Jamaican-born Omar Samuel Pasley, better known as Omi, continues to bask in the success of his Billboard-hailed song of the summer, Cheerleader. Beyond the pompoms, though, the 29-year-old has a new reggae/pop tinged single, Hula Hoop, and a new album, Me 4 U, scheduled to drop Friday. We caught up with the rising star, who performed Friday at House of Horror Amusement Park in Doral.
You’ve mentioned that your mom is your biggest cheerleader. How often do you get to return home?
Every chance I get, I’ll tell you that. I’m hardly able to do it right now. When I go home, I try to factor in seeing my mom.
Talk about some of the themes on “Me 4 U” — what inspired you?
There’s a lot of diversity in terms of the topic and the vibes. It’s like looking at my personality from different angles. People are going to have a chance to see my range. … different from the commercial radio.
Since “Cheerleader” debuted back in 2012, will you have a mix of old and new songs on the album?
There’s more new material than the old stuff. There’ll be a lot of new material; this will take you into the diversity of Omi as an artist.
The original “Cheerleader” was popular in Jamaica before the Felix Jaehn remix blew up worldwide. Do you hear both back home?
I go to many different places in the world, and I hear both versions. People will always have their favorite. It’s not even just Jamaica.
Give us a sample of your personal music playlist.
I’m just going to give you a few. I still listen to hip-hop: Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Jay-Z, Eminem, Tupac, Biggie. Pop music, I listen to all the current people: Jason Derulo, Meghan Trainor. John Legend is still one of those people I really look up to.
What’s your take on the state of reggae music right now, at least from a mainstream perspective?
It’s good to have something that represents where you’re from. Jamaica has a lot of diverse cultures. If you do it in sport, then I don’t see why we can’t do it in music. Shaggy is doing a wonderful job. I also represent Jamaica. I might not be doing reggae. ...but I’m still Jamaican.