By Jordan Yeager
VANCOUVER – Xavier Omär is not yet a household name, but that’s not to say he’s new to the music scene. Now 27, the singer has been making music for more than 15 years under different guises. He started as Spazzy Rocket, dropped the vowels to become SPZRKT, and eventually decided to take the mask off altogether. Thus, Xavier Omär was born.
“Because of the way I had SPZRKT spelled, it became such a ceiling for me,” he says. “I didn’t want one. It felt more inviting for people to know my actual name, and it’s also a help in humility; the only people up to this point who have called me by my name are my family and friends. It’s the same name your mama called you when you were in trouble. So it’s helped me to keep everything in perspective.”
Despite the name changes, Omär’s music has always explored topics in similar veins: relationships, faith, and “the journey along the way.” Where his experimentation often lies is in delivery. Over the years, records like Bonfire, The Everlasting Wave, and Pink Lightning vary from rap to R&B to pop depending on his mood. As much as listeners might try to compartmentalize his sound, Omär doesn’t like to be defined, preferring to focus less on genre and more on creating “whatever [he’s] feeling right then and there.” His energy comes from storytelling, and that becomes most obvious in his live show.
“I’m dying in that freaking gym every day getting ready for tour,” he says. “Because of the way that I perform, I need to train like an athlete to a degree. When somebody says they’re going to an R&B show, you expect a particular vibe, but it’s way more than that. And that’s kind of the signature of what I do. The first six to eight years of me making music, I was performing as a rapper. I had a hard time letting go of the energy you would expect from that when I decided to just start singing.”
From changing his name to finessing his stage presence, everything Omär does is deliberate. Each song is written with intention and a sense of responsibility to the listener.
“I don’t know that I really love to write about anything,” he laughs. “The happier moments, of course. Whenever you’re moved so much in a good way that you have to write about it, that’s awesome. But the records that have a bit of a deeper background story are the ones that fans seem to really stick with and appreciate me for. And it’s great, because I want to be able to be open and honest with them, but the part of it that sucks is that I have to live it first. But there is a lot of beauty in it. I don’t write immediately after I go through a bad situation. I wait a couple months to try to see what the positive side of it is, and then I tell the story. I just don’t want to be irresponsible with the pain. I want to be able to relate to people, but also help them through those times.”
Xavier Omär plays The Fox Cabaret on December 21. His new EP, Pink Lightning, is out now.The Fox Cabaret, xavier omar