Genres: Alternative, electronic rock, opera
Shahidah Omar is a soulful singer, songwriter with a rock edge.
She is accompanied by her classically trained operatic ambient vocals and passion that can be felt from the back of the room; using her voice like many instruments.
Filled with live and uplifting music and energetic dance; her performance always has the audience contagiously chanting along.
Shahidah Omar, the Chicago native, has recorded many genres of music, with a wide catalog of which has been published and featured on film and television. Her album “Freedom” debuted on NBC’s “The Bonnie Hunt Show” where she received rave reviews.
Over the years Shahidah Omar has engineered, produced, written and arranged all of her vocals.
Recording the majority of Shahidah’s album “Freedom” in her own “Hot Pink Studios” is what makes her an extremely proactive female artist.
Secondary to Shahidah Omar‘s music is her active dance background, acting in films, modeling and traveling the country with stage plays amongst many more journeys.
Album songs such as “What About The Living,” “Stop The War” and her concert anthem “People Of The World” makes her no cookie cutter beauty.
“Freedom” to Shahidah Omar, means NoH8, prejudice, or toxic ego’s. “Freedom” to be exactly who you are! “Freedom” to share. “Freedom” to Be Love.
Humanitarian, vegan, liberator and leader!
Ms. Omar released her debut album "Freedom" with a live performance on "The Bonnie Hunt Show" CBS
Shahidah's extensive catalog of music has been featured on network shows such as "Girlfriends" UPN/ BET and several film and television commercials.
Throughout the years, Shahidah Omar has traveled the country dancing in popular stage plays, such as Shelly Garrets "Beauty Shop" and "Red Beans and Rice". She was a Jet Magazine "Beauty of the Week" and carried out acting roles in several films.
The Chicago native, Shahidah Omar, won numerous medals performing as an opera singer.
Cold Inside Snippet
I Can't Breathe Snippet
I'll Let Go Of You Snippet
Live My Dream Snippet
Mental BeatDown Snippet
People Of The World Snippet
Racing to You Snippet
Stop The War Snippet
What About The Living Snippet
Interview: Shahidah Omar- Liberation Through Blended Sound
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Shahidah Omar's sound blends so many genres in one it seems almost effortless, leaving one to questi...Shahidah Omar's sound blends so many genres in one it seems almost effortless, leaving one to question how to categorize it. Is she opera, trance, dance, soul, house, classical with a twist? The only conclusion is that Shahidah has truly carved out a sound all her own. Her current album includes high energy dance inducing cuts such as "Freedom", "People of the world" and "Live my dream". These are countered by those tracks of a milder tempo, which are sure to illicit a number of subconscious emotions, such as "I can't breathe", "I'll let you go" and "What about the Living" (video below). In all of this, the meat and purpose of her music is to liberate. Liberty itself is a dynamic space allowing multiple applications. Weather it be from self, another, the past, negativity, addictions of all kinds, love, fear, doubt, and so on. Omar's thirst for it is amplified in her personally penned and produced ten track EP titled "Freedom". As a native of Chicago's south side, bearing a name with a strong Arabic translation (Shahidah means "Witness") it is evident that this album is a major celebratory confession of all the things that she has witnessed and will soon live in her lifetime.
*Interview by Alicia Maria Golden
Shahidah is arabic for "witness" how do you feel you represent your name? Has the power it holds influenced you as a person?
I feel more like my name chose me! I have witnessed a lot through life. So representing it is tough. However, I do appreciate it. Witnessing life’s lessons has made me live life more open, it's made me care more about the success, happiness and experiences with "Freedom" that others have. Which is how the theme of my current album was born. It has made me a more active participant in being the change we want to see.
Are you a classically trained opera singer and when did you become such?
Yes, I am classically trained in opera. When I went to high school my mother signed me up with the school choir. The audition advisor he automatically signed me up as a vocal major and Opera was that department's specialty. My vocal coach Mrs. Forsyth pushed me to use my voice to it’s fullest potential. She then enrolled us in many prestigious opera competitions based in of Chicago. I am so grateful for that opportunity as my opera training continued after this.
What types of music were you exposed to growing up to influence the desire to sing opera and give your music such a blended sound?
My mother only listened to smooth music. So there were no screaming singers in our systems. She didn’t get into what was popular now music. She was listening to George Benson, Paul Simon, Gloria Estefan, Sammy Davis Jr. Nat King Cole, Sara Vaghn, opera singer Kathleen Battle and so on. We typically listened to music from all over the world. I also grew up with nine siblings in my household adding a whole slew of different genres to the mix. That list is ridiculous! So here I am a mash up of all of that.
The theme of the album is strength and liberation, at what point did you achieve personal freedom?
Honestly, I was tired of being jerked around as an artist and young woman trying to break out into the music world. There is so much judgment everywhere you go as a especially as a female. If you are lacking some confidence from whatever personal situations you have, it can really be hard. You make decisions for your life off of what other people think you should be doing. But the problem is they have their own insecurities and agendas so you become something they think you should be. When I first started writing songs they were a hot mess. I was writing about topics I would never write about today. But I was trying to be popular then. I got out of that and started focusing on what I really wanted to say and how I wanted to represent myself. But, then my songs became too deep and my voice was too mature for my age. No one I was trying to work with was ready for that. I was always told to dumb my music down. People would say girl you hot! Why not use it to your advantage? You don’t need to be trying to save the world and people won't believe you.
You are currently in LA, can you share what you are working on?
Well I live in LA. I am currently writing and recording songs for my next album, rehearsing for the upcoming shows with this album “Freedom”, working on my merchandise line, and in between supporting my husband actor/ comedian JB Smoove (Leon Black). I am also working on my tour dates, recently performed at Bannaroo Music Festival 2011 and will be on the carpet of the MTV awards this year!
Describe what happens mentally and physically when you are on stage.
Having the songs that I write from my soul be well received by an audience is the best feeling in the world.Being on stage is where I feel the most Freedom, because this is where I can truly reach people and connect with them. I can dance with them, chant with them, play instruments for them. It is the only place where I don’t have to care about any judgment, I don’t care in that space because I am being true to the message.
More music on Shahidah Omar's official website: http://www.shahidahomar.com
Chewing the Fat with JB Smoove and Shahidah Omar
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Global Grind sat down with the knee-slapping-funny man JB Smoove and his beautiful wife Shahidah Oma...Global Grind sat down with the knee-slapping-funny man JB Smoove and his beautiful wife Shahidah Omar to chat about about his career.
JB Smoove has made us choke on laughs with his stints on Curb Your Enthusiasm alongside Larry David and he shares with GG more intimate details about his career and the people that influence him. Many legends from Bill Cosby to Eddie Murphy have been inspirational to JB but he never failed put in the gritty hard work to rise to where he is.
His wife, Shahidah Omar also opens up about her singing career and explains how much of an encouraging force JB is in her life.
The infectious couple give off a playful but loving aura and the pop quiz section at the end clearly reveals that JB and Shahidah are well matched individuals who are both bursting with incredible personalities.
It is great to sit with you both. Want to talk to Shahidah first, as JB you get enough attention. Let's talk about your first album, Freedom? How did you pick what you were going to speak about?
Shahidah: Actually I’ve been writing the same way for a long time so I pretty much write about stuff that is happening in the world. So it’s not just personally about me. Like it could be about me, but it’s just about what’s happening in the world, in general. I did some hip-hop, I did some R&B stuff but I was never completely happy there. I like rock honestly, so I infused rock and opera which I’ve been trained in with that into this album, so it’s like a world rock opera album. So it’s more so about the direction I was going to take with what I was talking about.
A man’s dream is to marry a woman who can sing. How does that complicate things?
JB: Her voice is like an instrument. I love it when she speaks, I love it when she sings, I love every bit of her voice, man. I love her process, I mean just her process alone is big. She puts 200% in everything she does and I love her passion and I love her voice, like what she has to say. Her voice to put out what she believes in, to put out motivation, to put out freedom, inspiration. Not only is she an amazing singer, shes an amazing person. She could mess around and be the first female president.
How do you all work together?
Shahidah: It’s a great support system because we do totally different things. So at his shows, I watch his whole thing and I take a note pad and if I hear something new I’ll write it down because I have to remember this, this is crazy. So I support him that way. And when I’m recording at the studio at home I bring him in with me and let him listen to what I’m working on and he helps me through that.
Shahidah Omar is an amazing underground rock star soon to be legend.
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Shahidah Omar is an amazing underground rock star soon to be legend. The first time I saw her in co...Shahidah Omar is an amazing underground rock star soon to be legend. The first time I saw her in concert was on a small stage at Bonaroo in Tenesse. She completely captivated the audience and lured the unsuspecting passer by in with her post-pop, operatic-rock melodies. I was brought to tears
when she sang, "Stop the War".
If you're wondering what to do with your monday night invest in the artist Shahidah Omar.
Check her out at http://shahidahomar.com/#/home
Shahidah Omar. Awesome! What an amazing talent!
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New to Bonnaroo…Shahidah Omar. Awesome! What an amazing talent! Beautiful, Sexy, and Singing style w...New to Bonnaroo…Shahidah Omar. Awesome! What an amazing talent! Beautiful, Sexy, and Singing style was very impressive. To pull off Alternative Rock, Pop with Opera…Whew! She was explosive. So much so that she got a shout of encore from the audience at the “On The Tap” stage on Sunday June 12th.
Shahidah Omar is one to look for. She’s waaaay cool!
Sunday (by Alexa): Shahidah Omar was playing there, and she was a nice surprise
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we walked over to the On Tap Lounge to cool off Shahidah Omar was playing there, and she was a nice...we walked over to the On Tap Lounge to cool off
Shahidah Omar was playing there, and she was a nice surprise. She kind of had a punk look going on, but with a soulful voice I could see Staples hanging out with.
30 mins -1 hour set
Subject to arrange in accordance with venue
*Also have an acoustic set with minimal of 2-3 band members available*
There are no upcoming dates at this time.