Home » Omar Akram on his Grammy Nominated Album “Moments of Beauty”, and How Life Moments Serve as His Chief Inspiration

Omar Akram on his Grammy Nominated Album “Moments of Beauty”, and How Life Moments Serve as His Chief Inspiration

Omar Akram on his Grammy Nominated Album “Moments of Beauty”, and How Life Moments Serve as His Chief Inspiration

Omar Akram is the thoughtful mastermind behind the Grammy nominated album “Moments of Beauty”, an achievement that he describes as “a harmonious mix of surprise, gratitude, and a deep appreciation for the recognition.” Though this isn’t the first time his work has been nominated for Best New Age, Ambient, or Chant Album, as he was previously nominated and won the same category in 2013 for his album “Echoes of Love ”. Omar’s music has no borders. It sings to the common threads that tie humanity together despite the vast cultural differences. It probes us to examine our own lives further, our own achievements, and everything we have to be grateful for. It challenges us to sit with all the beautiful moments of life, and to see the preciousness in even hard fleeting blips.

We had the incredible honor to spend a moment chatting with Omar about his creative process, his effortless style, and his work beyond “Moments of Beauty”. 

You are nominated for Best New Age, Ambient, or Chant Album at this year’s Grammy Awards for your album MOMENTS OF BEAUTY. What is one take away from the album you hope to convey? 

Being nominated for Best New Age, Ambient, or Chant Album at this year’s Grammy Awards for “Moments of Beauty” is truly an honor. One significant takeaway from the album that I hope to convey is the essence of heartfelt reflection and the recognition of the preciousness of each moment in life. Through the music, I aim to share a sense of universal contemplation and appreciation for both joyful and challenging experiences. The album serves as a personal journey that explores themes of mortality and the beauty inherent in every fleeting moment.

You previously won this category in 2013, making you the first Afghan American to win a Grammy. How would you say that accomplishment impacted your career?

Winning the Grammy in 2013 for Best New Age Album was a milestone that significantly impacted my career, marking me as the first Afghan American to achieve this honor. This accomplishment brought increased visibility to my work and provided a platform to share my unique perspective through music. It opened doors to new opportunities, collaborations, and expanded my audience globally. The recognition not only boosted my credibility within the industry but also allowed me to connect with a broader fan base, fostering a deeper appreciation for the cultural diversity I bring to my musical expressions. Overall, it served as a catalyst for further growth and exploration in my career as a musician.

Do you have a specific routine for creating music, or a favorite spot you like to go to get the creative juices flowing?

Over the years, my approach to creating music has evolved. In the early stages of my career, I would often head to the studio, take a seat at the piano, and start the creative process. However, as time passed, I found inspiration in the experiences of life, both joyful and challenging. Now, I’ve developed an instinctive approach to composition, letting these life moments serve as my chief inspiration.

I don’t have a specific routine, but I’ve learned to be receptive to inspiration whenever it strikes. Whether it’s reflecting on personal memories, contemplating the universal themes of life, or finding solace in nature, I allow these influences to guide my creative process. My favorite spot for cultivating the creative juices varies – it could be the studio, a serene outdoor setting, or even the comfort of my own home. The key is to remain open to the muse and let the music flow organically.

Each song on MOMENTS OF BEAUTY reflects upon the gift and preciousness of life, capturing both the joyous and challenging moments. If you could title a melody that captures the moment you found out you were nominated for a second time, what would it be and why?

If I were to title a melody that captures the moment I found out about my second nomination, I would call it “Harmony of Surprises.” This title reflects the blend of emotions I experienced – a harmonious mix of surprise, gratitude, and a deep appreciation for the recognition. The melody would carry the essence of unexpected joy and the acknowledgment of the ongoing journey in my musical career. It symbolizes the beautiful and unpredictable harmonies that life, much like music, continues to unfold.

You’ve lived all over the world. What have you learned from your global upbringing?

Growing up in diverse cultural environments worldwide has been an enriching experience that has shaped my perspective in profound ways. One key lesson from my global upbringing is the appreciation for cultural diversity and the understanding that there are myriad ways of viewing the world. Exposure to different languages, traditions, and lifestyles has instilled in me a sense of open-mindedness and acceptance.

Living in various places has also heightened my awareness of the universal aspects of the human experience. Despite cultural differences, there are common threads that connect us all – emotions, aspirations, and shared challenges. This realization has influenced my music, allowing me to create work that resonates with a broad audience by tapping into those universal themes.

Moreover, the ability to adapt to different cultures has taught me flexibility, empathy, and the importance of connecting with people on a human level. It has expanded my creativity, enabling me to draw inspiration from a wide range of influences. Overall, my global upbringing has been a continuous learning journey, fostering a deep appreciation for the richness of our diverse world.

What are some of your favorite vacation spots?

Embarking on Maui, Hawaii, feels like I’m stepping into a tropical paradise, where lush greenery, breathtaking beaches, and a vibrant cultural scene blend adventure with relaxation.

In San Francisco, the captivating cityscape, Golden Gate Bridge, eclectic neighborhoods, and a mix of modern and Victorian architecture create a desire in me for more exploration amid rich cultural experiences.

Palm Springs transforms my vacation into a desert oasis, offering laid-back yet stylish vibes, a tranquil atmosphere, luxurious resorts, and a stunning backdrop of the San Jacinto Mountains.

Each destination holds a special place in my heart, offering a mix of natural beauty, cultural richness, and distinct experiences for unforgettable vacations.

Would you say you have a go-to style? 

My go-to style can be best described as smart casual, where simplicity meets elegance. In crafting my preferred style, I intentionally strike a balance between the formality of a suited look and the informality of sporty attire. I consciously veer away from the traditional smart look that typically involves donning a jacket and tie, and I equally avoid the overly casual ensemble characterized by trainers, a t-shirt, and jeans. The emphasis is on cultivating a wardrobe that exudes a sense of effortlessness, making it suitable for a range of occasions that fall between formal and casual settings.

What’s next for Omar Akram?

I am pleased to share that exciting developments lie ahead in my artistic journey, particularly following the recent acknowledgment with a Grammy nomination for “Moments of Beauty.” In the near future, I am embarking on a notable project—a workplace comedy TV show that artfully blends humor and storytelling. This venture promises to be an exhilarating endeavor, and I am eager to unveil further details.

Within the realm of music, I am actively engaged in the creation of new compositions, exploring innovative collaborations and thematic elements. Each musical piece serves as a canvas where I incorporate a diverse range of global influences, celebrating the richness of different cultures and crafting a sound that defies conventional boundaries.

Photo Credit: 
Photographer: Storm Santos