Civil Interview: Omarion Shares on His ‘Word 4 Word’ Video and More
by Shawn Grant
Omarion, how are you and the process for your new work going?
I’m sitting in an edit right now and I’m getting ready for a new song I’m dropping called “Word 4 Word,” which will be like a short film. It’s so exciting because I’ve never been this close to my work; I never had to edit anything longer than a regular song that would come to three, maybe four minutes tops this is like eight minutes long. It’s also paying homage to the late great Michael Jackson. I’m definitely one of his children in the music business and this is exciting, its groundbreaking work for me. I’ve been doing it long enough to be here, it has breakdowns in the video and I’m really excited.
I was looking at the preview and it looks to have Asian influences in it.
We actually show the video in Japan. We shot half in Japan and a little bit of it here [LA]. That’s also the exciting part with the video is the depth. Japan is such a beautiful place and I really want this video to be a great example of cultural appropriation. I’ve been to Japan several times and instead of shooting in Japan and putting a kimono on with a sword I’m diving into this art of kendo, it’s Japanese sensing. It’s so deep and it’s really about yourself and mirrors the song because I’m diving into me. Throughout the video it’s this sense of worries, there are these moments when I have to look at myself and be sure to remember “look O, you been doing this baby.” That’s the message of the video.
You have been hitting different continents. Your last video [“Distance“] was in South Africa, do you have a certain method of research into where you want to go or is it a bucket list?
I’m going to be honest, it seems to be turning into that but for the most part, these are places I’ve been before but I never explored. A lot of time when I’m traveling we are in one place this day and an extensive schedule where we are bouncing around. With the South Africa and Japan experience, these are places I been able to go back to a couple times and visit. I was able to see some things but not experience it. For this “Word 4 Word” video I got the chance to go to a temple, I have been to Japan 10-15 times but never got to go to a temple. So it’s like I’m showing history that is really important. When you travel you get to learn so much about other cultures and it’s really important. I want people to get from my art this go round with Reasons to see that people will want to go and travel.
You mentioned it, so it’s safe to say we are getting closer to Reasons?
I’ll tell you this, Reasons is mastered and prepared for everyone’s listening pleasure but you know, this is the music business and business is complicated. With Reasons, we have to see what happens. I’m prepared to drop more music, there will definitely not be a shortage of Omarion music, videos, whatever. This is a good time for me to reintroduce myself as a creative, editing, this is me revealing all of my hours. I didn’t even know I could edit but I was sitting in the ADR for You Got Served, in the ADR for this movie, that movie and developed a skill of really doing exactly what I want as a creative person. This is such a personal piece of me that I hope everyone gets the chance to see it because they will be able to get to see them in it.
The last time you dropped an album it was a different landscape than now, do you think it’s hard to drop an album with everything streaming, people have a microwave approach? “Posed to Be” was 2015 but now it’s different from then.
You’re definitely right, but I think as a creative artist it’s always about acclimating and adding things to your repertoire. I definitely see the wave and it is different but being someone who has seen the music business change so much it’s one of those things to see will you adapt. For me, I want to keep leveling up and continue to get the opportunities. I can’t wait for the next award performance, I was watching the BET Awards and there is always space for people to entertain. I’ve gotten better and better. We going to keep it going with whatever the climate is if we need to be more visible here that’s what we going to do.
That’s something I respect about you, as an artist you have the personal responsibility to bring a true essence of music and have a pride in artistry.
You have to share that, that’s how we all connected. Being someone that started to so young, at 14, now I’m 32, I don’t think people realize how many hours that is. When Kanye be like “I did my 10,000 hours!” it’s in relation to that. Everybody is playing at their levels but let’s make sure we understand where the levels at. I’m excited for that because “Word for Word” is going to be super dope.
You are approaching 20 years deep now, what’s different about your processes now for creation of music opposed to then?
Having a deeper understanding, after I had kids I could feel deeper. I understand the cause and affect better. When you understand that and experience a certain level of – most people would say failure but I don’t believe in that. You have this life time and you die. We are always working on something. Its lessons, that’s what it’s all about.