the stage to the audience, putting everyone in their feels. The premise of the track deals with post-breakup emotions where you’re feeling heartbroken and exasperated, which later develops into realising your self-worth. It’s a gut-wrencher of a track that’s undoubtedly relatable, which is why it comes as no surprise that when he reaches the bridge the entire crowd sings “You know you really made me hate myself / Had to stop before I break myself / Shoulda broke it off to date myself / You didn’t deserve me at all” like a choir full of people letting go of their pain.
Omar Apollo’s latest EP, Live For Me is out now.
Photography by Kat Friar