Mexican-American Artist Omar Apollo Channels Prince on Debut Studio Album

Updated: Oct 19, 2020

Omar Apollo debuted his first studio album Apolonio yesterday, October 16th, alongside the video premiere of his single "Kamikaze." Filled with moving personal tracks, the album reads like pages of a journal. Songs like "Bi Fren" and "Kamikaze" are extremely rich in detail from bittersweet moments in Apollo's past.

The nine-track album was written while the Mexican-American artist quarantined at his apartment in Glendale, CA. Apollo even admitted he threw out everything he worked on pre-coronavirus. Apolonio follows two critically-acclaimed EPs: 2018’s Friends EP and his 2019’s Stereo. The new album title derives from the musician's middle name, which he inherited from his grandfather Apolonio.

Apollo describes the the album as "some rock, with a little soul," and says it was written in the spirit of Prince. The album does have a vintage feel to it, filled with nostalgic love ballads and soulful singing. Much like his purple predecessor, Apollo pairs sensual riffs with lyrics that play around sexuality, gender and the infinite labels people use to define the two. As for his own label, Apollo doesn’t offer an answer, nor does he care to.

Apolonio boasts features from Colombian singer-songwriter Kali Uchis, Parliament-Funkadelic bassist Bootsy Collins and Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. With this album, Apollo blends genre and generations together in a memorable fashion. The 23-year-old is also one of the rising Spanglish-language artists who have captivated pop and indie fans. While most of his new album is sung in English, he includes a corrido, or narrative folk ballad, “Dos Uno Nueve (219),” discussing his working-class Mexican upbringing. Strumming a guitar with a familiar Latin flourish, he sings “Quiero ganar mucho más ceros, y disfrutar de lo que tengo” (I want to earn more zeroes, and enjoy what I have).

Channeling Prince once again, Apollo and his band will play a rare indoor show at Paisley Park for a Covid-protocoled crowd, streamed globally on October 28th. He explained further in an interview with GQ, "basically it’s a live audience, and it’s a 1500-person venue, but with 100 people, everyone with masks on and they’re gonna be super far from each other! So it’s kind of similar to a drive-in. You’re in your little cubicle, no one links up!" You can buy tickets to the livestream here.

Stream Apolonio below and let us know what you think.