We had the good fortune of connecting with Osmar Okuma and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Osmar, how do you think about risk?
Taking risks is something very important for people who are looking to pursue a creative career because it forces you to grow and learn. A lot of opportunities I have had as an artist have opened up to me after I have decided to take a risk and venture into something new that might be out of my comfort zone at first. As a musician it was an extremely important factor in my life because it allowed me to open my mind and skills to new creative ideas, which later flourished into being able to use those ideas as a way to build up on my career. This allowed me to have more tools at my disposal which meant that if someone was looking for a specific set of skills, I could step up and take the challenge. Risks can come in many forms and in my career specifically it came in the form of taking projects that I might have thought were out of my skill level, working on jobs that required specific skills such as different music genres which I had to learn quickly or maybe taking risky and quick creative decisions while working on a specific project. I believe it shaped my career by forcing me to never be too comfortable, which allowed me to learn more and therefore making sure I was ready for the next challenge. I continue to welcome risks to this day and I dont believe we should ever stop learning or improving our craft because there is no such thing as perfection, there will always be new challenges ahead and we must be ready to take them on.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a bassist which mainly specializes in performing and recording music. My musical background consists primarily of Jazz and Latin music, however throughout my career I have learned a lot of different skills and genres which is what allowed me to keep working on different projects with a wide range of skillsets and tools required. Most recently I have been working as a music producer under the name “Amku”, its a drastically different project than what I normally do as a bassist and performer because its based around music production and composition. I think that working towards this career was easy because it is something that I enjoy doing. The reason I set myself up to pursue this life is because it is something that I would have done regardless if I made it a career or not, so I wanted to dedicated all my time to it. There are certain parts that are not easy, like practicing your craft for hours on end and sometimes seeing little results, realizing that skills alone wont help you in your career and you need to network or do other things which dont relate to the art itself and catching up to modern technology which drastically changes the way your career evolves. These are great challenges but at the end of the day none of that really overshadows the fact that I get to do something I enjoy. Some of the lessons I learned which helped me overcome these challenges is to always take risks because you will never know that you can do something, until you try it. Once you have a grasp of it, always be prepared to the best of your abilities. I believe that one must always be ready for the job in order to have a clear mind and execute it without thinking about the process the whole time. And possibly the most uninspiring yet important lesson I learned is that you must always be on time! being on time shows respect to your peers, professionalism and readiness to complete the task. I dont really know what I would like the world to know about me, I like to think that my story is in my music. Whatever mood I am in and whatever I am interested in or inspired by at the moment is what I play and record about, it is in some ways my personal journal.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We would go to Griffith Observatory and then drive through Mullholland Dr first, in my opinion these are the best places to have a view of the city from both sides, the Valley and Los Angeles. Another favorite spot of mine is Little Tokyo which is a short walk with a lot of amazing food nearby. I would recommend Daikokuya for some ramen, stand in line and wait, its worth it. Then if we want to check out some music we would go to Blue Whale nearby, its a jazz club which showcases some of the best music in Los Angeles. During the summer I recommend Santa Monica Pier and taking a scooter or bike ride along the boardwalk to Venice or checking out the beaches by Hermosa and the hiking trails up on RPV, hit up a taco truck and call it a day. Six flags in Santa Clarita is also an amazing experience for those that like thrill rides so I highly recommend it for a whole day.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many special people in my life that mentored me and helped me form my career in music. One person I had in mind while writing about taking risks is my first bass teacher I had while living in Peru, Joscha Oetz based in Cologne Germany. Joscha is a bassist which lived in Peru for a few years to learn about Peruvian music straight from the source, he was a pioneer in his style of composing and performing which helped me understand how one must be open to taking risks and learning new skills in order to create something unique and inspiring. Another mentor I had very recently which inspires me to take risks and to be more creative is drummer and percussionist Alex Acuña. He moved out of his hometown at a very young age to learn and perform music in central America, which resulted in him becoming an extremely important musician and therefore leading him to Los Angeles where he lives today. These are two mentors which I appreciate a lot in helping me with my own career as a musician and taught me a lot about taking risks to grow as a musician. Its a never ending journey which involves a lot of risks but more often than not flourishes into something beautiful.
Other: https://soundcloud.com/amku_music https://www.twitch.tv/amku_beats/
Beshar Al Azzawi
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