Omarion on his fresh start: ‘No one stays hot forever’
(Billboard) - Less than a year ago, Omarion’s music career was at a stand-still. Now, when he’s on the street, people congratulate him by hollering the phrase “Maybach O!”
“The changes that I needed to make?” Omarion says confidently. “I made them.”
Two weeks after Omarion Grandberry, the R&B singer/actor/dancer and former member of the vocal group B2K, was announced as the latest signee to Rick Ross‘ Maybach Music Group imprint on Warner Bros. Records, the 27-year-old is calling from Atlanta, where he’s been holed up in the studio for the past week. Wale, his new label mate, has been in the room next to him, recording new music of his own. Omarion can’t say what specific project either artist is recording for, mostly because they’ve each been producing new material nonstop.
Wale, a DC rapper whose debut album, ‘Attention Deficit’, flopped upon its 2009 release (159,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan), saw his career effectively resuscitated by Ross, who signed the MC to MMG in February 2011 and helped his sophomore release, ‘Ambition’, reach 425,000 in sales. As Omarion preps his first batch of material for Maybach Music Group — his debut single, “Let’s Talk,” received a video on Wednesday (May 23), a new mixtape is on the way, and he says that he has probably has at least two tracks on the forthcoming posse album “Self Made Vol. 2” — the singer, with a chip firmly on his shoulder and a new nickname in “Maybach O,” believes that his new team will help guide him to a similar rebound.
“I’m writing more. I’m dancing different. And I really want to entertain the people,” says Omarion. “I think that people didn’t foresee this move for me — that people were like, ‘Oh, what’s up with Omarion?’ Omarion fell off this, Omarion did that. What’s gonna be his next move? This is my next move.”
Omarion was only 18 when B2K’s self-titled debut album was released in 2002. Along with Lil’ Fizz, J-Boog and Raz-B, Omarion helped create pop-tinged, teen-friendly R&B singles like “Bump Bump Bump” and “Uh Huh” for roughly two years before stepping out on his own. His first solo effort, “O,” sported production from the Neptunes and Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, and has sold 765,000 copies since its 2005 release, according to Nielsen SoundScan. But by 2010, when his third solo effort “Ollusion” was released and moved only 78,000 copies according to SoundScan, Omarion was in an unideal label situation with EMI Music Group (an announced partnership with Lil Wayne‘s Young Money in 2009 failed to materialize) and needed to take some time for himself.