Omar Akram

Harmonizing Success: An Exclusive Interview with Grammy-Nominated Artist

Conducted by Guillaume Jean Lefebvre

1. Congratulations on your second Grammy Awards nomination for "Moments of Beauty"! How did it feel to be recognized again in the Best New Age Album category?

Thank you so much! Being nominated for my second Grammy Award for "Moments of Beauty" is truly an honor and a deeply humbling experience. It's incredibly validating to have my work recognized in the Best New Age Album category once again. This nomination represents not only a personal achievement but also a recognition of the passion and dedication poured into creating this album. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to share my music with the world, and this nomination serves as a wonderful affirmation of the impact that "Moments of Beauty" has had on listeners.

2. How did your passion for music develop, and have you always received support from your family and friends in pursuing this career choice?

My passion for music developed at a young age, nurtured by a rich cultural heritage and exposure to various musical influences. Growing up, I was surrounded by a family that appreciated and celebrated music, which played a significant role in shaping my musical journey. From my earliest memories, I felt a deep connection to the melodies and rhythms that filled our home, sparking a desire to create and explore music myself.
Fortunately, I've been blessed with unwavering support from my family in pursuing my musical aspirations. They've encouraged me every step of the way, providing encouragement, guidance, and love as I navigated the challenges and joys of a career in music. Their belief in me has been a source of strength and motivation, fueling my determination to pursue my dreams and share my music with the world.

Omar Akram, a Grammy-nominated artist, takes center stage in this exclusive interview exploring his musical journey and harmonious success. Celebrated for his second Grammy Awards nomination for his album "Moments of Beauty," Omar invites us to discover his musical evolution, from classical pianist to instrumental pop artist. He shares insights into his unique journey, the significance of his Grammy nominations, the fusion of different genres in his compositions, and the universal appeal of his music. Dive into the multifaceted world of Omar Akram, a visionary musician shaping the landscape of contemporary instrumental music.

Portrait Of The Month

( April 2024)


3. As the first Afghan American to win a Grammy in 2013 for "Echoes of Love," you have now secured a second nomination. How is this nomination significant for you, especially considering your unique musical journey?

Securing a second Grammy nomination is incredibly significant for me, particularly given the unique path I've traveled in my musical career. As the first Afghan American to win a Grammy in 2013 for "Echoes of Love," each nomination holds profound meaning and represents a milestone in my journey as an artist.
This nomination reaffirms the validity and impact of my musical expression, validating the years of dedication, hard work, and creative exploration that have shaped my sound. It's a testament to the resilience and determination required to carve out a space in the music industry, especially as an artist from a background that may not be widely represented.
Moreover, this nomination is a reminder of the power of music to transcend boundaries and connect people from diverse backgrounds. Through my music, I strive to bridge cultural divides, foster understanding, and celebrate the beauty of our shared humanity. This nomination serves as validation of those efforts and reinforces my commitment to using music as a tool for positive change and connection in the world.

4. Your upbringing as the son of a diplomat allowed you to live in different countries and speak four languages. How has this cultural diversity influenced your music, and could you share specific moments where it shaped your creative process?

Growing up as the son of a diplomat in diverse countries and speaking four languages has deeply influenced my music. This cultural diversity has enriched my musical palette, infusing my compositions with a blend of styles and traditions from around the world. For instance, living in New York City exposed me to a vibrant multicultural environment, which sparked my curiosity and appreciation for diverse musical styles. In Havana, collaborating with local Cuban musicians introduced me to Afro-Cuban rhythms, inspiring me to incorporate these elements into my music. Each moment of cultural immersion has shaped my creative process, allowing me to draw inspiration from diverse experiences and translate them into musical expression.

5. At the age of 14, you were in Cuba, immersing yourself in the local music scene. How did this experience influence your musical taste and contribute to your evolution from a classical pianist to an instrumental pop artist?

At the age of 14, immersing myself in the vibrant music scene of Cuba was a transformative experience that profoundly influenced my musical taste and contributed to my evolution from a classical pianist to an instrumental pop and New Age artist.
Cuba's rich musical heritage, steeped in Afro-Cuban rhythms and Latin influences, opened my ears to new sonic possibilities and expanded my musical horizons. I was exposed to a diverse array of musical styles, from salsa and son Cubano to rumba and mambo, each pulsating with infectious energy and rhythmic vitality.
Collaborating with local Cuban musicians allowed me to explore new sonic landscapes and incorporate elements of Cuban music into my own compositions. I was captivated by the improvisational spirit of Cuban jazz, the infectious grooves of salsa, and the soulful melodies of bolero, all of which left a lasting impression on my musical sensibilities.
This experience sparked a desire within me to break free from the constraints of traditional classical music and explore more contemporary and eclectic genres. I began experimenting with different sounds and arrangements, blending elements of Cuban music with electronic beats, pop melodies, and world music influences.
The fusion of these diverse musical elements ultimately shaped my sound as an instrumental pop artist, adding depth, color, and vitality to my compositions. It was a journey of self-discovery and creative exploration that was ignited by my time in Cuba and continues to inspire me to this day.

6. "MOMENTS OF BEAUTY" seems to reflect themes of gratitude and the preciousness of life. Could you delve deeper into how your life experiences, from traveling to meeting different cultures, serve as inspiration for your compositions?

Absolutely. "MOMENTS OF BEAUTY" is indeed a reflection of gratitude and an exploration of life's preciousness, drawing inspiration from my diverse life experiences. Traveling and encountering different cultures have profoundly influenced my compositions in several ways.
Firstly, traveling exposes me to a plethora of sights, sounds, and emotions, all of which find their way into my music. Whether it's the bustling streets of a metropolis, the serenity of a natural landscape, or the warmth of human connections, each experience leaves its mark on my creative process.
Secondly, meeting people from various backgrounds broadens my perspective and deepens my understanding of humanity. Learning about different cultures, traditions, and perspectives helps me tap into universal themes that resonate with audiences worldwide. These encounters often serve as catalysts for new musical ideas and concepts.
Moreover, immersing myself in different musical traditions during my travels enriches my sonic palette. From the intricate rhythms of Latin America to the melodic intricacies of Eastern Europe, each culture brings its own unique musical language, which I incorporate into my compositions, creating a rich tapestry of sounds.
Ultimately, "MOMENTS OF BEAUTY" is a celebration of life's richness and diversity, inspired by the countless experiences and encounters that have shaped my journey. It is my way of expressing gratitude for the beauty that surrounds us and honoring the preciousness of every moment. Through music, I hope to share these sentiments with listeners and inspire them to cherish the beauty in their own lives.

Public relation: Kasey Kitchen
Talent: Omar Akram
Photographer: Storm Santos

7. Your music has garnered international recognition, with sold-out tours in various countries. How do you perceive the universal appeal of your work, and what do you believe resonates most with your diverse audience?

The international recognition and the universal appeal of my music have been incredibly humbling and gratifying. I believe that several factors contribute to the resonance of my work with diverse audiences. Firstly, I strive to create music that speaks to universal human emotions and experiences. Themes of love, loss, hope, and resilience are woven into my compositions, allowing listeners from different backgrounds to find something relatable and meaningful in the music. Secondly, the fusion of diverse musical influences in my work appeals to a wide range of tastes and preferences. Drawing from classical, New Age, world, and electronic genres, I aim to create a musical tapestry that transcends cultural boundaries and speaks to the shared human experience. Additionally, the instrumental nature of much of my music allows for a more universal interpretation and connection. Without lyrics to tie the music to a specific language or narrative, listeners are free to interpret and imbue the music with their own emotions and experiences, making it accessible to people of all backgrounds. Moreover, I believe that authenticity and sincerity resonate deeply with audiences. When listeners sense that a piece of music comes from a place of genuine emotion and passion, they are more likely to connect with it on a profound level. I strive to infuse my compositions with sincerity and authenticity, drawing from my own life experiences and emotions to create music that speaks directly to the heart. Ultimately, I believe that the universal appeal of my music lies in its ability to transcend cultural, linguistic, and geographical barriers, speaking to the shared humanity that unites us all. Whether performing in New York City or Beijing, I have witnessed firsthand the power of music to bring people together, fostering connections and understanding across diverse audiences.

  1. Having explored genres such as electronic music and jazz, how do you navigate the fusion of these influences in your compositions? Could you share insights into your creative process when blending different musical elements?

Blending electronic music, jazz, and New Age is a thrilling creative process. Drawing from each genre's elements, I craft dynamic soundscapes by exploring synthesizers, drum machines, and digital effects for unique grooves. Simultaneously, I infuse jazz's improvisational freedom and harmonic richness into my compositions. Layering electronic textures with jazz-inspired melodies, exemplified in "Mystery" from "Moments of Beauty," creates a dynamic interplay. Embracing serendipitous inspiration, my goal is to craft music that transcends genres, resonating deeply with listeners on an emotional level.

  1. Your journey, transitioning from a classical pianist to an instrumental pop artist, shows a remarkable evolution. How do you balance preserving your classical roots while embracing contemporary aspects of your music?

Transitioning from a classical pianist to an instrumental pop and New Age artist has been a journey of evolution and balance, rooted in both my classical and New Age musical backgrounds. While preserving my classical roots, I embrace contemporary aspects of my music to create a unique fusion. This balance involves respecting classical traditions while incorporating modern production techniques, instrumentation, and song structures. At the core of this balance is a deep appreciation for the fundamentals of classical music, including technique, theory, and composition. These foundational elements, coupled with my New Age and World music influences, inform my approach to crafting melodies, harmonies, and arrangements, lending a sense of sophistication and depth to my compositions. Simultaneously, I embrace the freedom and creativity inherent in instrumental pop, exploring new sounds, rhythms, and styles. This involves experimenting with electronic instruments, studio effects, and contemporary production methods to create fresh and innovative music that resonates with modern audiences. By blending classical elegance with contemporary flair, rooted in my classical and New Age backgrounds, I aim to strike a harmonious balance that honors tradition while pushing artistic boundaries. Each composition becomes a reflection of this balance, seamlessly weaving together elements of the past and present to create music that is both timeless and relevant.

What role do you think music plays in creating memories for your fans, and are there specific stories or messages from your listeners that have left an impact on you?

Music plays a profound role in creating memories for my fans, serving as a soundtrack to their lives and evoking emotions and experiences that become deeply intertwined with my compositions. Whether it's a joyous celebration, a moment of introspection, or a poignant farewell, music has the power to amplify the intensity of our memories and imbue them with a sense of timelessness. One of the most rewarding aspects of being a musician is receiving stories and messages from listeners who share how my music has touched their lives in meaningful ways. These personal anecdotes serve as a constant reminder of the transformative power of music and the profound connections it fosters between artist and audience. Among the countless messages I've received, there are several that have left a lasting impact on me. Stories of listeners finding solace in my music during difficult times, experiencing moments of inspiration and clarity, or forging new connections with loved ones through shared musical experiences are particularly meaningful. One listener shared how a particular composition of mine provided comfort and solace during a period of loss and grief, serving as a source of strength and healing. Another described how my music became the backdrop to a cherished family gathering, creating memories that would be treasured for years to come.

  1. Looking ahead, what artistic aspirations or projects do you have in mind? How do you envision the progression of your musical journey from this point forward?

I'm deeply immersed in the development of a TV workplace comedy, delving into the nuances of humor within the recording studio environment. At the same time, I'm fully committed to unveiling new albums that capture the essence of my ever-evolving artistic vision, aiming to forge deeper connections with audiences worldwide. Whether crafting intimate solo piano compositions or pioneering genre-blending New Age tracks, my dedication remains unwavering: to create music that resonates with the human experience and inspires listeners on a global scale. Essentially, I view my musical journey as a continuous exploration marked by innovation and artistic growth. With each new project and collaboration, I strive to push creative boundaries, foster profound connections with audiences, and make a lasting impact in the realm of music.

  1. If you could give advice to the child, you once were, what would it be?

If I could give advice to the child I once was, it would be to embrace curiosity and never be afraid to explore new passions and interests. I would encourage myself to stay open-minded, to not be discouraged by challenges, and to always believe in my abilities. I would remind

Quality, not quantity

We have made quality our habit. It’s not something that we just strive for – we live by this principle every day.