Born: January 1, 1959 Primary Instrument: Drums
Omar Hakim - drums
From playing in his father's band at age ten to selling out stadium shows with Madonna, Omar Hakim has done it all. His talent and unique style have made him a favorite among drummers and musicians worldwide.
A graduate of the New York School of Music and Art, Omar began his career recording with various pop and soul groups. His father, Hasan Hakim, had played trombone for Duke Ellington and Count Basie and that influence helped to warm the younger Hakim's ear up for the part he would play in one of the most famous jazz fusion acts ever, Weather Report.
I had a natural affinity for drums and rhythm very young, says Hakim. I started playing drums at about age five, when I got a toy drum as a Christmas gift from an uncle. They strapped that thing around my neck and I immediately started playing one of those marching cadence kind of beats.
In 1982 he joined Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul in recording the critically acclaimed albums “Procession,” “Domino Theory,” “This Is This,” and “Sporting Life” with Weather Report. During his three-year stint with them, Omar also managed to land the drumchair with Sting for his first solo release “Dream Of The Blue Turtles.” With subsequent tours and recordings with artists such as David Sanborn, Dire Straits, Marcus Miller, Mariah Carey, Miles Davis, Chic, and David Bowie, he was known as a major force in both the jazz and pop worlds.
Striving Against Typecasting Sometimes, if people know you from rock, they think of you as a rock drummer and don’t expect you to play anything else. Or, if they know you in jazz, then they typecast you as a jazz drummer, explains Hakim. I was conscious of the fact that I didn’t want people to know me as a rock drummer or a jazz drummer, but as a total musician. So I always made sure I let people know that I was about music.
I knew that setting up my career in his way was going to make my life very interesting and would keep me open- minded musically, explains Hakim. It was always very important to me that I expose myself to everything so that I could grow as a musician.