OMAR LOPEZ - just as much of a singer-songwriter as he is an electric violinist - is an undisputed entertainer with a passion for the stage and a technique and showmanship that rivals violin sensations Vanessa-Mae and David Garrett. He has shared the stage with artists such as Jose Feliciano, Enrique Iglesias, Broadway legend Jennifer Holliday ("Dreamgirls"), and 80s rock icons Cyndi Lauper and Pat Benatar. Omar has also performed in international venues from Beirut, Lebanon to Beijing, China with Spanish guitarist BENISE. In his hometown of Austin, Texas, he was recognized as one of the city's Top String Musicians for seven years in a row by the Austin Chronicle, and was also named one of MySpace's Top Ten Classical Artists in Texas.
Unlike his aforementioned string-playing contemporaries, Omar didn't have the benefit of private lessons as a child, only taking orchestra classes as an elective while also acting and singing in stage musicals. Although he had difficulty with sight-reading throughout his school years, he was inspired (and later mentored) by world-renowned soul violinist Karen Briggs, Celtic fiddler Eileen Ivers, and jazz fusion icon Jean-Luc Ponty, whose respective unique styles motivated him to re-learn his instrument on his own terms without sheet music, enabling him to develop a pitch-perfect ear for improvisation as he traded his traditional acoustic instrument for a fiery red electric violin, which would soon become his trademark.
Before he had even turned 20 years old, Omar's self-taught style, which combines a classical - and almost Middle-Eastern - influence with a Latin-jazz flair and a sizzling hard-rock vibe, earned him a spot as featured soloist with Dreamsound Orchestra for a three-year world tour. This was an opportunity that cost him a college music scholarship but blessed him with far more experience than a degree could have ever given him.
However, despite this vast range of accomplishments during a music career that spans almost two decades, it is his Latino upbringing and his Texas roots that have kept him humble. "Everyone who's close to me knows I'm sensitive, creative, and full of life. I try to be true to myself and to those I love. I drink coffee, I eat pizza, I spend time with my family, I play with my cats, I go see movies with friends, I go jogging and hiking, and I even train dogs. This is who I've been ever since I was little. When it's time to hit the stage, I balance all that 'normal guy' stuff out by transforming into this bold, bombastic, glam performer."
Omar is referring to his alter-ego, "The StringPhoenix", a nod to the mythical firebird that rises from its own ashes into a new beginning, as he strives constantly to evolve and maintain his own physical fitness and his psychological and spiritual well-being. "Whatever's gone down before I hit the stage, good or bad, it all goes into fire of that moment. It's what inspires me to create and write songs in the studio and then go out onstage and perform them. It's all part of the show, and when it's over, I get to go back to being me again."
To date, Omar has produced and released three full-length albums of original music, backed by his impressive band of studio and live musicians and vocalists. His catalog includes a "FOREVER RED" (released in 2005), "EXPERIENCE" (2007), and "MIRRORS AND MEMORIES" (2010), and he released his first-ever standalone iTunes single "Phoenix" in 2011. Omar is now working on his fourth studio album, due for release in Summer 2014.