Pianist Omar Akram Takes Us On A Musical Journey With His New Album, Moments Of Beauty

Pianist Omar Akram Takes Us On A Musical Journey With His New Album, Moments Of Beauty
World-renowned and Grammy-Award-winning pianist Omar Akram is once again nominated for his latest album, MOMENTS OF BEAUTY. As the son of an Afghan diplomat for the United Nations, Akram’s music has transcended borders, touching the hearts of music lovers worldwide. His interest in music began at 14 when he learned to play piano from a member of the Prague Symphony Orchestra, who just happened to be one of the best teachers in the country.   
When Akram was living in Cuba, he became immersed in the country’s vibrant culture, a journey that would shape his musical style. The musicians would let him sit in with them, a testament to his talent and dedication. After returning to the US, he drew inspiration from electronic music and jazz, which resulted in his evolution from classical pianist to instrumental pop. In 2013, he became the first Afghan American to win a Grammy for the same category with his album ECHOES OF LOVE, a milestone that inspires musicians worldwide.

Moments of Beauty, a testament to the emotional depth of Omar Akram’s music, perfectly aligns with themes of gratitude. Each composition reflects upon the gift and preciousness of life and the joyful and challenging moments the passage of time can bring. His music has created numerous memories for fans, with multiple Billboard charting records and sold-out tours throughout the USA, England, France, and China, touching the hearts of listeners worldwide. 

The team at ELETOM had the privilege of chatting with Omar Akram about his career, the meaning of gratitude, and the power of expression.

1. When did your journey as a composer and pianist begin, and at what point in your life did you discover that this would be the path to your career?
My journey as a composer and pianist began in childhood. Growing up in Prague, Czech Republic, my parents introduced me to the piano at a young age. They recognized my passion for music and enrolled me in piano lessons with a renowned teacher who performed with the Prague Symphony. Under her guidance, I delved into the world of classical music, immersing myself in the timeless compositions of renowned composers.

During these formative years, I discovered my deep connection to music and realized that it would be the path to my career. The piano became not just an instrument but a means of expression through which I could convey my emotions, thoughts, and experiences. As I honed my skills and explored different musical styles, composing music allowed me to tap into my creativity and share my unique voice with the world.

2. Your father worked for the United Nations, giving you the fantastic opportunity to travel and live in different parts of the world. How did this exposure to other cultures shape your identity as an artist?
Living in different countries allowed me to immerse myself in vibrant cultural landscapes, each offering its unique music, art, and customs. From Prague’s historic streets to New York City’s bustling streets and the vibrant rhythms of Havana, Cuba, I encountered a kaleidoscope of sights, sounds, and experiences that ignited my curiosity and broadened my perspective on the world. These multicultural influences deeply informed my approach to music and composition. Drawing inspiration from the music of different cultures, I began to incorporate diverse rhythms, melodies, and instruments into my compositions, creating a sound that reflected the richness and diversity of the world around me. In essence, my upbringing in a multicultural environment, spanning from Prague to New York City to Havana, instilled in me a deep appreciation for diversity, a spirit of exploration, and a commitment to using music to bridge cultures and foster harmony in an interconnected world.

3. You were the first Afghan-American to win a Best New Age Album Grammy in 2013. What did this award mean to you?
Winning the Grammy for Best New Age Album in 2013 was an incredibly significant and humbling in my career. As the first Afghan-American artist in the world to receive this honor, it was a moment of immense pride and validation for myself, the Afghan-American community, and artists from diverse backgrounds worldwide. This award culminated years of hard work, dedication, and artistic exploration. It was a testament to the power of music to transcend borders, unite people, and break down barriers. Winning the Grammy reminded us that music can connect us profoundly, regardless of our cultural or linguistic differences. Moreover, the Grammy win opened doors to new opportunities and elevated my profile as an artist on the global stage. It provided a platform to share my music with a broader audience and amplify the message of unity, peace, and cultural understanding at the heart of my work.

4. What inspired your latest album, ‘Moments of Beauty’? Was there a specific moment you can recall when you knew you would create a new album?
The inspiration behind my latest album, “Moments of Beauty,” stemmed from a deeply personal place, reflecting on cherished memories, fleeting moments, and the profound beauty found in everyday life. One particular moment stands out as a catalyst for the album’s creation. During a family dinner in the picturesque town of Solvang, CA, the warmth of the moment and the nostalgia of reminiscing about my childhood dinners sparked a creative spark within me. As I sat with my children, surrounded by love and laughter, I felt deeply grateful for the beauty of that moment and the passage of time.

From there, the “Moments of Beauty” concept began to take shape. Each composition reflected the ordinary yet extraordinary moments that make life meaningful – from the gentle caress of a summer breeze to the radiant glow of a sunrise. It was a labor of love, infused with personal anecdotes, emotions, and reflections on the passage of time. Ultimately, “Moments of Beauty” is a testament to the transformative power of ordinary moments infused with passion, creativity, and gratitude. I hope that listeners will find solace, inspiration, and a renewed appreciation for the beauty that surrounds them in their own lives.

5. What does gratitude mean to you, and how did gratitude influence your album ‘Moments of Beauty’?
To me, gratitude is a profound appreciation for the blessings, experiences, and relationships in our lives, big and small. It’s about recognizing and acknowledging the abundance of beauty, love, and joy surrounding us, even amid challenges or adversity. Gratitude is a transformative force that can shift our perspective, cultivate resilience, and deepen our connections with ourselves and others. Gratitude was central to shaping my album “Moments of Beauty.” Each composition was infused with gratitude for the ordinary yet extraordinary moments that make life meaningful – from the warmth of a family dinner to the tranquility of a quiet morning. Through music, I sought to express my appreciation for the beauty found in everyday experiences and the passage of time. In crafting the album, I approached each composition with a heart full of gratitude, allowing it to guide the creative process and infuse the music with sincerity and depth. Whether reflecting on cherished memories or contemplating the fleeting nature of life, gratitude served as a guiding light, illuminating the beauty inherent in every moment. Ultimately, “Moments of Beauty” is a musical expression of gratitude – a tribute to the richness of life and the countless blessings surrounding us. I hope listeners will be inspired to cultivate their gratitude and find beauty in the simple joys of everyday living.

6. As a young man, you had the opportunity to learn piano from a member of the Prague Symphony Orchestra in the Czech Republic. What was that experience like, and how pivotal was it in forming your love for music? 
As a young man, I had the privilege of receiving piano lessons from a teacher who served as a principal performer at the Prague Symphony Orchestra. This experience was profoundly influential, shaping my love for music. Under her guidance, I delved into classical music, honing my skills and developing a deep appreciation for the artistry behind each piece. This pivotal moment ignited a passion for music that inspired me on my musical journey.

7. The music videos for your songs feature a wide range of visuals and stories. What does the creative process of making one of your videos entail?
Creating music videos with mostly preexisting footage typically involves selecting relevant clips from stock footage libraries that match the song’s theme and mood. These clips are then edited and arranged to create a cohesive visual narrative that complements the music. Visual effects, transitions, and overlays may be added to enhance the video’s overall look and feel. Throughout the editing process, synchronization between the music and visuals is crucial to ensure a seamless and immersive experience for the viewer.

8. Who have been some of your inspirations throughout the years?
Throughout my musical journey, I’ve drawn inspiration from diverse artists and cultural influences. Some of my inspirations include classical composers like Beethoven and Chopin, whose timeless melodies continue to captivate audiences worldwide. I’ve also been influenced by New Age electronic musicians such as Jean Michel Jarre and Vangelis, whose innovative approach to blending genres has shaped my creative style. Additionally, my travels worldwide have exposed me to a rich tapestry of musical traditions, from the rhythmic beats of Cuban salsa to the haunting melodies of Indian classical music, all of which have left a lasting imprint on my compositions. Overall, the diversity of human expression and the universal language of music continues to inspire and drive my artistic endeavors.

9. We love celebrating the magic of expression and the power of community here at ELETOM. How has community influenced your career, and how vital is expression to you?
The community has played a significant role in shaping my career as a musician. The support, encouragement, and collaboration within the musical community have been instrumental in my growth and success. Whether connecting with fellow artists, collaborating on projects, or engaging with fans, the sense of belonging and camaraderie has provided invaluable inspiration and motivation. Expression is at the core of everything I do as an artist. It’s the driving force behind my music, allowing me to convey emotions, tell stories, and connect with listeners profoundly and personally. Through my compositions and performances, I strive to express the beauty, complexity, and depth of human experience, inviting others to share in moments of reflection, joy, and inspiration. Expression is not just important to me—it’s essential. It fuels my creativity and drives me to explore new sounds, ideas, and perspectives in my work.
10. What’s next for Omar Akram? Can you share any new and exciting projects or albums with our readers?

Looking ahead, I’m thrilled about my collaboration on a workplace comedy TV show offering a fresh perspective. Additionally, I’m actively crafting a new album in the realm of music, exploring innovative themes and global influences. I’m also eager to connect with audiences through live performances and virtual events. I’m excited about what’s to come, so stay tuned for updates on new projects and albums!

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