Omar Cunningham has a style that is uniquely his own. His lyrics are coated with his smooth voice and his stage presence is mesmerizing. Having up close and personal contact with his fans is all a part of Omar Cunningham’s style. He likes to shake his fans hands and get close while performing so they know they are truly appreciated. To see Omar Cunningham perform is a pure delight and one you won’t forget any time soon.
In late 2007, Omar signed a new recording contract with upstart label Soul 1st Records headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. Soul 1st owner, Attorney Reginald McDaniel and Omar Cunningham have known each other for 20 years and a production company of McDaniel’s, was the first to record Omar as a solo artist in the late nineties before Omar decided to enter a career in law enforcement. “He had some great songs then and a lot of interest from record labels, even then”, McDaniel says. “But his new album, “Time Served” will break new ground for Omar and Southern Soul music. “We are fortunate to have him on Soul 1st Records.”
Omar’s new CD “Time Served “produced by Soul1st Records is flavored with songs such as the lead single, “My Life” which tells of how he made it through hard times growing up in Gadsden, Alabama to become the artist and man he is today with strong maternal family support. “The Right Woman”, which is one of Omar’s favorites, tells of a man finally finding that right lady. “Same Soap” is definitely a song men and women will relate to if they have experienced creeping on the low and having to go home after such encounters. Omar does an update of his 2003 monster hit “Check to Check” with “Check to Check 2008”which adds a new funkier soul track produced by R&B veteran producer Robert Harris that will have the clubs jumping. “This Old Music” is a fun party track reminiscing about the good old days of soul m music and a sure hit to come. On the personal side, Omar belts out the soulful ballads “Ain’t Nothing Changed” and “Beauty Shop”, both chronicling the ups and downs of relationships from inside and outside of the relationship. “If You Want Me” will take fans back to the days of Marvin Gaye as Omar croons for his woman to tell him what she wants. Omar brings it home with the inspirational “Where Would I Be” in which he gives praise to the man above for bringing him through the trials and tribulations of life. Each track on this CD is a standout on its own merit, including the danceable “That My Jam”; the heart-tugging ballad, “By My Side” and up tempo masterpiece “Could You Be”. Omar teams mostly with Robert Harris to produce most of the tracks, but really made this album one with his personal touch of songs that will keep his legion of Southern Soul fans happy and open the door to R&B fans across the board. “Time Served” is well served for the fans.
Omar says he has worked hard to bring a fresh sound to the soul and blues world, a sound that blends soul and gospel with honest situations and playful lyrics. Omar stated in an interview with JSU: “Everybody has, at one point in time, had the blues, so if you make if through the blues you’ve got to be thankful to God that He brought you from one point to another. So, I sing blues but I’ve got to say that my first love is gospel music and everything that I’m able to do comes from God. In my songs, I’m just telling some of the hardships that I’ve been through and some hardships that my friends have been through, and I’m thankful to God that I made it.”
Now a member of the Soul 1st Music Entertainment family Omar has blended these two sounds and worlds beautifully. When asked about how he feels joining the “Soul 1st Music family he has this to say: “I feel like I’m free to be the artist I am and grow because I am home with Soul 1st. These guys are some of the people who helped give me my start in this business and now I can help them build a new label that can grow into a major force in the music industry. I strongly believe we will grow into one of the most respected labels anywhere.”
Omar has enjoyed the success of three albums, “Hell At The House” which was released on the On Top imprint in 2003 and featured artistic input from Sir Charles Jones amongst others, and his self-entitled CD Omar Cunningham and Worth The Wait released on the EndZone Entertainment record label in 2004 and 2005, respectfully. All of Omar’s CD’s have yielded number 1 and number 2 singles, on the soul and blues chart, and Omar Cunningham has been nominated for several Jackson Music Awards in his short but exciting career including Entertainer of the Year in 2007.
Billboard Magazine also listed Omar Cunningham’s first album released on the On Top imprint in 2003 titled Hell At The House, at number 80. Billboard also stated that Omar Cunningham is the first black artist whose first blues CD has made its national chart. They also listed his CD in its Top 20 Blues category.
One of Omar Cunningham’s biggest moments in his career to date was being able to perform on the finale night of the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival with Alicia Keys in Montego Bay. Other performers were: India Arie, Nancy Wilson, Kenny Rogers, Michael McDonald, Bobby Womack, and Cassandra Wilson. While Omar was the only one in the show who hasn’t received a Grammy, he was honored to be able to share the stage with these phenomenonal entertainers. Omar has also had the pleasure of performing and touring with Bobby Bland, Willie Clayton, The Manhattans, Shirley Brown, Mel Waiters, Theodis Ealey, Calvin Richardson and others.
As he embarks on the New Year with his new release for 2008, Omar is looking to expand his touring to more parts of the United States and abroad while continuing to write for other artists.
Keep an eye out for Mr. Omar Cunningham as wonderful things are happening for him and he is surely one of the most promising stars on the rise to greatness. Visit www.soul1st.com.