When last we saw Omarion he was working, stretching his voice to the limits to cover Earth, Wind, and Fire's "Reasons." Almost a month later, he's still working, this time on the video for "Word for Word," the latest single from his upcoming album Reasons.
"Over the last three or four days I’ve been editing a mini-movie," Omarion told Complex. The visual album is in vogue right now, thanks to Beyoncé, but Omarion's passion for the visual supplement to soul-stirring music goes back longer than that. "I’m a living, breathing child of one of the greatest to ever do it, Michael Jackson," he said. The 32-year-old performer has logged enough hours by now, working on films like You Got Served, that he feels comfortable commanding the editing suite himself. "I’ve been in the edit for the last couple of days, and it’s been by far the longest edit I’ve ever had to do."
The shoot for "Word for Word," which premieres on Friday, July 7, took Omarion to Japan, where he became fascinated with the martial art of kendo. The practices uses bamboo swords, both as a means to develop combat technique and foster discipline of character—something Omarion felt particularly connected to. "They have masters in kendo, called a dan, and the highest level is like a dan ten," he said. "But you can’t even really start to become a dan until you’re like 40 years old. And it teaches you about yourself. The strikes are personal; a strike is supposed to reflect who you are as a person. Some of that culture is in the video and it mirrors the lyrics of 'Word for Word.' "
Knowing how attuned the current historical moment is to respectful exchange and collaboration, O is sure that the video will stand out as a positive example: "It’s true art and an exchange of culture. There are always conversations about culture vultures and what’s appropriate, and I think this is a great example of doing it the right way."
"Word for Word," Omarion promises, will fill the need for "positivity, good vibes, and self-reflection" that he thinks his music has a long history of satisfying. "'Ice Box' is a self-reflective song," he said. "'O' is in a way as well. And I can always uplift, because somebody somewhere is going through some stuff. And we are too. I want to keep everybody motivated through the journey. This is the longest part—we don’t know what happens after the next part, so we need some good tunes."
He's absolutely right. But Reasons is still without a firm release date. "We’re talking about the record business and business is complicated," he said. "I’ve never truly been concerned about the opinions of executives, because my art and creativity is meant to be shared with people who want it. I hope that when it comes out, it gets its proper time."
"But the fans have the power," he continued, "so I do need people who appreciate the music to share it. This is not new news, but no one had control over 'Post to Be.' It took six months for 'Post to Be,' and the fans made it happen. So it’s about us finding our rhythm, me and my fans."