of the reasons New Age music took off so big over the past 30 years
has been in part due to the unrelenting pace at which we all live
nowadays. For music lovers, artists and music business people who
can remember back to the dawn of the digital age at the start of 1984,
the CD brought the recorded sound of New Age instrumental music to
a higher level, especially noticeable with the rise of Windham Hill
Records in the early to mid 1980s. One label continuing onwards as
leaders of the New Age instrumental movement is Real Music and they
have another winner on their hands with the 2013 CD release of Daytime
Dreamer by composer / keyboard player Omar Akram. Deceptively
simple in its scope and depth, Daytime Dreamer lulls you in
with its sumptuous soundscapes and easy on the ears melodies. Some
may call it background music but others will actually find their blood
pressure lowered as a result of simply sitting down and listening
to Omars latest CD masterpiece. You can blissfully listen, keep
it on in the background as you work or even talk or write, but your
train of thought will not be derailed as a result of spending time
with Daytime Dreamer. Several key audio contributors are featured
as well including David Arana (synths, arranging), Pedro
Eustache (dukuk), Ramon Stagnaro (guitars) and Gregg
Karukas (drums, programming). Daytime Dreamer tastefully
showcases Omar Akram and his magical, mysterious New Age instrumental
music grooves. www.RealMusic.com
mwe3.com presents an interview with
Can you give some background behind the writing and recording of your
2013 CD Daytime Dreamer and what does the album signify to
you and how does it compare with your other CD releases?
Omar Akram: Daytime Dreamer was recorded in a relatively
short amount of time compared to my previous albums, in part because
it contains a few previously released tracks. The new tracks do not
contain many live instruments. I wanted to make the piano front and
center on this project.
mwe3: Can you tell us about the other musicians who played
with you on the album? Charlie Bisharat and Ramon Stagnaro, who add
in violin and guitars, are well known session players. What was it
like collaborating with the other musicians on the Daytime Dreamer
Omar Akram: For the most part the music is written for the
musicians, sometimes I ask them to improvise on certain sections.
Collaborating with amazing musicians like Charlie, Ramon and Pedro
makes the experience very enjoyable.
You had a colorful kind of childhood. I was reading one of your parents
was a U.N. diplomat so how did growing up in so many different places
impact your life and musical upbringing? Did you take in a little
of this and that and blend the cultures all together?
Omar Akram: Yes, my family traveled to many different places
because of my fathers work. We lived in Prague, Czech Republic,
Havana Cuba, Paris France. I think my music is a combination of all
these different cultures.
mwe3: You were born in New York? Whats your connection
to Afghanistan and do you have fans back in the old country?
Omar Akram: Yes, I was born in New York City but both of my
parents are from Afghanistan. I was the first Afghan-American to win
a Grammy Award this year for my album, Echoes of Love. This
made front page news in Afghanistan. I do have many fans over there.
How has your sound changed over the years and in what ways are you
always looking for ways to improve the sound of your compositions
and recordings? Do you still practice music and in what ways do you
keep your musical senses sharp as it relates to playing and composing
Omar Akram: My sound keeps evolving as a composer, I think
partly because of life experiences. For example, having my first child
was a big influence. I still try practicing almost every day but more
importantly I try living life and experiencing new things.
mwe3: What pianos, keyboards and other instruments do you prefer
Omar Akram: On stage I play NORD Stage 2, I really like the
piano sound and a grand piano if its available. I recorded Daytime
Dreamer on a Yamaha C7 grand piano.
mwe3: What was it like meeting Fidel Castro in Cuba? In what
ways were you influenced by Cuban music and other Latin inspired sounds?
What other cultures have an impact on your writing and composing?
Omar Akram: I met Castro at one of my fathers diplomatic
receptions. Cuban culture has influenced my music to a certain extent.
I started to play the piano at the age of six in Prague, so European
classical music has been a big influence as well.
mwe3: On Daytime Dreamer, you blend New Age inspired
music with World Music and electronica too. How would you compare
your influences from those electronic music styles with your classical
When I was a teenager, I was very much influenced by French composer
and electronic musician Jean Michel Jarre. I think some of that came
through in Daytime Dreamer. I think my music is a combination
of all of those genres.
mwe3: It seems like Real Music has always been at the forefront
of healing New Age sounds and you fit right in with that New Age /
beautiful music kind of sound. What other Real Music artists do you
enjoy listening to?
Omar Akram: I am very fortunate to be working with Real Music
from the start of my career. They took a chance on me and I really
appreciate that. I enjoy listening to Kevin Kern and music of my friend
Chuck Wild from Liquid Mind.
mwe3: Do other art forms inspire your music, such as movies,
plays, books, paintings, graphic arts and how has the internet impacted
your music and fan base? What do you do to relax with hobbies and
Akram: Movies and paintings have inspired me the most. The internet
has been amazing for my music, I have over 10 million hits on you
tube! I dont have very much time these days with my music career
but every chance I get I love spending time with my 16 month old daughter.
mwe3: How are you planning to spread the word about Daytime
Dreamer and what other plans do you have
as far as writing and recording new music as well as live performances
and other musical projects for the rest of 2013 and beyond?
Omar Akram: I am planning on doing more live performances and
taking my music to as many people as I can. I am not really thinking
about recording another album for a little while.
Thanks to Omar Akram @ www.OmarAkram.com
and to Real Music @ www.RealMusic.com