Xavier Omär’s transcendent masterpiece “Hours Spent Loving You” was the moment that set the tone for every vibe we’ve experienced with the incredibly talented singer from San Antonio who’s back with his highly anticipated new album “if You Feel” out today.
If you’re happily boo’d up, entangled with someone else’s boo, staring at unanswered texts at 3:47 am or fighting the urge to text your ex, there’s something for you in Omär’s essential catalog that gave us undeniable gems like “Blind Man” infused with genuine emotion missing from millennial R&B.
With a successful tour in the books and steadily growing fanbase, the silky-smooth savant moved to the next chapter of his career in February of this year when he recorded “if You Feel” on the heels of an early first-anniversary celebration with his wife.
The 11-track opus (featuring Masego, Mereba, Jae Stephens and Quinn Barlow) explores Omär’s contrasting journeys through love, inner-turmoil and religion – coming to fruition where the three meet.
“Love is prevalent in my life, but there’s a myriad of things I have not dealt with internally,” he explains. “This album means finding a moment for every emotion I may have, whether in love, friendship, or how I feel about myself, and allowing myself to fully feel that emotion even if it’s negative. If I’m able to feel then I need to feel the fullness of each emotion to either keep it with me or learn from it.”
We caught up with Xavier who gave us insight into his latest project (with some enjoyable pitstops along the way) that’s sure to get you through late quarantine nights and early mornings.
What can we expect from the new album and what what are you expecting as far as the reaction to it?
I expect the reaction to vary, to be honest with you, not because I’m not confident in the music but because I know what people think I am or expect from me, and I’ve never quite been any of those things.
So, people who are legitimate fans of me and, you know, if you listen to “The Everlasting Wave,” there’s 8 different styles of R&B on that project. If you listen to “Hours/Moments Spent Loving You,” obviously, those are kinda out-the-box R&B for the most part as well.
I can do conventional and traditional R&B-style records but I tend to not because R&B isn’t the main style music I listen to so, what I’m most influenced by, those are the things that will show up on the project.
Because the sound does vary so much the reaction might as well but I do expect the people who ride with me, who’ve been listening to me for years–I think they’re gonna love it because, to me, it’s absolutely the best project I’ve ever put together.
It’s my most personal, because I stepped outside of just love–I talk about things on my mind and in my heart. I looked in the mirror and put it on a song and I think that relates even more to people because, obviously, people want relationships but everybody’s not in that headspace all the time.
But something that everybody can definitely relate to is being in your head about your own self. We all get that point but, to me, it’s my best work and I expect that the people who are absolute fans of me–they’re gonna love it.
So, if I’m making a mixtape for my quarantine boo and we can’t see each other–I need you to give me some songs from your catalog that I should put on it.
So, it this an established relationship? What are you trying to do?
This is like… you know, I saw her on Instagram and she lives in, say, San Antonio–where you’re from.
And I live in Atlanta and we bond over our pandemic issues. It’s a budding relationship, potentially, for when outside reopens.
Ok, let me see, you have to start with “Blind Man.” So, we start there. Let’s see.
You could put “Grown Woman” on there.
Obviously, “So Much More” will be on there as well. So you let her know what’s good.
Which should go on there off the new joint?
Man, let me think about that, I would just I would say “Like I Feel” — depending on how it’s going I’d say “SURF” and then “Lil Healing”
I want to put you on the spot and I’ve already picked somebody for you to go against. Who would you pick for a Verzuz battle?
I haven’t thought about that but I also want to be realistic about the level that I’m on, the fan bases and all that stuff–I don’t want to be ridiculous.
I would go up against my best friend ELHAE because I love his music. I love what he does. And we’re around the same area in our career, around the same time, but yea, I would say ELHAE–he’s the only person I would confidently go in and know I’m not going to get destroyed.
See, I’m putting you up against Daniel Ceasar.
And that’s what I was saying about fanbases because his is just way more.
Don’t sleep on yourself now. Come on now.
If you do want to say just the music. Just the music alone. Well, I would take that-I think I would outlast, I think I could win that.
How has your creative process been during this time–the pandemic? Has it been better? Worse? You know, what’s it been like for you as an artist?
So I have made probably 90 percent of all the music I’ve dropped at my house so I was actually really, really excited and a little bit scared to do that session in L.A. Well, stay in L.A. for the month.
But once I got into it I really started to enjoy it because what I needed next in my career, next in my life as an artist, is just being around other people and their energy as we were making records.
It was cool to just be around other people, hear different melodies or whatever it may be, and just as I’m getting used to that it gets taken away from me and now I’m thrown back to what I’m used to and I don’t like it anymore.
So I’m at the crib and don’t want to work, for the most part, but because I am, you know, pretty much used to doing this, I was able to get back into the groove of what I do.
And I kept some of those elements, like maybe this time I couldn’t be face-to-face with people but I could Facetime and just talk back and forth.
But, more than anything, I just locked right back in to finish the project and loved those records.
I’m really, really happy with the result–it turned out the way that I wanted as far as just being with people every session but all the music turned out in a way that I’m really proud of
How was your recent touring experience–growing, developing and seeing people who know all the words to your music?
So Atlanta, in particular, is one of my favorite cities because a lot of my family lives in Georgia, number one, but also, secondly, because they always just give extra energy.
So I’ve done three shows or four, if you count the Milk & Cookies festival, and every time it’s just great. Obviously, when family’s around you want to do even better so those shows might even be higher quality but also when you’re in a city that does show so much love you feel on top of the world.
It really is crazy and I tried specifically this tour to remember to take moments on stage where I was just enjoying the show rather than just running the show in my head and just performing it.
I think that what I do on stage, as well as the music that I make, is something that can help people in their lives day-to-day so I just want to continue to make that impact.
You talked about the connective tissue between lead single “So Much More” and your last album (“Moments Spent Loving You”) but I want to actually get into the project that started it all–“Hours Spent Loving You.” How did you get into that vibe and a make a classic?
Well, I don’t know, because to be quite honest with you, that’s not really my feel, my style. I love things that have a lot of juxtaposition to where it may have some chill to it but it’s really aggressive which we were able to do on “Hours Spent Loving You.”
So, I followed the lead of Sango and his production and what he was hearing, what he was feeling and just went through–because we didn’t actually get to work in person at all for that project. So I was just going through folders and listening to some of the beats so a handful of those titles were already named. He already named the beat.
So, yeah, I just followed his lead, to be honest with you and then I had a lot–a whole lot to say–especially at that time in my life so with the way things were going for me emotionally, and I was just able to channel that into his production really great for that time.
So yea, I give all that credit to him.