Omar Samuel Pasley — who goes by his performing name OMI — is a handsome 28-year-old singer from Jamaica. He currently has the song of the summer on the American charts, “Cheerleader.” If you haven’t yet heard “Cheerleader“, one thing is certain: you’re about to. (The video is below!) “Cheerleader” is an upbeat but mellow reggae-influenced dance hit, but it didn’t start out that way. OMI wrote the song in 2008 and recorded a version of it in 2012. “Cheerleader” is an ode to monogamy, of all things! (Though the video — it must be said — features primarily one man, OMI, and a whole bunch of women in bikinis.)
It wasn’t until Ultra Music tasked the young German producer Felix Jaehn with remixing OMI’s track that “Cheerleader” went all pom-pom on the world. Jaehn delivered a hit. As hot dance tracks tend to do, “Cheerleader” went wild first in Sweden, then rolled through the rest of Europe like a friendly Mongol. Now OMI has the #1 song in America, where long ago, on his first visit to the States, he shot a modest video for the original version of “Cheerleader.” OMI was born in Clarendon, Jamaica, but made Kingston his home after being discovered and signed to a Jamaican label. OMI and Jaehn have constructed a song that sounds like the breeze, the beach, optimism and love.