Omari Banks goes full blast

By Howard Campbell
Observer senior writer

Monday, September 23, 2019

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With two new songs on the market, Omari Banks is doing the promo rounds. He refuses to be labeled or boxed in to categories coined by contemporary music pundits.

Half Full or Half Empty and You're Gonna Make It are his latest singles. The former is self-produced for his Omari Music label, and features veteran musicians Michael Fletcher on bass and saxophonist Dean Frasier.

The percussive You're Gonna Make It was done for Upsetta Records, the company responsible for Burning, Koffee's breakthrough hit.

Stressing his admiration for different sounds, the 37-year-old Banks believes the more diverse an artiste, the more likely their music is to break into eclectic markets.

“I don't think of my music per particular markets. When I think of my music I know it is reggae — blues — and folk-influenced, but my style is different from most of what is going on now,” he told the Jamaica Observer. “I've been told that my sound and style is unique, and I think that will open many doors for me.”

Banks has been busy this year recording songs for an album or EP. He has also performed at high-profile venues and events like Joe's Pub in New York and the St Kitts Music Festival, which featured Buju Banton.

Half Full or Half Empty and You're Gonna Make It are his latest collaborations with Jamaican musicians. He has worked with singer Duane Stephenson on System Set, and producer Clive Hunt on Naturally, songs which helped build his profile in parts of the United States and Europe.

The son of Anguillan music legend Bankie Banx, Banks' first international exposure came through sports. He represented the West Indies cricket team in 10 Test matches, and played first class matches for the Leeward Islands and Leicestershire.

Banks retired from cricket in 2012, the same year he released Move On, his first song. He has no regrets about the change in direction.

“The fact that I am able to travel around the world and see my music grow in areas that never have heard about my country Anguilla is, for me, very gratifying. My intention is to keep growing and continue to share music,” said Banks. “I hope to look back in 30 years and feel like within my music there has been a progression musically.”


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