>>> The Secret's Out!
May 26, 2007
Well, I guess most of you have seen it by now - by "it", I mean the cover for my soon-to-be-released second album, "EXPERIENCE"! It was designed by Adam Whaley, my co-producer and musical advisor. He also happens to be the one who co-produced and designed the artwork for "FOREVER RED" (my first album, released in February 2005). I've been getting a lot of emails regarding "EXPERIENCE", so I decided to post an exclusive Q&A here on my MySpace blog in anticipation of the release with some of the questions I've been receiving.
QUESTION: Is it a live album, or was it recorded in a studio?
It's both! Most of the material was recorded live-in-concert, which gives the entire album a very energetic and full sound. A couple of the songs were recorded entirely in the recording studio, but all of the post-production work (track edits, fixes on instrument and vocal parts, and general "noise" cleanup) was done in Adam's studio, The Means of Production - more widely known to Adam's clients as The MOP.
QUESTION: Is it an album of new material?
Honestly, no. There's a lot of reasons behind that decision. One of the biggest reasons was because although "FOREVER RED" was exciting to compose and produce with Adam as my musical collaborator on keyboards, guitars, bass, drum programs, and synth sequences, there is something to be said about having a live band performing the music I write. A lot of fans have been asking to hear live material of some of the songs from the first album (such as "Dawn" and "Exodus") but were also asking for new songs such as "Fireflight" and "Full Circle". I decided that this was the perfect chance to give those fans what they wanted while also rebooting the musical concept and spiritual message behind "FOREVER RED". I feel that it stands alone as a completely separate project from my first record.
QUESTION: Why the name, "EXPERIENCE"?
Although this record has some of the same songs as my first, they are very different from their older versions. Seeing my band live is definitely not the same as listening to the original album at home or in your car - I personally think it's better, and that's saying a lot, since "FOREVER RED" still sounds awesome to my ears to this day. I'm not tooting my own horn, but to some degree, I feel that the band and I have really grown together as professionals and as friends, and I've always believed that experience makes all of us better as a group and as individuals . Thanks to the band's talents, the show is a completely different experience, hence the album's title.
QUESTION: Do you have a track listing?
Well, I'm trying to keep it a secret, but... okay! Keep in mind that the order may change, but this is what we've got. Twelve tracks in total. YEAH!
3. Love Someone
4. Tiger Eyes
6. Testimonial Ocean
8. Fallen / Resurrection (medley)
9. Heart of the Moon
10. Forever Red
11. Ave Maria / Amazing Grace (medley)
12. Full Circle
QUESTION: When will "EXPERIENCE" be released? Where can I buy it?
The street date is Tuesday, June 19, 2007, and it will be available at Waterloo Records in Austin, with an online purchase options at CD Baby and ITunes to follow shortly thereafter. I am hoping to get this album distributed nationally soon after the initial release.
>>> "EXPERIENCE" is now available online!
June 18, 2007
I'm very proud and excited to announce the arrival of my second album - "EXPERIENCE"! After the end of my Fall 2006 concert series, I joined forces with Adam Whaley, my co-producer, and we went to work.
Our job was not going to be an easy one. My first album, "FOREVER RED", was produced entirely in Adam's recording studio, The Means of Production. This time around, I wanted the album to capture the feel of the live shows performed with my full band, but I also wanted to treat fans to live versions of some of the songs from the first album. Therefore, Adam and I first focused on the concert recordings of "Dawn", "Love Someone", "Exodus", "Testimonial Ocean", "Fallen / Resurrection", and "Forever Red", getting them ready to be put on a CD in the arduous post-production process of editing mistakes and fixing noise problems. What fun!
While this was being done, we also focused on new material that would be included on this album. Over the course of the two previous years, my band and I were also performing a lot of new music, some of which had been performed and recorded live, and others which were completely new to the show, so Adam and I then brought my entire band into the studio to record their parts.
The end result was "EXPERIENCE" - this album has taken almost a year to record, mix, engineer, and produce, but I assure you, the wait has been more than worth it! It is packed full of energetic, virtuostic performances by my entire live band...
Jennifer Mulhern - 6-string electric cello
Jayme Munoz - acoustic guitar
Ryan Redfern - electric bass
Adam Sultan - electric and acoustic guitar
Jason Traweek - drums and world percussion
Billy Wolfe - keyboards
Georgia Napolitano - vocals
Kelley Phillips-Glover - vocals
Crystal Starr - vocals
Fallen / Resurrection
Heart of the Moon
Ave Maria / Amazing Grace
"EXPERIENCE" is now available for purchase EXCLUSIVELY through my website, as well as live shows. I have set up an "Online Presale" page for fans and friends, where you can order CDs directly from our Central Texas business office.
Yes, CD Baby and ITunes will eventually get "EXPERIENCE" both in CD and mp3 format, but for now, we're focusing on getting it out there straight from the source! As a bonus, every copy sold through the website will be autographed by yours truly and sent out in an envelope with a safe, soft bubble wrap inner lining! Thanks for your love and support! See you all soon!
Violinist Omar Lopez
>>> Our New Musicians and "Synergy"
July 26, 2007
Hi everyone! Just checking in on a hot, humid Thursday afternoon. The band and I performed two more amazing shows this past weekend - one at our signature downtown Austin venue - Seattle's Best Coffee under the Frost Bank Tower - and another at the Hot Summer Sounds Concert Series in Temple, Texas.
Those of you who came to the concerts probably noticed a few new faces. The band is going through some non-permanent changes right now, so we've got some new musicians playing with us. I want to thank my longtime bassist and musical co-director Ryan Redfern and his lovely, ever-so-supportive wife Laura (our stage manager and sound technician) for bringing in and training our new drummer, Reagan Redfern (Ryan's brother).
I also want to thank guest guitarist Aaron Dembe and my former keyboardist Jesse Jack for filling in, and I also want to thank my vocal director, Kelley Phillips-Glover, for bringing newcomer backing vocalist Shawnda Birch into the fold. It was very scary for me to imagine playing without my regular cast, but the shows went off without a hitch!
Now, to all of you who have been anticipating the performance of "Synergy" at our more recent shows, I apologize for not delivering! Given the time that our new roster of musicians have been putting in to get the bulk of our songlist down, they have yet to learn this song, but they're doing a fantastic job and I'm very pleased with them!
No worries. "Synergy" will be back and it will be better than ever, joined by three brand new original songs for the upcoming OMAR LOPEZ EXPERIENCE Fall 2007 concert series. Stay tuned!
>>> Fall 2007 Concerts are now in Full Swing!
September 24, 2007
We are having such a blast right now!
This past weekend's concerts were nothing short of a thrill for the band and me - it's like we're "in the groove" so to speak and we're not losing any steam.
On Saturday night (September 22nd), after a few days of grueling rehearsals (we needed to tighten up some things!), we presented our fourth official concert celebrating the release of my new live CD, "EXPERIENCE".
Anyway, the performance's ticket sales were sold to benefit the Wright House Wellness Center, an organization which is a haven for people living with or at risk of contracting chronic illnesses, where the mind, body, and spirit are nurtured through prevention, education, care, and compession in a culturally inclusive setting.
Our set was laden with songs new and old, my band put on one of their best performances to date! I was joined onstage by Leah Zeger (second violin / vocals), Billy Wolfe (keyboards), Ryan Redfern (bass), Adam Sultan (guitars), Jason Traweek (drums) and vocalists Kelley Phillips-Glover, Shawnda Birch, and Georgia Napolitano.
The audience there at Marc Brewster and Bart Loeser's Las Casitas estate was ready to have a good time so they were on as well!
SEPTEMBER 22nd SETLIST:
Reasons for Living
I'll Stand by You
Ave Maria / Amazing Grace
Fiddles of Fire
On Sunday afternoon (September 24th), I scaled it back to a four-piece band (keys, bass, and drums) and two singers for a short set at St. Helen's Catholic Church's Fall Festival - we'd been there last year, but due to the newness of some of the material, we were still getting our wings. This year, we more than made up for it! Even though the band was a little smaller for this show, we still rocked it out and the audience was more than appreciative of our efforts - thanks to Mary Shanahan for providing us with that wonderful opportunity to share our music with St. Helen's!
SEPTEMBER 23rd SETLIST:
Fallen / Resurrection
Reasons for Living
If you haven't seen our live show this season, now is the time. Our next performance will take place this coming Friday (September 28th) in downtown Austin under the beautiful Frost Bank Tower, just outside of Seattle's Best Coffee. If you find yourself downtown and you're trying to find us, just follow the sound of the music to the corner of 4th Street and Congress Avenue and we'll be there, starting the show right at 8:00 PM!
On Saturday (September 29th), my smaller band and I will perform once again, this time at the Old Pecan Street Festival's Interfaith Arts area, on the Tom Escandell Stage. That show starts at 7:00 PM.
We hope to see you soon.
Omar and the band
>>> Living in the World
November 9, 2007
I think this is quite possibly the longest time over the past year that I've gone without doing a concert for the public. There's been a lot of changes happening in my life... which I'm going to go into in this blog.
So about a month and a half ago, I was presented the opportunity to audition for a little musical called THE WIZ. Yeah, THE WIZ. Not the Wizard of Oz... which means that I'd "Ease On Down the Road" instead of following the Yellow Brick Road. A common misconception is that the campy 1978 film with an aging (but still talented) Diana Ross and a truly talented (and normal) Michael Jackson is the original version of The Wiz, but no!
The musical was originally penned in 1975 and starred Stephanie Mills, but when Quincy Jones and his people wanted to "urbanize" it into a movie musical, most of the original Broadway cast was canned in favor of big stars like Mizz Ross (Melinda Doolittle's Idol version of "Home" was worlds better) and Jacko - who really "Can't Win" now. Boo on Jones and company.
Anyway, I grew up loving the Oz books by L. Frank Baum and the way that his whimsical world was made to be so realistic, as opposed to the over-the-top candyland as it was portrayed in the 1939 MGM film. The Wiz (in story) is closer to Baum's original vision of Oz, and I must say that with my tastes leaning towards R&B, soul, hip-hop, and MoTown, I really loved the score while growing up more than "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead". Sorry, I'm just being honest!
My favorite Oz character throughout the books was always the Cowardly Lion for his genuine fear of the known and unknown, and yet his undying willingness to protect his friends at all costs. He wasn't such a coward. I especially loved the Cowardly Lion as played by Ted Ross in The Wiz film, and the more lion-like version in Disney's "Return to Oz" (1985).
So when the opportunity came up to audition for the Cowardly Lion, I couldn't pass it up. After two callbacks, I found out I got the part over two other VERY talented people... and now I'm afraid! I'm wondering - did I make the right decision? After all, I'm a violinist, first and foremost. I did musical theater as a kid, and I even played the Lion in 3rd grade, but I'm such an impulse decision-maker that I'm truly terrified of the prospects of leaving my original music and my band behind for a few months to be in The Wiz.
I've got a lot of praying and thinking to do.
I accepted the part, but I was also also presented with the opportunity to start working on my third original studio album of violin-themed orchestral-rock fusion in January, which is when I'm set to go to the Land of Oz for rehearsals. BIG decision. Way to go, Omar. Talk about a quandry!
So, rather than going one way or the other, I've been living in the world a little bit and soaking up the energy that lies outside the borders of my own art. I've been going clubbing and dancing with friends, taking trips down to Corpus Christi to visit my family, spending time on the beach at South Padre Island, and taking road trips to Houston and Dallas... not because I'm avoiding the situation at hand, but because I feel that sometimes, if I step out of my own comfort zone, the answers will come a lot easier than if I were holed up in my apartment and studio writing music and practicing my songs for the next show.
Aside from a couple of private events that I have lined up through the holiday season and an upcoming appearance on Friday, November 16, at Seattle's Best Coffee under the Frost Bank Tower in downtown Austin (SHOW PLUG!!!!), I'm really not playing out with my band that much for November and December.
It's not because I don't love my band... I love Ryan, Jen, Kelley, Georgia, Billy, Adam, Jason, Jesse, Jayme, Reagan, Shawnda, Leah, and Laura (my stage manager) too! They have been amazingly supportive and wonderful throughout the past year... but sometimes I get so caught up in my Forever Red life that I don't give myself a chance to explore what else is out there, hence why I'm excited about the opportunity to play the Cowardly Lion in The Wiz.
I'm even doing some more shows with The Brew throughout the winter season, just to let the Latin blood in my veins flow with the Latin-jazz, salsa, and flamenco music which they play with such expertise and talent!
I hope all of you in my MySpace family will keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I come to a decision. I appreciate all of you out there...
Remember, my next show for the Omar Lopez Experience fans is Friday, November 16, 2007 at Seattle's Best Coffee under the Frost Bank Tower, on 4th and Congress in downtown Austin. It's my last show there at that wonderful venue for the year, which has flown by so fast that I would have missed it if I blinked, and my primary drummer Jason Traweek and his own band, Ear to Anon, will be opening up for us. Catch Ear to Anon at 7:00, followed by my band (the Omar Lopez Experience) at 8:30. I hope to see you there!
Much love and thanks,
>>> Giving Thanks
November 18, 2007
In the spirit of the coming holiday, I wanted to send out some blog love to my MySpace friends, family, and fellow musicians. This weekend has given me so much for which to be thankful.
On Friday night, my band and I performed our final open-air concert at Seattle's Best Coffee under the Frost Bank Tower in downtown Austin. Even though two of our main cast members (cellist Jen Mulhern and electric guitarist Adam Sultan) regrettably couldn't be there due to prior commitments, we were joined by my good friend and collaborator Jayme Munoz, who is the lead guitarist for flamenco-jazz and world beat group CADAQUES.
I know I say this after almost every show, but this had to be our best ever as a group. The band threw it down, kicking off the set with "SYNERGY", and wrapping it up with the consistently rockin' crowd favorite, "FALLEN / RESURRECTION".
I think it's fitting that we finished off the show with that medley because I wrote it for all of the special people in my life who serve to uplift my spirit whenever I'm feeling down. I'm a human being and I know that even though I put forth a happy, driven, and outgoing exterior a lot of the time, there have been some tough times (which I know we all have been through) and so it's good to know that people have my back.
That being said, I want to say thank you to all of you in my world, both in realtime and on MySpace, who have been so wonderful and supportive, especially during 2007, which has been the best year of my life. I can't name everybody, since the list is so long, but I'm going to just give some shout-outs that way some of you may be inspired to do the same thing for those you love.
First, to my family - Dad, Mom, Lupita, Trey, Marc, Janna, Jordan, Josh, Makayla, Marah, and my dearly departed grandmother, Mama Lupe, who left this world on October 21 this year.
Second, to my band - Ryan Redfern, Jason Traweek, Jennifer Mulhern, Billy Wolfe, Adam Sultan, Kelley Phillips-Glover, Georgia Napolitano, Shawnda Birch, Leah Zeger, Jesse Jack, Jayme Munoz, and Reagan Redfern - and to The Brew - Michael, Mark, and Joe Rodriguez, Dylan McCollum, Brad Evilsizer, Winton Reynolds, Steve Zirkel, Jose Luis Davila, Daniel Pardo, and Danny Mendoza.
Third, to my support staff - Laura Redfern, Adam and Mandy Whaley, Tina and Mark Napolitano, Judy Foston, and Savannah Green - and fourth, to some of the most special people in my life who give me the joy of their love and friendship - Joe P., Sean M., Sandra D., Catherine B., Heather N., Cynthia M., Matthew A., Adam, Austin, Lukas W., and Mary Shanahan.
Fifth, to the special animals who have blessed me with their unconditional love - Kooby, Bunny, Punkin, Caesar, Willow, Cookie, Jackson, Jillian, Joey, Niles, Spartacus, Harper, and Crissy (R.I.P. Crissy-girl - January 2007).
Finally, to some of the best fans anyone could ever hope for!
This list could go on and on, so I'm sorry for not naming all of you, but you all know who you are.
The holidays are such a special time, but I feel that Christmas is so overmarketed and commercialized that Thanksgiving (for me) epitomizes what the holidays should REALLY be about - giving thanks and being with those you love.
I love all of you. Thanks for everything!
Peace through love and music,