In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, the multi-talented Omar Apollo graced NPR’s Tiny Desk on Thursday (Sept. 15) — not only performing a handful of hits off his latest record Ivory, but paying homage to his roots as a Mexican-American superstar.
Opening with a rendition of “En El Olivido,” the Apolonio singer’s live sets are always striking upon first listen. Refreshing and transcendent every time he grips the mic, Apollo is absolute joy to watch — channeling the gloomy, isolated soundscapes of his art with a full band behind him.
Crammed into the makeshift concert nook at NPR’s office, the bedroom pop-crooner’s skills are otherworldly in itself. He possesses a raw soul and positive energy that consistently captivates new and old listeners alike — transforming Tiny Desk into an intimate, immersive concert experience with his vocals starring as the main attraction.
Known to be a multi-instrumentalist, Apollo lets his voice and personality carry the weight of this performance. His humble beginnings as a Midwestern suburban kid from Hobart, Indiana highlight his joyful radiance and down to earth aura. However, his music speaks volumes to the internal battles and sadness he struggles with, as Ivory’s iridescent display of warm melodies and melancholic undertones provide a greater sense of character to his Tiny Desk performance.
First evident in his appearance on Kenny Beats’ “The Cave” — lending his voice to his debut album Louie — Omar’s fluency in Spanish and roots in his culture not only give him an international appeal, but ultimately feeds his homegrown nature — asking the audience members how they’re doing, smiling throughout and thanking his band several times as the performance winded down. He’s toured in Mexico and recently had a jubilant Mexico City show that brought in the tens of thousands in June.
Apollo checks off every box when it comes to his capabilities as a singer-songwriter-instrumentalist. Utilizing contemporary rap flavors with his limitless vocal range, he primarily channels smooth-toned funk and soul elements with splashes of R&B. Flamenco guitars and cultural affluent interpolations also scatter throughout his discography. Proudly flaunting his roots at every turn, Apollo uplifts Tiny Desk in celebration of Latinx Heritage Month.
Watch Omar Apollo’s Tiny Desk below!