Valerie Omari is quickly becoming one of the defining voices of today’s contemporary R&B music, and she is poised to break down genre barriers. She is a talented singer and songwriter known for her R&B and Hip-Hop-influenced sound.
Valerie released her debut EP Therefore I Am in September 2019, following the success of her first single, Just Like The Rain, in 2018, which became Audiomack‘s top trending R&B song, garnering over 60 000 streams in its first week. Her debut EP received positive feedback from fans and critics alike, including Afropop producer Kel-P Vibes, who has worked with Burna Boy and Wizkid. This lead her to quickly learn that to stay grounded and focused in the music industry, she needed to surround herself with people who have always had her best interests at heart. As a result of this, Valerie’s 2020 took a dramatic turn when she was named Apple Music Artist of the Month, which led to her signing a distribution deal with Platoon Africa.
She has released two lead singles from the upcoming project Closure under Platoon, If I Tried featuring The Rabbi Himself and For You featuring Atlanta’s talented Myke Grizzly. We caught up with Valerie to chat more about her musical journey, love and the upcoming project Closure.
Thank you so much for making time to chat to us. Just a little ice-breaker before we get into the interview… Let’s see what kind of texter you are. What are your top 5 top emojis on your phone right now?
[VALERIE OMARI]: This is a trap to get me into trouble lol (laugh out loud) but here is it 😂👀💀🌚🍑
Hahaha that wasn’t bad! Now let’s get into it. So, tell us about your childhood & upbringing – where did you grow up and what was it like?
[VALERIE OMARI]: I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. I think my parents did a really good job of making me feel like I didn’t really lack anything as a kid. Even though we grew up less fortunate than most kids around for the majority of my early childhood. Cape Town is and will always be a special place to me. My home away from home. If I closed my eyes right now, I could highlight, on one hand, horrible moments that took place as a kid, but outside that? I think I got to be a child. I played outside and I got a whole bunch of bruises to show for it too.
And what about your relationship with music? Paint a picture for us about the moment you fell in love with music.
[VALERIE OMARI]: I fell In love with music, the moment I knew what music sounded like. My father recorded so many memories of all my siblings growing up. So I always stumbled on images/videos of me singing or attempting to, well before I could speak.
It looks like you’ve been destined to be doing what you are doing right now – beautiful! Looking back from when you started dropping music, how would you describe your breakout story?
[VALERIE OMARI]: I think my first EP launched me into the industry. That was my first body of work to show the world what I do. And that’s exactly what I did. Big thank you to everyone who laid hands on that project too. They all were fundamental to my growth.
With the journey you’ve walked, what has been the highlight of your musical career so far?
[VALERIE OMARI]: Every chapter is a highlight to me. No exaggeration. I think anyone who knows me personally knows how sensitive I am for every accomplishment. It has a lot to do with knowing the effort I took to complete it. Some of the tears are on behalf of the producers and everyone else who assisted in my career. One thing that does stand out, was me being able to move to the United States, blindly, trusting my craft and my career to take me to where my seat is patiently waiting. Moving away from home has taught me so much about how impulsively driven and motivated I am to succeed.
Your latest EP Closure is coming up – we’re SOOO EXCITED! What’s the story behind the EP – why the name and what inspired it?
[VALERIE OMARI]: Urg, yes. Another love EP. Lol. Well not entirely. The tone of this EP picks up just that, closure. The EP title came to me weeks ago. After a public break-up and having to deal with things privately, I felt like the music was my only form of communication to everyone around me without feeling like people were invading my privacy with questions. Now I get to put it in music that my ex will have to hear for the rest of his life. How beautiful.
Hahaha truly beautiful! Who did you work with on Closure and why did you choose to work with them specifically?
[VALERIE OMARI]: Closure has 3 features. I wanted to be able to achieve reach with this EP. All three artists on my EP, I personally have never met. We had social media music chemistry and I, therefore, kept somewhat of a relationship with all three. I worked with an artist called Shamlo from Belgium. He’s a powerhouse French singer that I needed in order to compliment a song titled Never Know on the EP (which happens to be the leading single). Myke Grizzly and The Rabbi Himself, are both incredible songwriters and producers. Myke resides in Georgia and The Rabbi in Johannesburg. What was interesting about working with them, was being able to be blessed with production advice and input. All three were a joy to work with and I can not wait to work with them in the future.
When is Closure dropping and what can our readers expect from the whole project?
[VALERIE OMARI]: Closure is set to be released on March 10th 2023. I can’t believe I’m actually saying this right now. That’s insane! The listeners are going to be in for an emotional roller coaster filled with questions. That’s all I can say. One thing I am certain about is that they’ll for sure appreciate the growth and time I took away to bring something a little more diverse.
Any advice for rising talent that aspire to be like you?
[VALERIE OMARI]: Don’t look back. Release that work. Those two phrases have helped me so much not being so picky about every little detail on each song. Perfectionism is such a disease for me. This only applies to music though lol. So, to anyone reading this, take that risk.
Can we expect a full tour from you this year?
[VALERIE OMARI]: I hope my entire team will see this because this is sitting on my top 5 New Year’s resolutions. I however am not in a rush. I want the world to see me put my best foot forward and if that requires more work, I am prepared to do it.
Before we wrap up the interview, we just came from celebrating Valentine’s Day – which songs did you have on rotation on the day?
[VALERIE OMARI]: I had the entire Apple Music Now R&B on rotation. I love holidays like these that make it exciting for so many artists to put out work so that I can sit back and shuffle through so many new artists like myself.
And lastly, if the genre R&B was a superhero, what kind of powers do you think it would have?
[VALERIE OMARI]: Rapid Healing for sure. The ability to just forget pain really quickly. That would be such an advantage in order to refocus and move forward. You know, get things done without any emotional distractions.
100% get it! This was such a fun interview – thanks again for “hanging out” with us. We’re counting down to the 11th of March because we’ll be jamming to Closure until until lol!