By: Norma Sorto, Columnist
Views expressed in opinion columns are the author’s own.
Omar Apolonio Velasco, also known as Omar Apollo, is a 23-year-old singer-songwriter from Hobart, Indiana. He released his anticipated album “Apolonio” on Oct. 16.
If you are not familiar with Apollo, he is a Mexican-American who started his career by uploading songs on SoundCloud. He became a hit sensation when he uploaded his R&B song “Ugotme” back in 2017. The song got over 30 million streams across various platforms.
Apollo then released both EP’s “Stereo” in 2018 and “Friends” in 2019. He is an upcoming artist who is making a statement in the entertainment industry. Apollo is one of the few artists that are part of a rising generation of self-starting Spanish-language artists who captivated fans with their cultural roots. For two years, he went on two tours, “Want Tour” and “Voyager Tour.” He signed with Warner Records in 2020.
“Apolonio” is Apollo’s debut album. The title comes from his middle name, which he inherited from his grandfather Apolonio. The album consists of nine tracks, including his collaboration with Ruel, a British and Australian singer, in “Want U Around” and Kali Uchis, a Colombian-American singer and songwriter in “Hey Boy.” The album introduces who he is as an artist and staying true to his Mexcian heritage.
In the song “STAYBACK,” Apollo shows a different side of him. The groovy dreamy song is about Apollo being fixated on this particular person but does not dare to tell them. The song “Useless” has the same mood as Apollo finds himself feeling helpless.
“Cause I’m useless when you’re stuck in mind,” the lyrics read.
If there’s one thing I love about Apollo is that he stays true to his heritage. He is not ashamed to share his Mexican culture through music. Instead, he embraces it and the song “Dos Uno Nueve (219)” is a prime example of that. It starts with a soothing acoustic guitar sound, and then Apollo starts singing in Spanish. The song is a combination of modern production with Spanish guitar picking, and Mexcian-inspired melodies. Apollo classifies this song as a corrido.
According to Wikipedia, a corrida is a lot like story-telling in the form of a ballad. The artist sings about his past struggles but, at the same time, celebrates his new successes in life.
As someone who has been a fan of Apollo since the very beginning, it is nice to see a first-generation Latinx artist succeed in the music industry. As a Latinx woman growing up, there were not a lot of Latinx musicians that I could look up to. Now things have changed; there currently are Latinx artists that are creating a new generation of music. A few would be Los Retros, Ambar Lucid, and Daniela Andrade. I am proud to see Apollo thriving and creating a mark for himself.
Overall, the “Apollino” was the album I’ve been expecting from Apollo for four years. He has grown to be a well-presented artist who is a perfectionist when it comes to his work. Every song in the album tells a story. I am anticipating seeing what he has in store for future releases.