Indiana singer-songwriter Omar Apollo finds success through a kaleidoscopic pop sound | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Indiana singer-songwriter Omar Apollo finds success through a kaleidoscopic pop sound 

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click to enlarge Omar Apollo

Omar Apollo

Kevin Lombardo

Indiana singer-songwriter Omar Apollo excels in the gray spaces between genres and scenes. On a string of singles he’s uploaded to Soundcloud over the past year, he transposes heart-wrenching, swooning guitars from early 60s pop onto mechanic percussion that moves like it’s made for a hip-hop track. Apollo, who sings in both English and Spanish, often coos in a voice so delicate it sounds like his melodies could dissolve in an instant. He’s got a range, too; he opens “Algo” singing in a terse, pinched falsetto while laying out a jaunty funk riff on guitar. Apollo clearly knows how to match a mood, style of music, or collaborator—the aforementioned “Algo” features a verse from Indianapolis rapper Drayco McCoy. Apollo’s music dwells mainly in the realms of soul, R&B, and pop, though he appears comfortable in the midwest’s blurry hip-hop scenes; “Brakelights” features Chicago trumpeter Iz Burns, one half of the Burns Twins, who frequently supply local rappers and singers with an instrumental backbone in the studio and onstage. In an interview with Pigeons & Planes about “Brakelights,” Apollo suggested his music is prime for moments of relaxation or seemingly mundane tasks: “I hope you guys can play my music on the way home from work to watch your favorite Netflix original or when you’re studying in the library.” While his music evokes an intimate, everyday joy, it’s far from common.   v

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