Omar Rihani on stage in the 2016 Sydney Eisteddfod. Photo: WinkiPoP Media
Omar Rihani, winner of the 2016 Junior Singer of the Year, spoke to Sydney Eisteddfod about how he prepares himself before going on stage and what inspired him to sing Nella Fantasia in the 2016 final. He also shared the best piece of performance advice he has ever received and what he would say to someone thinking about entering Sydney Eisteddfod.
Tell us why you love singing.
I love singing because, I just love it! It brings out something in me that I never knew I had.
Who inspired you to start singing?
My guitar teacher Jimmy. He encouraged me to find a singing teacher because he said I had a good voice.
Which other performers do you most like to watch, and why?
My favourite performers would have to be Simon Gleeson, Tim Minchin and Ed Sheeran.
I just love hearing Simon Gleeson sing. He has a beautiful timbre, incredible control of his voice and he evokes such emotion when he sings. Seeing him perform Jean Val Jean in Les Miserable was something I’ll never forget!
Tim Minchin is a musical genius! The music he creates is so incredibly clever and complex and his lyrics are hysterical. F Sharp is my personal favourite. He is just so incredibly intelligent in the way he writes.
Ed Sheeran is such an incredible singer songwriter. I just love the loop pedal and the layering of harmonies he incorporates into his music. The simplicity of his performances are what makes him so brilliant. I went out and spent all my money buying a loop pedal after seeing his concert!
Tell us about one of the songs that you are planning to perform in the Final and why you chose it.
One of the songs I will be performing is Nella Fantasia as it is such a blow away piece. I love to sing Opera and it is a perfect cross over piece that I can sing in a Contemporary Section. Although it’s sung in Italian, the lyrics are about the hope for a world of equality, which I love. I really have to still myself and completely get into the zone to be able to perform it well.
What did you do to prepare for your performance?
Nothing in particular.... calming my nerves before a performance is a really the biggest thing for me. I did a lot of drawing to get out my nervous energy while I was waiting to go on stage.
What is the best piece of performance advice you have ever heard?
Never try to be or copy another performer, just be yourself, no one can do that better than you!
What have you learnt about yourself through performing in Sydney Eisteddfod?
This is my first year competing in Sydney Eisteddfod, and my 2nd Eisteddfod ever. It has been a wonderful experience, and I think I’ve had a good run so far. I have realised that if I can calm my nerves, and treat each competition like a performance, I sing a lot better. It’s a switch from my mind to my soul.
What would you tell someone that was thinking about entering Sydney Eisteddfod?
Only enter if you are on your game and well prepared, because competition is tough. Get prepared, get ready and then hand it over and don’t think take it too seriously…just let it happen.