Palazzo Magazine

As an award-winning pianist, composer, and internationally renowned artist, Omar Akram has not only influenced the world of music but also inspired numerous individuals worldwide.

Beyond the stage and studio recordings, Omar grants us an intimate glimpse behind the scenes of his life, health, fitness, and his latest projects. Omar is not only a master of his craft but also an advocate for a holistic lifestyle centered around health, well-being, and personal growth.

It is an honor to share this time with such a talented and inspiring artist.

Q: Can you give us an insight into your life outside of music? What are your interests and passions beyond the world of music?

Outside of music, I lead a diverse life filled with various interests and passions. I find solace and rejuvenation by immersing myself in the tranquil beauty of the ocean. Whether it’s taking leisurely walks along the shore, marveling at the vastness of the sea, or simply enjoying the calming presence of the waves, the ocean offers a soothing escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

In addition to my love for the ocean, I am an avid reader with a deep appreciation for literature. Exploring captivating stories and thought-provoking essays allows me to engage my imagination and broaden my perspective on the world.

I also have a passion for culinary adventures and cultural exploration. I enjoy savoring diverse cuisines from around the world and immersing myself in different cultural traditions through visits to museums, art galleries, and cultural festivals.

In essence, my life outside of music is characterized by a sense of curiosity, a thirst for knowledge, and a passion for exploration, whether it’s by the ocean’s edge, within the pages of a book, or through the diverse experiences offered by different cultures and creative projects.

Q: How did your musical journey actually begin?

As a child growing up in Prague, Czech Republic, I was full of boundless energy, prompting my parents to introduce me to the piano. Recognizing my enthusiasm for music, they enrolled me in piano lessons with a renowned teacher who also performed with the Prague Symphony. Under her guidance, I embarked on a journey into the world of classical music, immersing myself in the timeless compositions of renowned composers. These early experiences laid the groundwork for my musical development, igniting a lifelong passion for the piano and sparking the beginning of my musical journey.

Q: Your music is often described as “world music.” What does this term mean to you personally, and how do you integrate various cultural influences into your compositions?

The term “world music” holds profound significance for me as it reflects the universal language of music that transcends cultural boundaries. Personally, it signifies a celebration of cultural diversity and the rich tapestry of musical traditions from around the globe.

In my compositions, I strive to integrate various cultural influences by drawing inspiration from a wide array of musical traditions. Growing up in a multicultural environment and being fluent in multiple languages have deeply influenced my musical style. I seamlessly weave together elements from different cultures, incorporating traditional instruments, rhythms, and melodies into my compositions.

Each composition becomes a canvas where I paint with a palette of global influences, creating a sound that is both harmonious and eclectic. Whether it’s infusing Middle Eastern melodies, Asian rhythms, or African percussion, I aim to create music that resonates with listeners from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Moreover, my compositions often reflect themes of unity, shared humanity, and cultural exchange. By embracing and celebrating cultural diversity through music, I hope to foster connections and understanding among people from different parts of the world.

In essence, “world music” represents not just a genre but a philosophy - a recognition of the interconnectedness of cultures and the power of music to bridge divides and foster harmony. It is an integral part of my creative identity, guiding me to explore new horizons and create music that reflects the richness and diversity of the world we live in.

Q: What role does your Afghan heritage play in your music and creative work?

My Afghan heritage plays a fundamental role in shaping my music and creative work, serving as a rich source of inspiration and influence. Growing up in a multicultural environment with Afghan roots has deeply influenced my artistic identity and the thematic elements present in my compositions.

From a musical standpoint, my Afghan heritage infuses my work with distinct melodies, rhythms, and instruments characteristic of Afghan music. Traditional Afghan instruments like the Rubab, tabla, and dhol enrich the texture of my compositions, adding layers of authenticity and cultural resonance.

Moreover, my Afghan heritage imbues my music with themes of identity, resilience, and cultural pride. Through my compositions, I strive to celebrate Afghan culture and heritage while also exploring universal themes that resonate with audiences worldwide. This fusion of cultural specificity and universal appeal is a hallmark of my creative approach.

Beyond music, my Afghan heritage informs my creative worldview, influencing my storytelling, visual aesthetics, and overall artistic expression. It serves as a constant source of inspiration, reminding me of the importance of cultural heritage and the power of art to connect people across borders and generations.

In essence, my Afghan heritage is not just a part of my creative work-it is the heart and soul of my artistic identity, guiding me to create music that is authentic, meaningful, and reflective of the diverse tapestry of human experience.

Q: You have received numerous awards and accolades, including a Grammy for Best New Age Album. How have these recognitions influenced your career?

Receiving numerous awards and accolades, including two nominations and a Grammy Award for Best New Age Album, has profoundly influenced my career in several ways. Firstly, these recognitions have validated my artistic journey, affirming the significance and impact of my music within the industry and among peers. They have provided a platform for my work to reach a wider audience and have opened doors to new opportunities for collaboration and artistic exploration.

Moreover, these accolades have bolstered my confidence as a musician and composer, encouraging me to continue pushing creative boundaries and striving for excellence in my craft. They have reinforced my commitment to producing high-quality, emotionally resonant music that connects with listeners on a profound level.

Additionally, these awards have heightened my visibility within the music community and beyond, increasing my credibility as an artist and attracting attention to my body of work. This heightened recognition has led to increased concert attendance, album sales, and media coverage, further elevating my profile as a respected figure in the world of music.

Overall, these awards and accolades have been instrumental in shaping my career trajectory, providing validation, confidence, and visibility that have propelled me forward as an artist and ambassador for the transformative power of music.

Q:Your album “Echoes of Love” was a great success and garnered a wide following. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind this album and the creative process involved?

“Echoes of Love” holds a special place in my heart as it was inspired by the universal theme of love in its various forms. The album explores the depths of human emotions, from the profound connection between partners to the enduring bond between family members and friends. Each composition in “Echoes of Love” is a musical journey that reflects the beauty, complexity, and transformative power of love.

The creative process involved in crafting this album was deeply introspective and emotionally charged. Drawing from personal experiences, observations, and reflections, I sought to capture the essence of love through melodies, harmonies, and rhythms that resonated with listeners on a profound level. Whether it was the tender moments shared between lovers, the joy of companionship, or the bittersweet nostalgia of love lost, each composition was infused with heartfelt emotion and sincerity.

Collaborating with talented musicians and producers like Gregg Karukas and Charlie Bisharat further enriched the creative process, bringing new perspectives and ideas to the table. Together, we explored different musical styles and techniques, pushing artistic boundaries to create a sound that was both evocative and captivating.

Ultimately, “Echoes of Love” is a testament to the enduring power of love to inspire, heal, and unite us as human beings. It is my hope that listeners will find solace, joy, and inspiration in the music, connecting with the universal language of love that transcends cultural and linguistic barriers.

Q:What does your typical creative process look like when composing new music?

My typical creative process when composing new music is deeply personal and intuitive. It often begins with a spark of inspiration-an emotion, a memory, or a fleeting moment of beauty that captures my imagination. From there, I let the music flow organically, allowing melodies to emerge and evolve naturally.

I often start by improvising on the piano or experimenting with different sounds and textures on various instruments. I find that this free-form approach helps me tap into my creative flow and explore different musical ideas without constraint.

As the composition takes shape, I refine and structure the music, shaping it into a cohesive piece that conveys the intended emotion or narrative. This involves experimenting with chord progressions, melodies, rhythms, and dynamics to create a balanced and evocative sound.

Throughout the process, I remain open to inspiration from diverse sources, drawing from my multicultural background, personal experiences, and the world around me. Whether it’s incorporating traditional instruments, exploring unique harmonies, or experimenting with innovative production techniques, I strive to create music that is both authentic and innovative.

Collaboration also plays a significant role in my creative process. Working with other musicians, producers, and songwriters brings fresh perspectives and ideas to the table, enriching the music and expanding its creative potential.

Ultimately, my goal is to create music that resonates with listeners on a deep emotional level, transporting them to a world of beauty, wonder, and inspiration.

Q: You have collaborated with many renowned artists. Is there anyone you particularly enjoyed working with or would like to work with in the future?

Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to collaborate with many talented artists, each contributing their distinct perspective and creative energy. While it’s challenging to pinpoint a favorite collaboration, there are several memorable experiences that come to mind.

One such collaboration was with Grammy-winning producer Walter Afanasieff, known for his work with Celine Dion and Mariah Carey. Our partnership resulted in my album “Destiny.” Walter’s musicality, passion, and dedication to his craft were truly inspiring, and the synergy we shared in the studio was electrifying. Together, we crafted something special that deeply
resonated with audiences.

Looking ahead, I’m eager to explore collaborations with artists I admire. Whether they’re emerging talents pushing boundaries or established icons, the potential for creative partnerships excites me. I thrive on the opportunity to learn, grow, and create alongside fellow musicians who share my passion for music and exploration.

Ultimately, collaboration offers the chance to create something greater than the sum of its parts. Whether it’s with a seasoned musical hero or an up-and-coming talent, I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to collaborate with artists from diverse backgrounds, each bringing their unique voice and perspective to our shared creative endeavors.

Q:What message or emotion do you aim to convey through your music?

Through my music, I aim to convey a range of emotions and messages that resonate with listeners on a deep level. At its core, my music seeks to evoke feelings of peace, tranquility, and introspection. I want listeners to experience moments of serenity and emotional connection, allowing them to escape the stresses of everyday life and find solace in the melodies and rhythms.

Additionally, I strive to convey themes of unity, cultural diversity, and shared humanity. By integrating various musical influences and drawing inspiration from different cultures, I hope to bridge cultural divides and foster a sense of connection among listeners from all backgrounds. Ultimately, I aspire to create music that speaks to the universal human experience, touching hearts and inspiring reflection and understanding.

Q: Live performances are an integral part of many artists’ careers. How do you experience interacting with your audience during your concerts?

Interacting with my audience during live performances is an incredibly rewarding experience for me. It’s a dynamic exchange of energy and emotion that adds a whole new dimension to the music. Seeing the audience’s reactions, whether it’s their smiles, tears, or simply their rapt attention, fuels my own performance and deepens the connection between us.

I love engaging with the audience, whether it’s through sharing stories behind the songs, inviting participation, or simply feeling their presence as I perform. Each concert becomes a unique shared experience, where we embark on a journey together through the music.

Moreover, the feedback and energy I receive from the audience inspire me to give my best on stage, creating a symbiotic relationship that elevates the entire performance. It’s a reminder of the power of music to bring people together, transcending barriers and fostering a sense of unity and belonging.

Q: In addition to the piano, you also play other instruments such as guitar and flute. How does this versatility and your interest in various instruments influence your music?

As a pianist my understanding of multiple instruments greatly influences my approach to music composition. While I primarily play the piano, my knowledge of other instruments allows me to envision how different sounds and textures can come together to create a cohesive musical piece.  For example, I can imagine how a guitar’s rhythmic strumming or a flute’s delicate melodies could enhance a composition, even if I’m not physically playing those instruments.

This broad understanding of various instruments allows me to write music that transcends the limitations of any single instrument. It enables me to compose pieces that are rich in depth and complexity, as I can draw inspiration from the timbres, harmonies, and techniques of different instruments while crafting compositions solely on the piano.

Ultimately, my ability to write for multiple instruments, despite primarily playing the piano, enriches my musical creativity and allows me to explore a wide range of musical possibilities in my compositions.

Q: Your music is often described as meditative and calming. Do you believe that your music has a healing or soothing effect on people, especially in stressful times?

Absolutely, I believe that music has a profound impact on people’s emotional well-being, especially during stressful times. The meditative and calming qualities of my music are intentionally crafted to evoke feelings of peace, tranquility, and relaxation, providing listeners with a soothing escape from the pressures of daily life.

Numerous studies have shown the therapeutic benefits of music, including its ability to reduce stress, anxiety, and even physical pain. By creating compositions that are characterized by gentle melodies, harmonious arrangements, and tranquil rhythms, I aim to create a sonic environment that encourages mindfulness and inner reflection.

During stressful times, such as the ones we often encounter in today’s fast-paced world, music can serve as a powerful tool for self-care and emotional support. Whether it’s through gentle piano melodies, ethereal flute passages, or atmospheric soundscapes, my music seeks to create a space where listeners can find solace, clarity, and a sense of inner peace. 

I’ve been deeply moved by the stories and testimonials from listeners who have shared how my music has helped them navigate difficult moments in their lives, whether it’s coping with loss, overcoming challenges, or simply finding moments of respite amidst chaos. Knowing that my music can have a healing or soothing effect on people is incredibly rewarding and serves as a
constant source of inspiration for me as an artist.

In essence, I believe that music has the power to touch hearts, uplift spirits, and bring comfort to those in need. It’s a privilege to create music that resonates with people on such a deep emotional level, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my art with the world.

Q: How has your musical perspective evolved throughout your career?

Throughout my career, my musical perspective has continuously evolved, shaped by personal growth, artistic exploration, and the dynamic nature of the music industry. I’ve broadened my musical horizons, delving into diverse genres and cultural influences, allowing me to experiment with new sounds and techniques in my compositions. Over time, I’ve honed my artistic voice, delving deeper into themes and emotions that resonate with me, resulting in more authentic and meaningful music. Collaboration has played a pivotal role, enriching my creative process and leading to dynamic and innovative outcomes. I’ve embraced technological advancements, using them as tools for creative expression and pushing the boundaries of my music. Deepening my connection with my audience has been paramount, as I’ve become more attuned to the emotional impact of my music and strive to create music that resonates with their experiences. Above all, my commitment to personal growth and lifelong learning fuels my passion for music, driving me to evolve as an artist with each new project. In essence, my musical perspective is a multifaceted journey of self-discovery, collaboration, and artistic growth, continually unfolding with each composition, performance, and interaction with listeners.

Q: Health and well-being are important aspects of life. How do you integrate healthy habits into your daily life, especially considering the demands of your musical profession?

As a musician, keeping myself healthy is crucial for my success. Even with my busy schedule, I make time for exercise to reduce stress and stay fit. Sleep is super important for me, so I aim for seven to eight hours each night to perform well and recover. To handle the ups and downs of music, I practice mindfulness and spend time outside to stay calm and focused. Setting limits is key to balancing work and life, so I establish boundaries and take care of myself. And if I need support, I’m not afraid to ask friends, family, or professionals for help. By sticking to these habits, I
can keep loving music while looking after myself.

Q: You have recently worked on a new project. Can you tell us about this project and what your fans can expect?

Absolutely! I’m thrilled to offer some insights into my latest endeavors. Currently, I’m deeply immersed in a multifaceted creative journey. Alongside crafting new music for my upcoming album, which I’m particularly excited about, I’m also delving into the world of television as I work on a workplace comedy TV series.

From crafting new music to venturing into television, I’m eager to share these projects with my fans and to see where this journey takes me creatively.

Q: You have explored a wide range of music genres. Is there a particular genre that holds a special place in your heart, and if so, why?

While I’ve delved into various music genres over my career, my primary focus and recognition come from my work as a New Age composer. However, among the diverse genres I’ve explored, one holds a special place in my heart: world music. This genre resonates deeply with me due to its capacity to celebrate cultural diversity and foster connections across different backgrounds through the universal language of music. It allows me to draw upon my own multicultural background, infusing my compositions with a rich tapestry of sounds, rhythms, and melodies from around the globe. World music embodies the spirit of exploration, curiosity, and collaboration that drives my creative journey, complementing my identity as a New Age composer while pushing me to push artistic boundaries and connect with audiences on a profound level.

Q: Do you have specific goals or dreams that you still want to achieve, both in your music career and in your personal life?

Absolutely, I’m continuously driven by both professional aspirations and personal dreams. In my music career, I aspire to continue evolving as an artist, exploring new creative avenues, and pushing the boundaries of my craft. I have goals of collaborating with more artists across diverse genres, reaching new audiences globally, and creating music that resonates deeply with listeners.

On a personal level, I value experiences that bring balance and fulfillment to my life. This includes spending quality time with loved ones, nurturing meaningful relationships, and exploring new cultures and perspectives. I cherish moments with my 9-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter, as their presence brings joy and inspiration to my everyday life.

Additionally, I strive to prioritize health and well-being, incorporating habits that support physical, mental, and emotional wellness. Overall, my goals and dreams span both my music career and personal life, intertwining to create a holistic sense of fulfillment and purpose

Q: Are there specific places or environments that particularly inspire you when composing new music?

Absolutely, certain places and environments have a profound impact on my creative process when composing new music. Nature, in particular, holds a special place in inspiring me. The tranquility of forests, the vastness of the ocean, or the serenity of mountains often provide the perfect backdrop for tapping into my creativity.

Additionally, I find cultural hubs like vibrant cities or historical landmarks to be incredibly inspiring. The energy of bustling streets, the rich tapestry of diverse cultures, and the stories embedded in ancient architecture all fuel my imagination and influence my compositions.

Moreover, personal experiences and moments of introspection are significant sources of inspiration for me. Whether it’s reflecting on cherished memories, navigating life’s challenges, or pondering the complexities of human emotions, these introspective moments often lead to deeply personal and evocative musical creations.

Ultimately, I find inspiration in a variety of places and environments, each offering its own unique blend of sights, sounds, and emotions that spark my creativity and ignite my passion for composing music.

Q: As an artist, you have undoubtedly encountered many challenges and ups and downs. What advice would you give to young aspiring musicians pursuing a similar career?

As an artist who has weathered many challenges and triumphs, I offer this advice to young musicians:
Stay true to yourself: Authenticity is key in creating music that resonates.

Embrace failure as growth: Learn from setbacks to become stronger.

Cultivate perseverance: Keep pushing forward, even in tough times.

Build a strong network: Surround yourself with supportive mentors and peers.

Stay open to learning: Continuously seek new skills and experiences.

Adapt to change: Embrace innovation and stay flexible in a shifting

Prioritize self-care: Balance your music career with activities that bring
you joy.

Celebrate your successes: Acknowledge and savor your achievements.

Keep the passion alive: Let your love for music fuel your journey.

Enjoy the ride: Cherish every moment of your musical adventure.

Thank you Omar for the interview with you.

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