After winning Grammy this year, Long Beach pianist and composer working on new album

<strong>Long Beach-based musician Omar Akram won a Grammy Award this year for Best New Age Album.</strong>
Ariana Gastelum
Editorial Intern

In heartwarming memories, like getting married and having a child, pianist and composer Omar Akram found inspirations for Echoes of Love, his Grammy Award-winning album for Best New Age Album.
Akram plans to have a new album released this August. Although untitled, he refers to it as the “Best of” album. “Five tracks will be taken from my previous CDs, and then I am going to make six new tracks,” he explained.
Akram was born in New York, but he lived in many places throughout his life such as the Czech Republic. According to Mike Vasilomanolakis, Akram’s executive producer, Akram’s father was the ambassador to Czechoslovakia, France and Cuba.
The Czech Republic is where he learned how to play the piano at the age of 6 from a member of the Prague Symphony Orchestra. “I continued to play the piano, composing music as a teenager,” he said.
Akram moved to Los Angeles in 1993. He became more serious about his music career when he met Vasilomanolakis in 1996. “Omar came to my office and was open to show me what he had,” Vasilomanolakis said. “He brought a bag full of tapes, and I listened to them, and I thought his music was outstanding. We’ve worked together ever since.”
Vasilomanolakis provided Akram with the finances and the expense of his studio. “He has a wonderful personality,” Vasilomanolakis said. “He’s an upbeat person. He’s very funny. So, we clicked from the very beginning. We became best of friends. So, it’s always been fun working with him.”
<strong>Omar Akram learned to play piano at age 6 while still living in the Czech Republic. He was taught by a member of the Prague Symphony Orchestra.</strong>
In 2001, Akram was signed with Real Music, an independent record label, and they are still his label to this day. He released his first album in 2002– Opal Fire, which hit the top 15 on Billboard’s New Age Chart, according to his biography on his blog.
Akram spent over two years making the album, Echoes of Love. This was around the time he married Merry and had their daughter Aria. “There’s one [song] called “Take My Hand,” which I really love,” he said. “I used it for my first dance for my wedding.”
During the time Akram was working on the album, winning a Grammy did not cross his mind. “When you’re doing something, you don’t really think about these things,” he said. “You do the best work as you can. But no, I didn’t really think about winning a Grammy. It’s a huge accomplishment, and few musicians in their lifetime ever get to win. So, that’s incredible.”
Winning a Grammy has provided several career opportunities. “There is no honor that goes beyond the Grammy Award,” he said. “As far as my career, that definitely helps open doors because I really want to introduce my music to a lot of people, to tour and to do larger venues.”

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