Omar Apollo performs onstage during SZA The SOS North American Tour at Jerome Schottenstein Center on February 21, 2023 in Columbus, Ohio Source: Timothy Norris/Getty Images for Live Nation

Omar Apollo Talks New Album, Hot Sauce, and the Reinvention of His 'Longing for Love' Songs

Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 3 MIN.

Omar Apollo might have had a flight into "Spite," but the young out artist didn't let anger take over his forthcoming album.

Apollo opened up to Rolling Stone about hot sauce and how clubbing and Beyoncé were influences for his new work.

In particular, Apollo revealed that, despite reports of a sound that was "leaning toward anger" on his new work, he was actually getting "back to my old longing-for-love vibe, but it's reimagined."

Apollo explained that he had been working with old friend and record producer Teo Halm.

"We reconnected on 'Evergreen,'" Apollo said, citing one of the singles from his hugely successful debut album, "Ivory."

"We flew to London for two or three months last year," Apollo reminisced. "It was cool to get into that state of mind where everything is about making music we both love and connect to."

"The album doesn't feel like it's a bunch of songs put together," the singer said, describing his forthcoming sophomore album. "It's a sequence that is made to be listened to front to back. That's what I love about it. The songs, the writing, the narrative, everything about it is just from someone who has progressed in music."

Even so, a couple of songs stand out. Rolling Stone mentioned one track addressing the emotion of grief.

"It's such a complex feeling because you could feel grief for someone who's passed away or grief for someone you have heartbreak over," Apollo noted. "That song, in particular, is one of my favorites on the album. I took my time and was trying to give an imagery and a feeling, and a temperature and a light. Even the writing is kind of psychedelic."

Another cut is a clubby house track.

"I wanted something people could just be at the club with, because when you think of my music, you don't think about the club," Apollo recounted. "So I'm like, 'Fuck, I need some club shit.' But it was just how I was feeling at the time, in London especially. I was going to so many parties."

And then there's the lead single, "Spite," in which Apollo sings about the dissatisfactions of a long-distance relationship.

Rich in genres, the album is influenced, Apollo said, by an equally diverse array of artists: "Kate Bush, Giorgio Moroder, Labi Siffre," Apollo listed. "Let me pull out the playlist: Daniel Johnston, he's sick," the singer-songwriter continued. "Jeff Buckley, Lana Del Rey, for sure. I've also been listening to a lot of Beyoncé."

Apollo also flashed back to last autumn's EP, making it sound as if that release might have been a stepping stone to his latest opus.

"'Live For Me' was definitely all discovery," the 26-year-old musician, whose real name is Omar Apolonio Velasco, confided. "It was music that I was making to get to where I wanted to go."

His new music wasn't the only spicy topic. Apollo also talked about the introduction of his mother's hot sauce to Taco Bell restaurants – a sauce that she first came up with for her own eatery.

"It feels good," Apollo said of the condiment coming to the fast food franchise, "because she crossed the border from Mexico and opened up a restaurant. When I was born, it became too much, so she had to shut it down."

"This was the hot sauce she used in the restaurant," Apollo revealed, "so it's me being like, 'Since I made you get the restaurant shut down by being born, this is how I'm paying you back.'"

Work on the new project is now done, a post on Apollo's Instagram announced, though the title and release date remain unknown.

by Kilian Melloy , EDGE Staff Reporter

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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