Omar Cunningham - R&B

Omar Cunningham

Omar Cunningham has a style that is uniquely his own. His lyrics are coated with his smooth voice and his stage presence is mesmerizing. Having up close and personal contact with his fans is all a part of Omar Cunningham’s style. He likes to shake his fans hands and get close while performing so they know they are truly appreciated. To see Omar Cunningham perform is a pure delight and one you won’t forget any time soon. Omar returns now with what will be his best album yet, "Growing Pains" on Soul 1st Records. Growing Pains is hit laden with many great Soul and Blues flavored tracks including the lead single, "I'm Your Maintenance Man." Look out for hits such as 'What You Want With My Mama",  " If We Can't Get Along", "That's A Lie" and 'Let Me See You Shake Your Jelly." Omar’s epic CD “Time Served “produced by Soul1st Records is flavored with song such as “My Life” which tells of how he made it through hard times growing up in Gadsden, Alabama to become the artist and man he is today with strong maternal family support. “Just the Right Woman”, which is one of Omar’s favorites, tells of a man finally finding that right lady. “Same Soap” is definitely a song men and women will relate to if they have experienced creeping on their lover and having to go home after such encounters. Omar does an update of his 2003 monster hit “Check to Check” with “Check to Check 2008”which adds a new funkier soul track produced by R&B veteran producer Robert Harris that will have the clubs jumping. “This Old Music” is a fun party track reminiscing about the good old days of soul m music and a sure hit to come. On the personal side, Omar belts out the soulful ballads “Ain’t Nothing Changed” and “Beauty Shop”, both chronicling the ups and downs of relationships from inside and outside of the relationship.” If You Want Me” will take fans back to the days of Marvin Gaye as Omar croons for his woman to tell him what she wants. Omar brings it home with the inspirational “Without You” in which he gives praise to the man above for bringing him through the trials and tribulations in life. Each track on this CD is a standout on its own merit, including the danceable “That My Jam” heart-tugging ballad, “So Confused”. Omar teams mostly with Robert Harris to produce most of the tracks, but really made this album one with his personal touch of songs that will keep his legion of Southern Soul fans happy and open the door to R&B fans across the board. “Time Served” is well served for the fans. There is a little something for everyone included in this CD. While it is hard to pick just one song to call your favorite, Omar has his, which are “That’s My Jam” and “Just the Right Woman”. I don’t know how he made a choice, as they are all hot! Don’t just take my word for it, to experience his talent just listen to his current CD “Time Served” released January29, 2008 on the Soul1st Records Label, you definitely won’t be disappointed.

GETTING STARTED

Born in Gadsden, Alabama Omar Cunningham developed a love for music early in his childhood as he spent much of his time surrounded by music and great musicians. His grandmother ran a boarding house that played host to the likes of Fats Domino in his touring days. Others such as blues great Jerry “Boogie” McCain, would even record in the basement of the boarding house. While it is clear Omar Cunningham was exposed to world of music, his first opportunity to sing came in 1978 at the age of 9 in church, a performance he still cherish to this day. As a young kid, Omar spent much of his youth surrounded by music. His mother dated a bass player for a band in Tuskegee, Alabama, a band that went on to become The Commodores. Omar’s desires to take his talents to the world started taking shape shortly after, he lived across the street from a club that featured many local bands. Although he was too young to get in the club, he would sit outside and listen to each night’s performance. One night he approached a popular local band named Daybreak after a show and showed them a small sample of his vocal abilities. The band was impressed but already had a singer; still, they kept him in mind. Not long after, the band lost its singer and it was Omar’s time to take the microphone. While touring with the band every weekend, he quickly honed his entertainer skills. Following his years of performing with the band, Omar moved on to the recording studio. There, he collaborated with former band mates on projects such as the triple-platinum song “Dazzey Duks” by Duice in 1992 and Cameo’s 1994 album, “In The Face of Funk”. It was while working the latter project that he joined the singing group Small Town Boys opening up for several Cameo shows and later played trumpet in Cameo’s horn section. After this gig ended, he continued solo and opened for such national acts as B. Angie B. and Silk in the late 90’s. After a brief hiatus, Omar has focused on his roots and the blues legends that influenced him. Returning to the studio, he has worked to bring a fresh sound to the blues world, a sound that blends soul and gospel with honest situations and playful lyrics. Omar stated in an interview with JSU: “Everybody has, at one point in time, had the blues, so if you make if through the blues you’ve got to be thankful to God that He brought you from one point to another. So, I sing blues but I’ve got to say that my first love is gospel music and everything that I’m able to do comes from God. In my songs, I’m just telling some of the hardships that I’ve been through and some hardships that my friends have been through, and I’m thankful to God that I made it.” Now a member of the Soul1st Music Entertainment family Omar has blended these two sounds and worlds beautifully. When asked about how he feels joining the “Soul1st Music family he has this to say: “I feel like I’m free to be the artist I am and grow because I am home with Soul1st. These guys are some of the people who helped give me my start in this business and now I can help them with a new label that I can help grow into a major force in the music industry. I strongly believe we will grow into one of the most respected labels anywhere.”

ACCOMPLISHMENT

Omar Cunningham is definitely a gifted brother. Not only is he one of the hottest soul blues singers of his time; he is also a talented songwriter. He wrote or co-wrote every song on his CD and he is also a former member of Jacksonville State University’s Gospel Choir as well as an accomplished author of You Be The Judge (Trafford, 2002), which are about his experiences as a police officer. Omar has enjoyed the success of three albums, “Hell At The House” which was released on the On Top imprint in 2003 and featured artistic input from Sir Charles Jones amongst others, and his self-entitled CD Omar Cunningham and Worth The Wait released on the EndZone Entertainment record label in 2004 and 2005, respectfully. All CDs, Hell At The House, Omar Cunningham, and Worth The Wait have yielded number 1 and number 2 singles, on the soul and blues chart, and Omar Cunningham has been nominated for several Jackson Music Awards in his short but exciting career. Billboard Magazine also listed Omar Cunningham’s first album released on the On Top imprint in 2003 titled Hell At The House, at about number 80. Billboard also stated that Omar Cunningham is the first black artist whose first blues CD has made its national chart. They also listed his CD in its Top 20 Blues category. LATEST NEWS As he embarks on the new year with his new release for 2008, Omar is looking to expand his touring to more parts of the United States and abroad while continuing to write for other artists. One of Omar Cunningham’s biggest moments in his career to date was being able to perform on the finale night of the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival with Alicia Keys in Montego Bay. Other performers were: India Arie, Nancy Wilson, Kenny Rogers, Michael McDonald, Bobby Womack, and Cassandra Wilson. While Omar was the only one in the show who hasn’t received a Grammy, he was honored to be able to share the stage with these phenomenonal entertainers. Omar has also had the pleasure of performing with Bobby Bland, his mentor Willie Clayton, The Manhattans, Shirley Brown, Mel Waiters, Theodis Ealey, Calvin Richardson, Wilson Meadows, Jackie Neal, and a host of others. He has even has a chance to welcome a new up and coming star Yela Wolf from the Missy Elliott reality show Road To Stardom. Keep an eye out for Mr. Omar Cunningham as wonderful things are happening for him and he is surely one of the most promising stars on the rise to greatness. Visit www.soul1st.com.