(Original Photo By: Beaux Arts Photography)
One of the most difficult things we do is try to figure out what the hell we want to do with our lives. More often than not, what we envisioned ourselves doing when we were children rarely aligns with what we end up doing as adults. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean that a left turn in life can’t be a good thing. That was the case for Dallas-based producer/DJ, Omair Mirza, best known for tracks such as “Eleven 11” and “Perfect Imperfection (featuring Avari),” as well as remixes of Markus Schulz’s tracks like “Destiny” and “Erase You.” Omair grew up in a traditional South Asian household where he wanted and was expected to pursue some type of career in healthcare, science, or technology. Music was always a presence in his life, but nowhere on his radar as a career choice.
“This may come as a surprise, but growing up I really wanted to be a cardiologist. I was enrolled at Southern Methodist University when I was only 13 and my electrical engineer professor was the Nobel Prize winner, Jack Kilby! I graduated high school two years early and was immediately accepted to several medical schools, but my dad didn’t let me attend any of them because they were all out of state. I guess you could say it was fate because if I had gone to med school, I would have never started in music. With my love for music in tow, I started spinning back in 1999 after graduating high school. I didn’t start producing my own music until 2010. In May 2012 my life would begin to change as my tracks “This Music” and “8 Gig” were signed to Christopher Lawrence’s label, Pharmacy Music. My life in the electronic dance music scene took off from there. I have truly dedicated myself to the music industry and the past few years have been a whirlwind in the studio, crafting tracks and EPs that make me proud. Fast forward to November 2016 and I am thrilled to announce that I have launched my very own record label, OHM Music. Life has a funny way of taking you to places you never saw coming.”
It was a long time before Omair made any headway into the music industry; success does not happen overnight. In fact, he spun as a DJ for more than a decade before he even started producing his own music. However, more than ever, there is no clear path to success in the music world. Omair stressed the importance of developing a unique sound as an artist, especially as it becomes easier and more accessible for producers to get their music heard. He is motivated to stay ahead of the curve, and as someone who transitioned from wanting to be a cardiologist to becoming a DJ, he’s certainly not afraid to try new things.
“Staying relevant is probably my biggest fear. With the explosion of dance music both nationally and internationally, naturally we are seeing new producers coming up and making a name for themselves every day. In addition, the ease of access and use of the latest and greatest production software is making it so more and more artists can put their material out there for the world to hear. This pushes me harder than ever to stay at the top of my game without compromising my own personal sound. I have to stay true to who I am as an artist and avoid following recent trends that have been emerging in the electronic dance music scene. With all this said, I will let my music speak for itself and hopefully my fans will stay true and faithful for years to come.
A major challenge I faced was the quest to defining my own unique sound that would set me apart from other artists as the dance market has become so saturated with similar productions. I enjoy trance, but I am also in love with house, progressive house, tech house, and techno. You can hear different vibes and energy in my various original releases and remixes as well. My drive to be unique in everything I create keeps me ahead of the game and hopefully will keep me relevant as electronic dance music continues to evolve.”
Despite the massive inroads Omair has made in the music industry, one of the toughest challenges was informing his parents that he was pursuing music full-time. In fact, he never even told his own dad his intentions. Although his parents may not necessarily agree with his career path, they are proud that their son is following his passion. It’s tough to find a job that is both productive and fulfilling. There’s never been a better time to pursue your passion.
“Growing up as a child of South Asian descent, I was raised and expected to become a doctor, lawyer, engineer, or a corporate professional. No one tells their parents they want to be a musician! In fact, I was part of corporate America for several years – finance – for some of the biggest investment firms. However, my true passion and life plan was to become a cardiologist. So, you could imagine how hard it was to explain to my family that music was the path that I ultimately chose. Because of this, I never actually communicated this to them. I have been spinning since 1999, and they would hear me practicing in the bedroom. My mom was the first to know about the music business side. I never told my dad because he is so old school and traditional. To this day it’s still an internal struggle that I endure. However, this struggle has been motivation for me to succeed in this industry. I want my family to be proud of me. I know that if I show them how hard I work, and as long as I continue to achieve great things in this industry, everything will work itself out. I am following my heart and for that I know they are proud.”
There is no question that Omair is a thoughtful guy, mindful not just of his career choices but also how they affect those around him. He also touched on being raised in a very traditional South Asian home (he is Pakistani-American). As such, he is in a unique position to use his platform to make a difference in the world at large. He has personally worked with a charity called Last Night A DJ Saved My Life and their Peace One Day initiative. It utilizes the power of music to help promote peace and humanitarian aide in war-torn regions. What a beautiful concept.
“My family comes from Pakistan…I’ve been there a lot. I’ve lived there, seen the results of poverty and war, and been privy to the suffering. After seeing this firsthand, I have been driven to do something about it. I’ve worked with a charity several times before called Last Night A DJ Saved My Life, during the initiative Peace One Day. This has become a global initiative with tons of charities and countless celebrities working to end violence that third world countries suffer on a daily basis. The idea is for just one day a year on September 21st, everyone lay down arms and joins together in peace, offering families the opportunity to leave their homes to get things like medical care without the fear of being injured or killed. This is a global day of unity on a scale that humanity has never known. Small movements like this will hopefully bring the tides of change, even if just for a moment. If we can bring peace to war ridden countries for even a day, think of what that could mean on a larger scale! Peace is possible if we all work together. I want nothing more than to be part of a world that can finally breathe and live without the fear and destruction that war brings.”
If you want to get involved in the Peace One Day movement head to http://www.peaceoneday.org. Check out Omair’s exclusive interview with iHeart Radio where he talks in depth about his #SETFORPEACE and experience with Peace One Day here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrL3AQepRm8
Omair is a perfect example of how you can never know where life will take you. Also, it’s good to have multiple interests and passions. Masters of their craft do dedicate themselves to it, but a rich life involves diversity. Aside from his interest in science and medicine, Omair is also an avid poker player; he says he may even go out for the World Series of Poker one day. With all that he’s set out and accomplished so far, I wouldn’t put it past him.
“I love poker! I would consider it my second passion. I wouldn’t say that I play ‘professionally,’ but I would like to think I am semi pro. I put in 35-40 hours a week playing, studying, learning, and constantly evolving as a poker player. Would I ever pursue a spot in the World Series Of Poker if I weren’t a musician? I think so. To be honest I am pursuing that even though I am a musician. I think sitting down at the poker table and standing in the DJ booth have a lot of parallels when it comes to reading the player or reading the crowd, respectively. You have to predict the next player’s move just like you need to predict what the crowd wants or needs from you during a set. You have to be a forward-thinker and also have the ability to stay calm under pressure. I like to think that I have what it takes to be successful both behind the DJ decks and at the poker table. So who knows…maybe one day you will see me in The World Series Of Poker. We will just have to wait and see!”