Omar Lye-Fook (born 14 October 1968, London) and known as Omar,
is an internationally acclaimed British soul singer, songwriter and
musician. Omar grew up in Canterbury, Kent. He learned his craft
classically, playing the trumpet, piano and percussion. Omar also
spent two years at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester, and the
Guildhall School of Music in London. His most well-known song was
his debut single "There's Nothing Like This". It reached
#14 in the UK Singles Chart on re-release in 1991. Allmusic noted
that he is described by some as the father of British neo soul.
Following his first two single releases, "Mr Postman" and "You
and Me" featuring backing vocals from Caron Wheeler, Omar released
his first album, entitled There's Nothing Like This in 1990. Initially
released on his father's record label, Kongo Records, it entered
the UK Albums Chart, peaking at #54. Signing to his first major
record label, Talkin' Loud, saw the re-release of his debut album,
which climbed to #19 in the British chart. This was followed in 1992
by his second album, Music, which proved less successful (UK #37)
than the first.
A new signing to RCA Records led to Omar undertaking collaborations
with other musicians, including Lamont Dozier, David Frank (The System),
the former Heatwave bassist Derrick Bramble, Leon Ware and Stevie
Wonder. In 1996, Omar contributed "Water to Drink" to
the AIDS benefit album, Red Hot + Rio, produced by the Red Hot Organization.
In 2003, after one of his songs ("There's Nothing Like This")
was used in the intro round on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, presenter
Mark Lamarr questioned Omar's supposed instant recognizability, quipping
that he would require a Blockbuster card to confirm Omar's identity.
Omar's agent, e-mailed the show and a few episodes later, Omar appeared
in the show's 'identity parade' round, Blockbuster card in hand.
Lamarr was force to concede that Omar was recognizable, and a rather
more significant artist than he had earlier given him credit for.
In 2006, the Urban Music Awards presented Omar with the Best Neo
Soul Act and Outstanding Achievement Awards.
After studying at the Identity Drama School, on 11 June 2009, Omar
made his acting debut in Ché Walker's musical, Been So Long.
 Personal life
Omar is sometimes credited as Omar Hammer. His birth father's surname
is Lye-Fook, while his stepfather's surname is Hammer. He and
his siblings, two brothers and a sister are all musicians. Samia
Lye-Fook (Omar's sister, and youngest of the four) is a BRIT School
alumna, who has provided background vocals for some of Omar's recordings.
Omar became the father of twins in early 2008.
There's Nothing Like This (1990) - UK #19 (re-issue)
Music (1992) - UK #17
For Pleasure (1994) - UK #50
This Is Not a Love Song (1997) - UK #50
Best By Far (2001)
Sing (If You Want It) (2006)
 Chart singles
Year Title UK Singles Chart Label
1991 "There's Nothing Like This" #14 Kongo Records
1992 "Your Loss My Gain" #47 Talkin' Loud
1992 "Music" #53 Talkin' Loud
1994 "Outside" / "Saturday" #43 RCA
1994 "Keep Steppin'" #57 RCA
1997 "Say Nothin'" #29 RCA
1997 "Golden Brown" #37 RCA
Some of the musicians Omar has performed with include (but are not
Kele Le Roc
Common - on the 2004 Electric Circus track, "The Hustle"
Ol' Dirty Bastard