Omar Lye-Fook

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Omar Lye-Fook
Born
Omar Lye-Fook

(1968-10-14) 14 October 1968 (age 53)
London, England[1]
Occupation
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
  • actor
Years active1985–present
Musical career
Genres
Instrument(s)
  • Vocals
  • keyboard
  • bass guitar
  • drums
  • guitar
Labels

Omar Christopher Lye-Fook MBE (born 14 October 1968), known professionally as Omar, is a British singer, songwriter, musician and actor. Omar grew up in Canterbury, Kent and learned his craft classically, playing the trumpet, piano and percussion. He also spent two years at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester and the Guildhall School of Music in London. His most well-known song was his debut single "There's Nothing Like This".[1] It reached number 14 in the UK Singles Chart on re-release in 1991.[2] In 2022, he appeared in EastEnders as Avery Baker.

Career[edit]

Following his first two single releases, "Mr Postman" (1985) and "You and Me" (1988) featuring backing vocals from Caron Wheeler, Omar released his debut album, There's Nothing Like This in 1990. Initially released on his father's record label, Kongo Records, it entered the UK Albums Chart, peaking at No. 54.[1][2] Signing to his first major record label Talkin' Loud saw the re-release of his debut album, which climbed to No. 19 in the UK Albums Chart. This was followed in 1992 by his second album, Music, which proved less successful than the first, peaking at No. 37.[2] A new signing to RCA Records led to Omar undertaking collaborations with other musicians, including Lamont Dozier, David Frank (The System), the former Heatwave bassist Derrick Bramble, Leon Ware and Stevie Wonder.[1] In 1996, Omar contributed "Water to Drink" to the AIDS benefit album, Red Hot + Rio, produced by the Red Hot Organization.[citation needed]

In 2003, after one of his songs ("There's Nothing Like This") was used in the intro round on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, presenter Mark Lamarr questioned Omar's supposed instant recognisability, quipping that he would require a Blockbuster card to confirm Omar's identity. Omar's agent e-mailed the show and a few episodes later, Omar appeared in the show's 'identity parade' round, Blockbuster card in hand. Lamarr was forced to concede that Omar was both immediately recognisable, and a rather more significant artist than he had earlier given him credit for.[3] In 2006, the Urban Music Awards presented Omar with the Best Neo Soul Act and Outstanding Achievement Awards.[1]

After studying at the Identity Drama School, on 11 June 2009, Omar made his acting debut in Ché Walker's musical, Been So Long.[citation needed] He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to music.[4] During July and August 2015, Omar appeared as part of the house band in the BBC Two comedy series The Javone Prince Show.[citation needed] In June 2017, Omar was one of the "Artists for Grenfell" who performed the number one charity single "Bridge over Troubled Water", in aid of victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.[5]

In January 2022, Omar contributed vocals to Berlin-based artist Le Commandant Couche-Tôt's track "L'été indien".[6] In 2022, Omar was cast in the role of Avery Baker in the BBC soap opera EastEnders.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Omar is sometimes credited as Omar Hammer. His birth father's surname is Lye-Fook, while his stepfather's surname is Hammer.[1] He and his siblings, two brothers and a sister, are all musicians. Samia Lye-Fook, Omar's sister, and youngest of the four, has provided background vocals for some of Omar's recordings.[citation needed] Omar became the father of twin daughters in early 2008.[8]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Year Title UK
[2]
1990 There's Nothing Like This 19
1992 Music (re-issue) 17
1994 For Pleasure 50
1997 This Is Not a Love Song 50
2001 Best By Far
2006 Sing (If You Want It)
2013 The Man
2017 Love in Beats
Black Notes from the Deep (Courtney Pine)

Singles[edit]

Year Title UK
[2]
Label
1991 "There's Nothing Like This" 14 Kongo Records
1992 "Your Loss My Gain" 47 Talkin' Loud
"Music" 53
1994 "Outside" / "Saturday" 43 RCA
"Keep Steppin'" 57
1997 "Say Nothin'" 29
"Golden Brown" 37

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Cordor, Cyril. "Biography: Omar". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 June 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 406. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  3. ^ "Episode 11". Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Season 12. Episode 11. 17 March 2003.
  4. ^ "No. 60173". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 June 2012. p. 16.
  5. ^ Rodger, James (21 July 2017). "Who sings each line of the Grenfell Tower fire charity song?". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  6. ^ "L'Été Indien, by Le Commandant Couche-Tôt". Le Commandant Couche-Tôt. Retrieved 16 January 2022.
  7. ^ "EastEnders to introduce Mitch Baker's extended family". Radio Times. Retrieved 5 July 2022.
  8. ^ "Omar: 30 Years Deep... Still The Man". The IMC Magazine. Archived from the original on 23 May 2014. Retrieved 9 August 2014.

External links[edit]