When I entered my company’s green room to speak to singer Omarion, I was quite nervous. I’d been a fan of his since I was in junior high school, back when B2K was the only boy group that mattered and I had their posters in my locker. When I entered the room, he was on the phone, Facetiming with his children, Megaa and A’mei, as they prepared to go to school. While waiting patiently for the call to end, I was quickly reminded that I wasn’t a teenager anymore, and he wasn’t the kid with the insane dance moves that led B2K before catapulting solo. We were grown and he was on a completely different wavelength, including from his former bandmates.
That, among other things, is behind his decision to take part in the second go at the Millennium Tour without the group. He will, instead, be doing his solo hits and will be joined by Bow Wow, the Ying Yang Twins, Lloyd, Sammie, Pretty Ricky, Soulja Boy, his brother O’Ryan as DJ, and Ashanti. The tour kicks off February 29 in Louisville.
I spoke with the Grammy-nominated performer about the Millennium Tour being a celebration of the old-school Scream Tour, and leaving his former group behind for part II. We also chatted about his controversial ex Apryl Jones, the real reason behind their split in 2016, and the key to getting to his level of unbothered in 2020.
MadameNoire: Why was it important for you to do the Millennium Tour again, but this time go it alone?
Omarion: A lot of people didn’t know that the first Millennium Tour, I produced. So a lot like the Scream Tour and what it was for the culture and for kids like myself, and Bow Wow being one of the most famous kids opening that door, I really wanted to bring that vibration back with the Millennium Tour. That’s really what it is. It’s an homage to that era and that time and it really, truly, was a way for us to connect. Now everyone’s older, everyone has kids, everyone is mature and it’s like, wait a minute, we need something to be able to connect with again. That’s really what the Millennium Tour is about. It’s the second one, which I am truly excited about because all of my work over the years, I’m finally in a position to be in the captain seat. Now I get to create an experience for the fans and it’s always what I’ve wanted to do. The staging, the lighting, it’s really a creative person’s dream to be able to have the access to those tools and I have access to them, so I’m so excited and I’m so thrilled that everyone is excited about the tour.
Were you surprised at how huge the initial reaction was, celebrities included, to you guys doing the first Millennium Tour last year? It blew up.
It shocked me! But in ways, it was like going back and relearning things about why I even was able to connect with everyone in the first place. I was one of the few child prodigies that was in the entertainment business very young and I was like, this is a different experience for me. Remembering how we became successful as a group and how I even became successful period, it was that tour. It was those moments, it was those songs that we all created memories with as kids. It took me back. And it was really cool to bring everybody back together. I remember fans were saying, “Me and my girl haven’t been together in a long time. She has kids, I have kids, this brought us back together.” That was to me the dopest thing. I don’t see any other artist having that ability to bring people back together. That is what true artistry is about. It’s bringing people together.
Speaking of bringing people together, who would you like to see on a future iteration of this tour? I know Day26 is wondering why they got left out [laughs].
[Laughs] Because we started in a place of nostalgia, my intention is to still keep that vibe and that energy, of course, with everyone that is on the tour. Ashanti being the first lady ever, the wonderful Ashanti, Pretty Ricky, pretty much everyone who had success in the 2000s. My idea would be that the Millennium III, it would be progressive and we would be able to have the opportunity to introduce some new artists and just continue to build out this space. There was a period of time where it was like, where is concert going? Only a few artists like Beyoncé or whoever has the most records on the chart create a space for coming out and going on tour. But it’s not a lot of that. It’s not a lot of tours where different class and time periods and genre of music, that being Hip-Hop and R&B, it doesn’t really live in a space other than the like 2000 shows or the radio shows. I really feel like Millennium Tour could be that tour that reconnects the culture in a major way for performance and it not just be one person who is performing. It’s a set list going through time. It’s a presentation and performance.
I wanted to ask you about the drama that your name has been pulled into with the mother of your children and your former group mate. What is the key to getting to your level of peace about things? Everybody remarks about how much they respect how well you’ve handled things.
The most important thing about understanding where I’m at is, I did a lot of self-reflecting. You have to know yourself well enough to know how far you would go. In my self-reflecting I realized that maybe I would take it too far. Maybe I would go further and there would be certain consequences that wouldn’t just affect me, but it would affect my kids. Really, when you take a step back and you really know yourself, you’re able to make better decisions. So to be honest with you, I just did a lot of self-reflecting and I realized, a lot of situations and circumstances are really out of your control. The only power you have is the way that you react. In order to really get a grip on that, you almost have to go through all of the emotions. You have to go through the ups and downs to really be able to root yourself and focus on what’s important. So to answer your question, you’ve got to self-reflect in order to become wise enough or mature enough to recognize that if you’re going to make a decision about something, there’s consequences and you have to be okay with those consequences. So I just made the decision to be respectful to my kids and to be respectful to myself because it’s like, everybody is like, ‘I would respond like this,’ or I would respond like that, but what happens after that? And then also, it’s like, what am I here for? Am I here for that? No. I’m here for my kids. Truly.
She’s always said that your relationship ended for a reason that she doesn’t know. She says she had your second daughter and months later you were ready to go and she never got closure. Would you say something just changed in you that caused you to want to move forward on your own?
I mean, to answer your question, I think that everyone goes through changes. For me, in particular, at that period of time in my life, I was going through a lot of changes, especially within my business. That looks different for someone who’s been in the entertainment business for a long time. A lot of people make music to sell music. I don’t just sell music. I am essentially, I guess the word I want to use is, it’s like an energetic transaction. Everyone doesn’t look at it like this. Everyone doesn’t look at creative art as a personalized tool for people to get to know who you are, and for you to get to know who other people are. Everyone is not in the industry or doing something long enough to where they ask themselves, why am I doing this? This will be my 20th year in the music industry. So at that time, I was asking myself a lot of questions. I just had kids. I was like, why am I doing this? I needed a moment to be able to just recalibrate and refocus and really think about what I wanted to do. I would really attribute her not understanding to lack of communication and upbringing. I was raised a little bit different than she was raised and I think that is really, at the end of the day, always a thing in relationships. It’s just miscommunication and different love languages. So that’s what I would really attribute it to. People grow and some people grow out of each other. I would say that is, from my perspective, truly is what happened.
How is your mom by the way? What has she thought about everything because everybody was like, “His mama was right about Apryl!”
Oh, she’s awesome. My mom is fully supportive of me, and she’s just like every other mother. It’s like, “You good right? Ah okay. Fine.”
What’s up with new music? Are we going to get new music on the tour and do you think you’ll do any further Afropop collaborations? I love what you did with Tiwa Savage.
I love everything that’s going on in Africa, the vibrations, so yeah, there are a few artists that I would like to work with that’s in that space. And I will be doing new music. I actually have two new songs I’ll probably be dropping real soon, one featuring T-Pain —
He needs to be on the next tour!
That would be dope! So yeah, got some jams coming and I also got an album titled Passport that I’ll be dropping. It’s an experience coming this year. So yeah, there will be a lot of new music and good vibes.