With debut album, Omar Apollo now understands ‘what it is I want to say’

Grammy-nominated for best new artist, the Indiana native is giving back to the Latino community that has supported him in his music career.

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Omar Apollo attends the 2022 MTV VMAs in Newark, New Jersey. The artist headlines the Aragon Ballroom on Nov. 30. 

Omar Apollo attends the 2022 MTV VMAs in Newark, New Jersey. The artist headlines the Aragon Ballroom on Nov. 30.

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Singer-songwriter Omar Apollo inspires his fans through his songwriting and the music genres he delivers, from retro-soul to R&B and even corridos. The young artist is also a 2023 Grammy Award nominee for best new artist.

Born in Hobart, Indiana, Apollo remembers taking the train for day trips to Chicago with his friends. His first open mike was Chance the Rapper’s Open Mike at Harold Washington Library event.

The son of Mexican immigrants, Apollo has used his burgeoning career to be a voice for mental health and social causes.

Untitled

Omar Apollo — The Prototype Tour

When: 7:45 p.m. Nov. 30

Where: Aragon Ballroom, 1106 W Lawrence Ave.

Tickets: $130, general admission/standing room only

Info: concerts.livenation.com

In his debut album “Ivory,” released in April, Apollo reveals himself musically and personally as exemplified by ballads of love, bad decisions and relationships. “Evergreen (You Didn’t Deserve Me At All)” is a global hit song about pleading to past loves, grieving, and understanding self-worth.

Apollo feels like he learned how to make an album with the debut release. “I understand (now) what it is I want to say, what it is I want to do,” he said. “From the textures, sounds, vocals, feelings and emotions. I have a bird’s-eye view now.”

Apollo went from the cold Indiana winters in his garage, wearing gloves while he tried to record his vocals, to working at top music studios with the New York musicians he’s looked up to his whole life.

“It really prepared me to just want to keep making more albums. Try to make them perfect ... but in my way,” he said.

Apollo recently partnered with Buchanan’s Whisky and the company’s mission to commit $1 million in donations and grants to support the Latino artistic and business community over the next five years with the Futuro Fund. Chicago businesses in the partnership include DishRoulette Kitchen, Plant Shop Chicago, and Taco Sublime.

“I feel like it was a no-brainer,” said Apollo on the Buchanan’s partnership. “They’ve been supporting local Latino business owners, and once I found out about all the businesses we were going to help, I just wanted to help in any way I could.”

Apollo has met with the Belizean- and Mexican-owned Plant Shop Chicago and Honduran-Mexican taco truck Taco Sublime. “Talking with these businesses about how they help their communities was great to hear,” he said.

Apollo’s parents immigrated to the U.S. from Guadalajara, Mexico. While visiting these businesses and non-profit groups, he remembered when his parents opened their own store and the difficulty they faced that eventually led to their store closing. “If there was something like Futuro Fund back then, maybe they would have helped my parents,” he said. “Community is the biggest thing for me.”

The transition from Indiana to Los Angeles impacted him musically, thanks of the cultural impact of being surrounded by Latino voices and other creatives.

. “Bringing people together and helping each other brings confidence and having ideas and executing creative endeavors. I’m grateful for the people around me; without them things would crumble.”

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