Welcome to the 200 percent future. Singer-songwriter Omar Apollo is partnering with Buchanan's Scotch Whisky to invest in the future of Hispanic Americans.
"Buchanan's and Omar are highlighting the greatness that comes from embracing your 100 percent Hispanic and 100 percent American duality while honoring heritage and supporting the local voices, businesses, and organizations leading the future across America," the press release reads. The brand has also announced their "200% Futuro Fund," a "donor-advised fund that will deliver $1 million in grants across the next five years by elevating their voices and supporting nonprofits uplifting their local communities through their passions and crafts while embracing their Hispanic roots."
The out, Mexican-American R&B star is a longtime fan of the brand and is grateful to assist in this cause. "My whole life I've been seeing them supporting Latino culture and things like that. I'm just excited to be a part of it," he tells Out.
As a national brand partner, Apollo has chosen to highlight DishRoulette Kitchen, a nonprofit that supports the Chicago food industry by providing effective hospitality training mixed with financial consciousness, as well as the local Belizean and Mexican-owned plant shop Plant Shop Chicago, and Honduran-Mexican taco truck Taco Sublime.
We caught up with the singer-songwriter for a quick chat about this partnership, his music, recent success on the charts, TikTok and live shows, and what's coming next.
Out: "Evergreen (You Don't Love Me At All)" is climbing the charts and I feel like all of your long-time fans are so proud of you. What's it been like to see the success of that song, especially over on TikTok.
Apollo: [laughs] It is really crazy. "Evergreen" is the type of music that I really love to make. It's cool that I didn't really have to change anything to be able to be on the Billboards. It felt really authentic, which I think is my favorite part about it. It's a song I'm just really proud of.
I just saw your set at Austin City Limits music festival. It was your first festival since "Evergreen" has blown up. What was it like to see all those people screaming the lyrics back at you?
That was amazing. I had so much fun there. It was literally amazing. Festivals are the real test, you know? Headliner shows are cheating because everyone is there for you. But when you're at a festival, it's a bunch of people you don't know. Yeah, they got super loud on "Evergreen" and I was like, 'yeah this is a vibe.' Changed my lineup at festivals forever now.
I'm personally obsessed with "Killing Me." It's so romantic. Do you have a favorite song on this album?
It changes all the time. I'm really proud of "Bad Life." I'm really proud of "Petrified." I'm really proud of "Evergreen." "Killing Me" is definitely really fun. I love performing that one. The melodies are really fun to sing live. You have favorite songs that are recording, then you have favorite songs to do live. I really like singing "Invincible" live.
You wrote these songs years ago now. Have any tracks on Ivory taken on a new meaning after all this time? Do you look at any of them in a new light?
They definitely feel different when I perform on stage. When I made "En El Olvido"... when I sing it live, it's this crazy nostalgia. Those are the types of songs and videos I would see when I was a kid. But that's the vibe.
With this album cycle, you've very much embraced your sexuality. Why was that important to you?
When I first started putting out music, I'd always write about boys, even when it was just subtle or whatever. It felt right. I mean, this is reality for me. The fact that people can relate to it and apply it to their lives or feel like they can resonate with what I'm saying, that makes me happy.
As a songwriter who's very open and vulnerable in your music, how do you navigate maintaining privacy?
I have great friends that I talk to and that's pretty much it. Everyone has their own business, you know? Everyone's got... Yeah, I just don't talk about it, period.
I'm always working on new music. Right now, I'm actually at rehearsal. I leave in a week to do a few shows. Then I officially go on tour in a couple of weeks. Just preparation right now, getting the stage design.
When you told your fans to "burn that bridge" on that Tiny Desk, I felt that.
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