You won’t meet anyone around the Gold Coast music scene that hasn’t heard of Omar Hanlon (omar_4am). His extensive music career has seen him work alongside Stan Walker, Vybez, Sammy J, one third of the ‘Hanlon Brothers,’ and more recently he was touring with one of Aussie’s best, Amy Shark.
I can’t believe by the age of 13 you had already won a battle of the bands with your brother! What’s it like now being Amy Shark’s Bass guitarist?!
It’s amazing. I’m super lucky to play with Amy. We grew up together on the Goldie and I’ve known her since we were both like 17. Playing with her I get super proud seeing that she’s come from the same place I’ve come from, with the same things, and now she’s reached a level where she can sell 20,000 tickets to a concert!
You seem like you’ve done it all in the music industry, so what’s next?!
I’m just finishing up my Bachelor of Contemporary Music at Southern Cross University and then I want to study my masters and build a legacy around the young up-and-coming musicians. I’m getting into my mid-thirties now and I’ve lived off music my whole life, so now it’s about giving back.
When I was growing up here on the Gold Coast, there weren’t many Polynesians around, so I feel like I can teach in a way to my Polynesian family to say yes, you can do it.
What made you pick Southern Cross University?
Well firstly, they gave me a bunch of recognised prior learning because I’ve worked in the industry for a long time, so they cut about 18 months off for me. I just provided evidence of all my touring and got letters from people like The Commitments.
The Commitments.. as in the Ireland band behind the hit ‘Mustang Sally’?!
Yeah, their bass guitarist couldn’t make it over, so I filled in when they toured Australia!
That’s amazing! So how has COVID-19 changed things for you?
I was lucky because I started studying a few weeks before COVID hit! But it definitely changed my (and many creatives alike) thought process on music. I aim to spend more time with friends now, whereas before I’d be like, no I’ll go to work this weekend. It’s changed me in a way where I’m not all about hustle anymore, I’m about quality rather than quantity.
You can spot Omar on a Saturday night playing at Pink Monkey, on stage with Amy Shark, and no doubt in a lecture theatre inspiring many soon! Check out his Instagram @omar_4am.To find out more about studying at Southern Cross University visit scu.edu.au/study