"These kids grew up somewhat different than I did," Omar Velasco, aka Omar Apollo, told me over the phone earlier this month.
"The landscape and how you hang out with your friends and where you hang out with your friends is different in Los Angeles. There are Mexicans all over my street, which is so comforting -- back home in Indiana, there weren't that many Mexicans," he said.
According to a recent Pitchfork profile, Velasco was born to Mexican parents looking to escape gang violence in Guadalajara. In 1992, the Velasco family settled in South Haven, Indiana, and opened a local restaurant called the Super Taco. Today, at just 21 years old, Velasco has found a level of success with his soulful funk- and R&B-inspired pop that allows him to help financially support his mom and dad.
Still, Velasco downplays his agency, giving off the impression that he just sort of stumbled into his music. As a completely independent artist, it's likely Velasco's talent and visibility have more to do with the work ethic his parents instilled in him -- even if he is exactly as chill as "Friends" would lead you to believe.
"Right now, I'm just throwing a bunch of songs together and not really caring how they blend," Velasco said about his most recent EP.
About the title, he added, "Literally, I just needed a name."
Even if the name is incidental, this seven song collection of groove laden ballads is something you'll probably want to dance to with friends, and if that's the only thing holding these songs together, that's all right, because it works.
"I get curved. That s---'s old now. I be having new flames; I be traveling. I don't think I've ever been in love -- I be talking about it though," Velasco said.
Rutger Ansley Rosenborg has been with NBC SoundDiego since 2016. Find out more here.