Omi

You have quite the loyal following here in Chicago, how do you keep this special bond?

I don’t know, hopefully it’s because I’m nice. I think most of everything has been based off of friendships.

The House of Blues is iconic. Were you in awe the first time you performed here?

I always have been, every time. I opened for Huey Lewis and Vonda Shepard and then I did a bunch of shows in the restaurant downstairs. I’d do blues and standards and stuff like that. Over the years it’s been great because I got on different tours that took me to the House of Blues in Vegas and then I moved to Los Angeles and started singing in the Foundation Room there so there has always been this great connection. I’ve been so lucky at the House of Blues since the very beginning of my musical adventure. I can always call when I come back and ask if I can play. What’s so cool about being here in the Foundation Room is that you can have 10 people in one of these private rooms and it sounds awesome.

Did your musical career start in Chicago?

I would have to say it started in Arizona. I was a singing waitress in college. It was a really interesting path how the music started because I’ve always loved music and I’ve always loved singing but I studied journalism in school. When you are a musician and have a journalism degree that is a great combo. The beauty was that I was smart enough to write about what I do and I was able to be a good PR lady.

Do you remember that first time you sang in front of a crowd?

It was at this place called Otis’s, this was years ago. I learned a set of cover songs and I told everyone I possibly could to tell everyone they could and it ended up packed. I only knew one set of music so I sang the same set two times. That was the beginning of it. I came from a small town so coming here and singing in this whole Chicago scene was crazy to me.

Do you pull from personal experiences for your songs?

Every song or album is mostly about that or it’s certainly about a friend that may have had a bad experience. There’s a song called “Somewhere to Turn” and I remember talking to a really good friend of mine and he was just in the dumps so I wrote that song for him. It’s weird because songs just come out.

Is there a special place where you do all of your songwriting and recording?

I do it wherever! I swear, I’m the queen of the freestyle. Most of the time I just freestyle it out and record it and then I will go back and listen to it.

What artists do you admire?

Everyone. I love all of the old school girls like Sarah McLachlan, Melissa Etheridge, the Indigo Girls, Bonnie Raitt and that whole genre where I come from in the late ’80s and early ’90s. I also love the Black Eyed Peas and I really appreciate techno. The list could really go on and on. U2 of course, Tom Petty, all of those old school classic rockers. Journey! Who doesn’t love Journey?

At one time you worked for Creed. Was the rock star life as cool as it seems?

It was totally amazing. I love this lifestyle. The cocktails, the making of music, the making of friends. I have to be more careful these days. I smoked for a long, long time and I am so glad I quit smoking. I’ve been so good.

Is marriage in your future? 

I would love to marry this amazing man I’m with now. I’ve always wanted to get married and I’ve always wanted to have kids and I swear one day I woke up and I was going to be 40. I was thinking, “Oh goodness, what happened and how did this go by so fast?” Then I met someone who had two kids and he wasn’t interested in having kids anymore. I could let go of this amazing, beautiful man who I found after my entire life of hoping that I find a man so lovely or I could realize that maybe it’s not my destiny to have kids and maybe I am in this life to make music and continue on this interesting path. I’m going to just love the hell out of all of my friends’ kids.

Go-to Chicago restaurants?

Number one is Province. I always try to get Carson’s ribs to go if I can as well.

If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be? 

All of my grandparents. I’d love to get them all together and be like, “Can you believe you created all of this?”

Photography by Neal Agustin

Did you enjoy this feature? Subscribe to our newsletter and never miss a drink, we promise we’ll never spam you!

All Rights Reserved ©2017 A DRINK WITH ™

The URL has been copied to your clipboard.

Omi