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Singer, songwriter

As the former lead singer of urban boy band B2K, Omarion stood ahead of his peers when he was with the group from 2002 until 2004. The singing and dancing group sold millions of albums until they disbanded in 2004, after appearing in the film You Got Served. When Omarion went solo with his debut album O, in 2006, he had an instant hit on his hands. Hip-Hop's elite were on his side from the start, including The Neptunes and Rodney Jerkins. Omarion followed up his role in You Got Served with a role in Fat Albert before releasing his sophomore record 21 in 2006.

Born Omari Ishamel Grandberry on November 12, 1984, in Inglewood, California, Omarion was a child actor. As a child he did a handful of television commercials, including spots for McDonald's and Corn Pops. When he got a bit older he joined a rap group called Wild Kingdom, where one of his friends dubbed him with the nickname Omarion. In his late teens Omarion signed a deal with Epic records to be a member of their new creation B2K. The four-piece group was put together as an urban dance-pop boy band, ala Backstreet Boys. In 2002 the group's track "Uh Huh" got teenage girls grooving, and their self-titled platinum-selling debut was a hit because of it. B2K followed with a Christmas album and then with Pandemonium!. In 2003 they recorded the soundtrack to the film You Got Served, in which B2K also appeared as actors. Shortly after the movie was released in 2004, the group broke up with no intention of getting back together, let alone speaking. "We created a personal relationship before anything," Omarion said in an interview with Jet about the group reuniting. "So before business, our relationship has to be fixed. … As young men we are stubborn."

After his role in You Got Served, Omarion got his acting career rolling with a part in the live-action movie Fat Albert, before recording his solo debut album. In February of 2005 Sony/Columbia Records issued O, a record that entered the charts at number one and went gold. Though there was little time between the disbanding of B2K and Omarion's solo work, the singer wanted his own album to be personal. "This album didn't come easy," he told SuChin Pak of "I mean, it took a lot of time and I really wanted to pour my heart out into my music." The only former member of B2K to attempt a solo outing, Omarion knew O had to be the best record he could make, and this time, with no group to back him up, the strain was all on him. "Really it's a lot of pressure on you and it's like they can point the finger that it's all on you," he admitted to Quinton Hatfield of

In the same month of his album debut, Omarion also released an autobiography, titled O, in which he described the ups and downs of his career in the spotlight. "Everyone asks, how can I make an autobiography at only 20, but this industry grows you up," he said in his interview with Jet. "I've seen a lot and a lot was available to me. I've seen other people go through things." Most of the year 2005 was spent on the road, getting Omarion back in front of his fans. He admitted to Pak that, without his B2K members behind him, he actually does suffer from stage fright; but that only makes him step up his game. "It's kind of like a reassurance, though: If I don't have it, I probably won't do [as good a] performance as when I have the butterflies." Omarion formed a relationship with another young performer, rapper Bow Wow, who was formerly known as Lil Bow Wow. Omarion worked on Bow Wow's song "Let Me Hold You," from his successful 2005 record Wanted. The track became a number four hit, and the pair went on a co-headlining tour.

Omarion never had a moment to spare, and to close out 2006, Columbia Records released his sophomore effort, 21. The title reflected Omarion's new legal drinking age and his adulthood. "For this album it was definitely a more mature side of me," he told USA Today. "Not just with the topics or the writing, but just my image as well. If you look at the front of the CD I am rocking the suit. There is a real grown-up feel." For 21, Omarion worked hard on every song, something he was never able to do with B2K. Producers the Underdogs, Pharrell Williams, and Timbaland ensured there would be hot tracks. Co-writing almost every song, Omarion wanted 21 to be an identifiable album. "I feel like this time around with me writing on pretty much everything, it's personal," he stated on his website. "Every situation on the album has personally happened to me."

At 21, Omarion was more confident in himself as a role model and an adult. "Because I'm in such a different place in my life right now, I see how music and TV affects the young people," he told's Shaheem Reid. "It's so important when they hear my music, it's not all about fame and making money—it's about the message." The album's first two singles, "Entourage" and "Icebox," were both successful. Chuck Taylor of Billboard called "Entourage" "a seemingly effortless R&B record, acing every element from inspired vocal to clever production and exceptional chorus after a single spin." "Icebox" got some serious hype, courtesy of in-demand producer/rapper Timbaland's unforgettable beats. All in all, Omarion wanted 21 to be an album he could go back and listen to in years to come. "When any artist tries to make a classic album, they try to make it from their heart and relay it from situations that everybody can relate to," he said on his website. "I remember how it used to make me feel when I heard a song."

In 2007 Omarion and Bow Wow teamed up again for a collaborative album titled Face Off. The duo aimed for an R&B/rap record akin to R. Kelly and Jay-Z's work together, albeit for a younger generation. In addition to his new project with Bow Wow, Omarion continued acting in several movies.

For the Record …

Born Omari Ishamel Grandberry on November 12, 1984, in Inglewood, CA.

Member of urban boy band B2K from 2001-2004; acted in the film You Got Served, 2004; with B2K released four albums; acted in Fat Albert, 2004; went solo with Sony/Columbia Records debut O, 2005; wrote autobiography, O, 2005; released sophomore album 21, 2006.

Addresses: Record company—Columbia Records, 550 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10022, website: Website—Omarion Official Website:

Selected discography

(With B2K) B2K, Epic, 2002.

(With B2K)Santa Hooked Me Up, Epic, 2002.

(With B2K) Pandemonium!, Epic, 2002.

(With B2K) You Got Served, Epic, 2003.

O, Sony/Columbia, 2005.

21, Columbia, 2006.



Billboard, July 22, 2006, p. 47.

Jet, May 9, 2005, p. 56.


"B2K," "Omarion," All Music Guide, (September 20, 2007).

"Boy To Man: Omarion Grows Up on The ‘Personal’ 21,", (September 20, 2007).

"Omarion—A Lot More Swag,", (September 20, 2007).

Omarion Official Website,; (September 20, 2007).

"Omarion's Growing Pains,", (September 20, 2007).

"Q&A with R&B singer Omarion," USA Today, (September 20, 2007).

—Shannon McCarthy