The idea of genre can be perceived as a creative restriction, generating work that at best resembles ‘authenticity’ and at worst is pastiche. Hence the enduring reluctance for artists to define their sound, keeping music writers employed in that very task. As musicians widen their output, further blurring boundaries and incurring ever-more imaginative adjectives, it becomes rare to find acts that engender originality within the concept of genre, rather than running away from it. With the R&B and soul stylings of Rebecca Phillips, aka Omahrose, though, genre refuses to become generic.
Raised in London on Motown classics, ‘70s rock LPs, and ‘90s neo-soul and hip-hop, Omahrose’s sound is one of depth and complexity. Top-line melody is bolstered by luscious harmony, layered instrumentation and the subtle addition of nocturnal electronics to create a whole that is instantly infectious and yet unidentifiably unique.
“I’ve always wanted to be a singer”, Omahrose explains, “it’s a vocation to me”. Starting out with vocal harmony playground performances which were admittedly “probably quite bad”, Omahrose soon developed a conflicting relationship with performance. “I used to find performance pretty scary, it was like an endurance test since I would freeze before I went on stage”, and yet overcoming this fear became an enticing challenge in itself, one that is now enjoyable.
With a string of sold out performances now under her belt, Omahrose has just released her debut EP, Edge. As its title suggests, the body of work is one that explores the notion of being on a precipice; emotionally, creatively, and personally. “Writing is a constant for me”, Omahrose states, and yet she is inspired not just by personal experience but by “abstractions, whether that’s something visual, verbal, or even others’ experiences”.
Read the rest of the piece in Clash Magazine.
[This feature was published on 29/09/17]