Many artists struggle to establish their musical identity, laboriously trying on different musical styles like a piece of clothing, looking to find what fits. But there are others that emerge fully formed, in full command of their craft, their identity and their music.
Omar ‘Imar’ Shepherd fits firmly in the latter category. His soothing music not only generates a calm and relaxing feeling but has had an inspirational and motivational effect on the youths.
A young man who grew up in the parish of St. Thomas, Jamaica, Imar was drawn to music at an early age; singing at church and various community events, but didn’t take music seriously until he was in his early 20’s. He explains, “While working at Tastee, I was invited to perform at the annual Christmas party. Based on my performance, I received an automatic invitation to all company sponsored events, , Beach trips and company funerals. The coordinator told me I had what it takes to be a star, a diamond in the rough, and from then I began this musical journey.”
His first big break came as lead singer for the touring band ‘Crucial’ that performed weekly at the Market Place on Red Hills Road in Kingston. Subsequently, he began working as a solo artiste during which he was a guest artiste on the popular Tastee Talent Search Concert for two (2) years.
As he ventured deeper into the music industry in the birthplace of reggae music, Kingston, Jamaica, the pieces began to fall into place for Imar. In 2010, he hooked up with singer, songwriter and local producer, Demarco for Rebel Music. The two recorded and released the single “Woman I need You” in collaboration with House of Reggae in Canada. The single received heavy rotation both locally and internationally, and sparked major interest across the world from Europe, United States, Canada and the Caribbean.
Riding the wave of his recent success, Imar has taken to the studio working with some of the most notable producers in the reggae music industry, Demarco-Rebel Music, Digital B, St Bess Records, Calibud Music and J Islands, just to name a few.
Now recording in earnest, Imar has become an avid songwriter, taking his influences, like Dennis Brown, Bob Marley, Beres Hammond, and using them to shape his own style. “I love to see people happy,” Imar explains, “Music is a tool that brings happiness to many people.”
When he is not recording in the studio, Imar is on the road honing his on-stage presence and sharing his love for the music in his own style. “Doing the shows gives me the opportunity to interact with people. It gives me joy and it’s an opportunity to put forth the brand. Many times you are able to refine your selections based on the fans reaction.”
Imar is definitely on the rise. He is taking his share of the music industry with his soulful and humble personality. Many are saying this new reggae sensation has been given the reggae baton and is ready to take on the marathon reggae road routes.
Currently, Imar has two song in heavy rotation on RockDaBox.net; Do It & Feelings.