Think you know this smooth R&B star? Think again

Forget what you might have heard about R&B artist Omarion.

“I think people misconstrue who I am a lot of the time,” he says. “I blame it on the illusion of the game. You might think Omarion is going out to the club, partying and having an orgy with 10 women. If a rumor came out like that, people might believe it. I felt like I really wanted to share more of who I am through my music.”

That’s just what he does on his new album, Ollusion, which reflects the Los Angeles native’s growing personal and musical maturity. To help bring his vision to fruition he collaborated with the likes of T-Pain, Marques Houston and the Song Dynasty production team, which was behind Omarion’s 2004 hit “O.” “You want the chemistry to be right,” Omarion (born Omari Grandberry) says of his experience working on the new album. “You don’t want to be in the room with someone who has the idea of the kind of music you ought to make but it’s not what you want.”

Omarion asserted more control over his musical destiny than ever before on Ollusion, his third solo effort following his departure in 2004 from the hitmaking vocal group B2K. “This project was the most personal to me, because I was the most involved on this one,” says Omarion. “With the other ones, I would get assigned an A&R guy. He’s doing the job of finding records that might be hits but not necessarily songs that pertain to your life. When you make a record and it’s about you, a different emotion comes out.”

The songs on his new album that pertain most directly to Omarion’s life might surprise fans who think the smooth-talking balladeer is all about the quick seduction. In fact, “What Do You Say” finds the singer suggesting to his paramour that they go on an old-fashioned date and do “normal things.” “There are a lot of songs on there talking about love and acceptance, and being able to take your time and recognize what it is,” he says.

Then again, there’s the lead single, “I Get It In,” a pulsing club banger featuring rapper Gucci Mane. The song came together quickly in the studio as Omarion swapped lyrical ideas with producer Tank. “He was doing this melody, and it had this 808 sampler in it, and we were just going back and forth and it was so dope,” Omarion says. “That was one of those records, when we were finished, I called my manager, I called everyone, and said, ‘OK, we’ve got the first single!’”

–Eric R. Danton

Jan/Feb 2010 Issue of M Music & Musicians

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