Exclusive interview

Omar Just

Hip-Hop artist, Omar Just!

Did you grow up in NY? Yes, I was born and raised in NYC.

What was it like growing up in a place where Hip-Hop was pretty much conceived? It was crazy because as soon as I started school, they used to have the speakers playing in the auditorium during the winter and Michael Jackson's Beat It would be playing. Around that time, I also would sit with my mother in her room and listen to her record collection that had both old and new records. She was still buying records here and there. The last record she bought was "We Are The World" and "That's What Friends Are For. "  Around this time, I also would try to breakdance in school and I would see Run DMC perform on TV a few times. And the Fat Boys were all over the place back then too. I also remember going to Coney Island with my mother and hearing someone blast the Kartoon Krew out the boombox. One of my older cousins also had a tape of one of the Beastie Boys songs that he would play over and over again. So I was around music and hip-hop music was everywhere, even though at the time, hip-hop wasn't getting played during the day on the radio.

At what age did you start getting into music? So, when I got into music gradually was in kindergarten. But I didn't start listening to the radio until I was 10 years old. I started writing songs right after when I was 11. These were non rap songs I used to right. I already knew about song structure. And then a little after that, I started freestyling in front of some kids I knew in my building. They were brothers and their father was the Super of our building. They asked me to rap one day and I did. They asked me to dance too and I did. They were impressed.

What type of music did you listen to growing up? I listened to anything that was popular when I was a kid. And with my mother's record collection at the time, I listened to everything from hip-hop, disco, rock, new wave and when I started listening to the radio when I was 10, I was mostly listening to Hot 97, which was a dance station at that time. They played pop, house, new wave, hip hop, some pop rock, r&b and freestyle. Because freestyle music was and still mostly is Puerto Rican and philipino, me being Puerto Rican, I really fell in love with it. My favorite singer that I grew up listening to was Stevie Wonder. Stevie Woner is music.

Where do you record? I record at Lounge Studios, in Manhattan.

Does songwriting come easy for you? Most of the time, yes. I just have to be in a space to sit down, listen to a track, and write to it. It's easier just to write a song off the top, without hearing a track, but I like challenging myself.

Would you write for other artists? Probably not. I'm selfish, I like to write for myself.

What's the most important thing you have learned, being an indie artist? To be up on new ways to promote my music, and to invest in myself.

What have you been working on lately? I've been working on new material. 

What are your plans for 2021? To promote my new song and eventually release an album and release new music videos as well. 


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