Saturday, November 5, 2011

Interview With Omer Bhatti (O-Bee)

Omer Michael J Bhatti (O-Bee) has been performing in front of audiences since as long as he can remember, in fact, one could say he literally grew up on the stage. Gifted and passionate, Omer is a young man very much dedicated to his craft, delighting audiences with his own unique and individual style as a hip-hop musician and performer.

Following the success of his first official song, “All Around the World” featuring Genevieve Jackson, Omer concentrated his efforts on making his first official music video for the smash single, “Life is a Movie.” Released August 19, 2011, the video has received  outstanding responses from his supporters, and showcases Omer’s dynamic dance technique and provides a platform for his powerful lyrics.

My new single “Life is a Movie”, is a very personal song dealing with life under the media’s microscope. It’s a lyrical and visual insight into some of the scrutiny I have had to endure. It’s not criticism on any one person, but I hope it will open the window to my world with a fresh approach. The song is also influenced by the words, training, and experiences of my mentor. O-Bee

It is well-known that Omers’ mentor was of course, Michael Jackson. Over the years they developed a close friendship and spent considerable time together. There is no doubt that Michael inspired the excellence we see in Omer’s artistry as an individual performer, but this association also provoked an intrusive interest by the media and public into his own private life and relationship with Michael. His song “Life is a Movie,” is as much biographical as it is relating to what Michael underwent, living life under the watchful eyes of the media.

Omer is a very private person, and it was to my delight that he agreed to be interviewed by me for this magazine. Respecting his privacy, this interview has been crafted to highlight his achievements as an artist, musician and dancer.

Valmai:  Omer, before we begin, I would like to take a moment to thank you for agreeing to this interview with me, and for giving us the opportunity to help promote your song and music video, “Life Is a Movie”. It is a pleasure and honor.

Omer, did you always know that you wanted to be a performer, or was it something that came to you gradually?

Omer:  Music and dance has been my passion for as long as I can remember, and I have always wanted to be a performer.

Valmai:  What were some of your greatest aspirations?

Omer:  I always had the desire to entertain, and I used to be quite competitive as a kid. I tried out many different sports, but I found myself in dance and music.

Valmai:  How difficult was it for you growing up performing on stage? What sort of sacrifices did you have to make?

Omer:  It was never difficult for me being on stage, since it was something I really enjoyed. I wouldn’t say that I had to make many sacrifices, but I did miss out on school-trips and hanging out with friends on the weekends

Valmai:  Do you see similar parallels to your early beginnings on stage, to Michael Jackson’s?

Omer:  No, not really. I don’t want to be compared to him. He was on another level. But I guess we both truly loved to entertain. One thing I do want to say is that I wish people wouldn’t say I copy him, because like every other artist out there, yes, I am very inspired by him, but he also straight-up taught and mentored me. So I’m doing things the way I was taught, but adding my own twist to it. Like a martial artist being mentored be his sensei, and then taking that knowledge ahead with you in life.

Valmai:  It says in your bio on your website that as a gifted child, you always danced like entertainers beyond your years. It is clear Michael has a strong influence on your dance style; many of your moves are reminiscent of his, but who else would you say has inspired you in dance in the past and more recently?

Omer:  I am inspired by entertainers such as Frankie Lymon, James Brown and Fred Astaire. But, I’m also inspired by people like Bruce LeeI like the way he carried and moved his body.

Valmai:  Omer, you have a very eclectic and unique style of dancing, incorporating various dance forms to make it completely your own. What inspired you to develop this technique?

Omer:  I like to pick up elements from different type of arts and combine them with my own twist. Sometimes, my moves might look weird or not technically perfect, but I like to take the body to new places and experiment.

Valmai:  When you dance Omer, are you there in the momentare you thinking about the next move or step, or simply allowing the dance to lead you where it wants to take you?

Omer:  When I dance, I completely let go and the music controls my movements. Different music evokes different emotions, which creates different moves. I dance the best when I improvise, but when I am performing, I like to have a few cues in the music, where I “kinda” know what I can do.

Valmai:  “Life Is a Movie” is your first official music video. The way that color is used during different segments is interesting. Sepia tones transcend to stark black and white, and then subtly, color is introduced by way of the red, empty seats of a theater. There again, the use of an empty dance studio and mirror is redolent of Michael. Was the video constructed this way to indicate hidden metaphors?

Omer:  Well, first of all, the song is very personal and gives an insight into some of the things I have experienced. We wanted the video to be just as personal, and help people get a better understanding by showing them real special effects or green-screens, just me in my element. The one theatre scene is of course inspired my Michael, and a reference to him.

Valmai:  What areas of artistic input did you have in the making of the video? Did you choreograph it entirely yourself?

Omer:  I had a lot of artistic input in this video. I wrote the whole video myself and chose the locations we filmed at. None of the dancing is really is mostly freestyle where we played different music and just had the camera rolling while I did my thing. I was also part of the whole editing process.

Valmai:  Omer, the lyrics of this song tells a powerful yet lonely story of one living a life under scrutiny and criticism. Just how difficult has it been for you living under the watchful eyes of the media and the world?

Omer:  Life in public eye can get hard and sometimes lonely. It has made me trust very few people and also a little paranoid. A lot of the attention I have been getting from media has been about my private life, and therefore that’s unwanted attention. I do want to share my artistry, but not my private life.

Valmai:  Is the storyline biographical or does the meaning and storyline also relate to what Michael went through during his life?

Omer: The storyline is biographical to a degree, but certain parts relate to things I saw Michael go though. I have learned a lot from him.

Valmai:  On You Tube, the video and song has received 56,582 hits to date, since its release. How much exposure has it received elsewhere, and what has been the general reaction to it?

Omer:  Those hits are thanks to my supporters, who are my greatest promoters. They are so dedicated, and it humbles me to see how much time they take to share my work. I posted the video on my own You Tube channel, and promoted it myself on my social accounts and official website - I hope it will keep getting exposure and open more eyes to me as an artist. The general response has been greatthis is my first official music video, and I have much more in store.

Valmai:  Will the song appear on your debut EP, and when can we expect to see its release?

Omer:  Yes, the song will definitely be on my debut EP. There is no date yet, but the plan is early 2012.

Valmai:  You mention that Michael is your biggest inspiration. Could you share with us what the most important thing was that you learned from him, and the most important piece of advice he gave you?

Omer:  One of the mottos I live by is ‘RISE ABOVE’, meaning, not to fall down over obstacles and roadblocks in life, but rather ‘Rise Above’ them. I got that from him. He gave me lots of great advice, and if you take another listen to the song, you will hear some of the lines are actually quotes straight from him, as for example, “The bigger the star, the bigger the target.” He would always say that.

Valmai:  How do you implement that in your personal and professional life?


Valmai:  After the release of your debut EP, what is next for you Omer? What plans do you have for your future? Are there any VIPs or companies that are helping to boost your career?

Omer:  I am just living in the moment and doing what feels rightalways with love.

Valmai:  The video has been wonderfully crafted, and the song stands on its own as one containing potent dialect. Combined with your dancing, it offers a strong message and an expression of gifted artistry. I believe this is just the beginning of a promising future and long career for you. We wish you luck in all your undertakings and much happiness in your life. Thank you, Omer.


Look at me, my life's like a movie
But this is real life you should sue me
Sit back and watch me do me,
I mean kick back, Bruce Lee
Am I a knockout? Yeah, probably
But don't get punched out, Ali
Media should have left him alone,
but he kept jabbing, Sylvester Stallone
I don't worry too much about looks and stares
I'm a modern day Fred Astaire
This is new life, no abortion
surrounded by flames, bring torches!
Been under microscopes since adolescent
But being this famous is rather stressing
No more second guessing
I'm back to the bench pressing

Tell me what you see when you see me
Real life, this is not TV
My life is a movie, life is a movie, life is a movie
I know you've seen it before
They all wanna see me fall
My life is a movie, life is a movie, life is a movie

Turn the spotlight off, good night
Let us reveal the few good types
Me defeated - is what they would like,
but in the darkness you will see good light
I keep sailing, my boat's kinda nice
But these sharks,- they could bite
Switch the channel, on to the next one
Broadcasting live I am the best one
Born to win since the baby carriage
Went from nothing to a kings palace
Heart of a prince, blood of a lion
There is no denying
This legacy, you can't tarnish
I was raised by the greatest, I promise
Honestly, I'm honored
See the bigger the star - the bigger the target

Tell me what you see when you see me
Real life, this is not TV
My life is a movie, life is a movie, life is a movie
I know you've seen it before
They all wanna see me fall
My life is a movie, life is a movie, life is a movie

Tell me what you see when you see me
Real life, this is not TV
My life is a movie, life is a movie, life is a movie
Tell me what you see when you see me
Real life, this is not TV
My life is a movie, life is a movie, life is a movie
I know you've seen it before
They all wanna see me fall
My life is a movie, life is a movie, life is a movie
I know you've seen it before
They all wanna see me fall
My life is a movie, life is a movie, life is a movie

Tell me what you see when you see me
Real life, this is not TV
My life is a movie, life is a movie, life is a movie
I know you've seen it before
They all wanna see me fall
My life is a movie, life is a movie, life

Turn the spotlight off, good night!

By Valmai Owens

© 2011. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission from author.

This interview appears in the publication Dot to Dot: Keeping Michael’s Legacy Alive, and its content is the property of the authors and the Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait. Articles and exclusive interviews are copyrighted; therefore there should be no republication without permission. You may email with any requests for republication. If permission is given, credit must be given to the author, Dot to Dot: Keeping Michael's Legacy Alive and the Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait.

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