“You could live it up and be successful, but it wouldn't mean anything without love and friends. I could go broke and still be happy because love is all I need.” Omarion.
A former frontman of the multi-platinum boy band B2K who produced the hit single "Bump, Bump, Bump" (feat. P. Diddy), Omarion is now a solo artist and actor. His debut solo album, O (2005), was nominated a Grammy and won a BET award. His second solo effort, 21 (2006), spawned the massive hit single "Ice Box," produced and features backing vocals by Timbaland. The charismatic young R&B star was also featured on best friend and fellow rapper Bow Wow's hit song "Let Me Hold You," which went #4 of the Billboard 100. He is currently working on a collaborative album with Bow Wow, entitled Face Off, scheduled to be released on December 4, 2007.
As an actor, Omarion appeared in the Chris Stokes-directed/written musical drama movie You Got Served (2004), alongside B2K and IMX band members, and the comedy Fat Albert (2004), with half-brother/singer Marques Houston. The 5' 7" performer will star in the upcoming films Feel the Noise and Street Soldier. On the small screen, Omarion could be seen in the sitcoms "The Bernie Mac Show," "One on One" and "Cuts."
“How would I treat a girl if she was my girlfriend? I'm a really affectionate person and I like being a gentleman.” Omarion.
Childhood and Family:
Around midnight on November 12, 1984, Omari Ishmael Grandberry was born at his home in Inglewood, California. His name Omari means “King,” and adding the on at the end of his name means “King Forever.”
The oldest child of Trent Grandberry and Leslie Burrell (Omarion's stylist and was B2K's stylist), Omarion has three older sisters: Amira Grandberry, Arielle Grandberry, Kira Grandberry, and three older brothers: O'Ryan Omri Grandberry (aka. O'Ryan, singer; born on February 12, 1987), Tymon Grandberry and Ukil Grandberry. He also has one half-brother, Marques Houston (older; formerly of IMX), who helped him hit the big time. Record producer, manager (for IMX and B2K), and film director Chris Stokes is his uncle by marriage.
Omarion, nicknamed “King O” or “O,” speaks a little bit of French, Spanish, and slang. He sleeps in boxers and socks and likes to read the book Hypnosis. His favorite actor is Robin Williams and his favorite movie is Braveheart. A big fan of the basketball team Los Angeles Lakers, Omarion also enjoys football. He likes to visit Houston,New York, Texas and Detroit and his favorite food is Jambalaya.
Omarion, not related to actor/singer Marques Houston, is good friends with fellow rapper Bow Wow and was featured in his song “Let Me Hold You.” Omarion's favorite color is red.
“Music is everything -- it's my world, my life. I know that I can't visit each of my fans personally, but I hope that my music makes them feel like they've gotten to know me.” Omarion.
At a very young age, Omarion has developed a boundless enthusiasm for music, thanks to his father who had introduced him to musical influences like Earth, Wind & Fire and Marvin Gaye. Omarion began singing and dancing at age five and was a member of the band "UAC." After the group's split, he focused his talent on hip hop. He was in a Kellogg's Corn Pops "Gotta have my Pops" and a McDonald's ads before making it into the music business. He also did some acting on stage.
A new path for Omarion's music career opened in the late 1990s when his half-brother, Marques Houston (formerly of IMX), introduced him to IMX's manager, Christopher Stokes, who helped founded and managed a new band called B2K, meaning "Boys of the New Millennium." The members are Omarion's cousin Jarrell "J-Boog" Houston, Dreux Pierre "Lil' Fizz" Frederic, and De'mario Monte "Raz-B" Thornton. Omarion, 15 years old at the time, was the oldest member and lead singer of the new boy band.
Along with B2K, Omarion released the band's self-titled debut album in 2001, which spawned the first single "Uh Huh." They were also in a scene in IMx's video, "Beautiful." The next year, they released their first LP, B2K, which produced three singles: "Uh Huh," "Gots Ta Be" and "Why I Love You." Their second and final regular studio album, Pandemonium!, hit the music stores in December of the same year. They made their first top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with with the single "Bump, Bump, Bump" (featuring P. Diddy), which was written and produced by R. Kelly. It climbed to #1 for one week, starting on February 1, 2003. The music video was released in December 2002. Meanwhile, they also released a Christmas album, entitled Santa Hooked Me Up. Omarion also appeared in the TV commercial for K104 Radio Station.
The group, who was featured regularly on the covers of teen magazines such as Right On! and Word Up, released four more singles in 2003: "Girlfriend," "Bump That," "Everything" and "What A Girl Wants." They were also featured on the soundtrack album for MGM's film Barbershop. Additionally, they headlined The Scream Tour, along with Marques Houston, Jhene, Mario and Nick Cannon.
During that time, Omarion and his band appeared together in the box office hit movie You Got Served (2004). Written and directed by Chris Stokes, the film also stars the members of B2K and IMX as breakdancers. Despite being panned by critics, the film was the most-seen movie during the Super Bowl weekend and was a commercial success. Omarion and Marques Houston play a leader of a leader of a promising hip-hop/streetdancing/breakdancing crew participating in street dancing battles produced by a local club owner in Southern California. His performance was awarded two nominations at the MTV Movie Awards, one for Best Male Breakthrough Performance, and another one for Best Dance Sequence, which he shared with Houston. From the movie, B2K later released their motion picture soundtrack single, "Babadoom" (Ft. Fabolous).
Afterward, Omarion continued acting. He had a minor role in the modest comedy Fat Albert (2004; also with Marques Houston; Kenan Thompson plays the title character), Joel Zwick's live-action/animated film based on the Filmation animated series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. He also appeared in an episode of Fox sitcom "The Bernie Mac Show" and in two episodes of UPN sitcom "One on One."
In January 2004, Chris Stokes announced that B2K had broken up, allegedly for mismanagement and "creative differences." However, the members have reconciled although they are no longer a group. Lil Fizz was featured in Omarion's "Entourage" video and Omarion, J-Boog, and Raz-B are in Lil Fizz's latest video.
Omarion later explained: “There was some bitterness in the beginning, but everyone fixed their relationships, and that's what's important to me.”
Following the demise of B2K, Omarion went solo and released his debut solo album on Epic Records, O, in February 2005. It features the Top 40 hit "O" (#2) and "Touch" (#4) as well as the highly disappointing single "I'm Tryna." The single "Never Gonna Let You Go (She's A Keepa)," with Big Boi, was featured on the soundtrack of the comedy movie starring Will Smith, Hitch (2005). The album itself debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and eventually going platinum. It received good reviews at stations like BET but was less successful on stations like MTV and VH1. The album later earned Omarion a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary R&B Album and won him a BET Award for Viewer's Choice.
That same year, Omarion was featured on best friend and fellow rapper Bow Wow's hit song "Let Me Hold You." It went #4 of the Billboard 100, becoming Omarion's first top-ten single as a solo artist. He subsequently embarked on his Scream Tour with Bow Wow, Marques Houston, Bobby Valentino, B5 and others, which finished on September 4, 2005. Omarion also wrote a memoir, titled “O,” which was released early in that year and published by MTV.
“There's a lot about me that my fans don't know. I've been singing and dancing since I was 5 years old and have made a lot of sacrifices. You don't live a normal life when you're in the limelight.” Omarion (on his memoir).
As for acting, Omarion had a recurring role as Darius on UPN sitcom starring his half-brother Marques Houston, "Cuts" (2005-2006), a spin-off of "One on One." He also provided his voice in the Disney TV movie The Proud Family Movie (2005).
One day after Christmas, on December 26, 2006, Omarion released his second solo effort, 21. The first single off the album is "Entourage," and the second single is "Ice Box," produced and features backing vocals by Timbaland. The latter has gained significant radio airplay and peaked at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was made available on iTunes on October 31 and 16 remixes of the song have been released. It has become Omarion's most successful single as a solo artist to date. And following huge success with "Ice Box," Omarion has comfirmed that “Beg For It” will be his third single. The album itself, which include collaboration with Pharrell Williams and Bryan Michael Cox, landed at #1 in the Billboard 200 and sold 119,000 copies in its first week. However, 21 has been considered as less successful to Omarion's first album O. Meanwhile, in the late 2005 and early 2006, Omarion went on We Ain't Done Yet Tour with best friend/rapper Bow Wow and Holiday Jam Tour with Chris Brown, Ciara, Marques Houston and Bow Wow.
Omarion is currently working on a collaborative album with best friend and fellow rapper Bow Wow, entitled Face Off. It is scheduled to be released on December 4, 2007. On September 15, 2007, Omarion and Marques Houston will perform at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino.
During his relatively successful music career, Omarion is also getting serious with his film career. Along with half-brother Marques Houston and manager Chris Stokes, he founded a production company called the Franchise Boys. He has completed his latest film, Feel the Noise, an upcoming musical drama written by Albert Leon and directed by Alejandro Chomski. He will play the lead role of an aspiring South Bronx rapper who is after having a run-in with local thugs, is forced to hide in Puerto Rico and father he never knew, and eventually finds his salvation in Reggaeton. The film, which also stars Giancarlo Esposito, Victor Rasuk and James McCaffrey, is set to be released on October 5, 2007.
It is also announced that Omarion will share the screen with his half-brother Marques Houston in an upcoming drama film titled Street Soldier, written by Tyger. Additionally, some sources mention that Omarion will appear in a film titled Somebody Help Me, also with Marques Houston, which opening sometime in early 2007. He also have another movie which will be produced by Jennifer Lopez and will star in the pending sequel to You Got Served, You Got Served 2.
BET: Viewer's Choice Award, “O,” 2005