For many people, music only goes as far as catchy grooves and lyrics they can dance to. For Emmanuel Almonor, music represents a larger movement to draw attention to a community that is underrepresented in the mainstream.
In this interview, Emmanuel sat down with Hip Hop Weekly and discussed his journey into music with his record label Omega Music Marketing and his plans to bring the spotlight to his home city, Orlando, Florida. Check out this dope interview below.
HHW: Tell us about yourself?
Emmanuel: My name is Emmanuel Almonor. Everybody calls me Manny McLaren. I was born in the spring of 1992. I’ve been working since I was 17. Back then, I was on staff with different clothing shops struggling with minimum wage jobs. I also did a lot of other things on the side, like fixing Xboxes and phones. At one point, I got a sales job at an AT&T store and that was where I really took off. I grew a lot in that position and I became District Manager before I left to run my own businesses. What really drives me is a deep motivation to succeed.
HHW: Tell us more about Omega Music Marketing?
Emmanuel: I am the Owner and Founder of Omega Music Marketing. We are a record label based in Orlando, Florida. Our objective is to take the Orlando music scene to a whole new level. Music has always been a big passion of mine and my biggest goal is to push talented artistes and performers to the peak of their careers. At Omega Music, we have worked with a lot of top performers in the industry including Migos, A Boogie with A Hoodie, Young Gambino, Tyla Yaweh, and a lot of others.
HHW: What was the inspiration for creating Omega Music Marketing?
Emmanuel: I love music. I want to see the industry thrive and grow stronger over the years, and that is really what my brand is about. Orlando doesn’t have a big music scene, so I wanted to create one by starting Omega Music. Back then, we were mainly playing club shows, so we would basically bring out artists to the clubs and other venues to perform their music. The crowds loved the songs and the vibes, so it was really easy to scale from there.
HHW: What challenges have you faced along the way
Emmanuel: One major problem is getting the mainstream hip hop audience to take Orlando artistes seriously. It is really difficult for an artiste based outside LA, or California to get massive listening and support. People just don’t care about your music if you are from a place like Orlando. My brand is working really hard to change this stereotype.
HHW: Are there any artistes that inspire you? If so, who and why?
Emmanuel: I really look up to Kayne and P Diddy. They both produce and record excellent music. They have been on the scene for decades and they are still as relevant as the day they dropped their first tracks. Beyond the music, they are excellent businessmen. I really admire how they balance their crafts with making investments, putting out products, and generating wealth.
HHW: What keeps you motivated when things get tough?
Emmanuel: Basically, my family. I am surrounded by a kind and loving community. Everyone in my family looks up to me and roots for me to succeed. Whenever I hit a rough patch, their support keeps me going.
HHW: How do you balance your career with your home life? Family?
Emmanuel: I really prioritize my physical and mental well being. Anything I am working on must make me happy, or there’s no point. I always strive not to overwork myself. If I ever feel like I’m losing myself, then I take a step back to self-evaluate and reconsider my work and purpose.
HHW: What are your next big goals?
Emmanuel: It is the same thing that got me into the music business. That is what I keep working for. We want to keep promoting home-grown music so that our artistes don’t have to go to California, Georgia, or any other place to become successful in music and gain international acclaim.
HHW: Which artists do you enjoy working with the most?
Emmanuel: I have worked with a lot of artists over the years but mainly, I would say Producer OTW407, Tyla Yahweh, Easy$jav, No Heart Zay, and Young Gambino.
You can reach out to Emmanuel on Instagram: @mannymclaren