Listen to Omar Apollo on the underrated magic of R&B artist Cody Chesnutt

We’re excited to share the latest episode of Unsung, our podcast with Sonos Radio where the world’s greatest artists reveal their heroes who never caught the spotlight.

So far in the series we’ve had Caroline Polachek discussing the lasting influence 1980s British pop band Prefab Sprout had on her work and Future Islands’ Samuel T. Herring on 90s alt-rock frontman Mark Sandman.

Since then, former Crack Magazine cover star Beabadoobee was in conversation with gal-dem’s Music Editor Tara Joshi speaking about Filipino rock band The Itchyworms and Detroit hero DJ Stingray spoke to Christine Kakaire about Keith Tucker of Aux88.

Today, we’re sitting down with singer-songwriter Omar Apollo. Omar grew up on a musical diet of his parents’ favourite musicians like Pedro Infante, Los Panchos and The Beatles. The 23-year-old began playing guitar himself aged 12, whilst singing in his local church choir and dancing ballet folkorico. Once his lustful, multi-octave pop songs left his bedroom for the internet, he started racking up millions of streams. His first album, Apolonio, came out in 2020. Omar’s Unsung choice is American R&B, neo-soul musician Cody Chesnutt.

Cody’s 2002 album, The Headphone Masterpiece, was recorded on a 4-track cassette recorder in his bedroom recording studio. The record was met with critical acclaim for its compelling, imaginative take on alternative R&B. Despite a brush with stardom, Cody has never found mainstream success and has always maintained the status of an elusive, underground artist. Fitting then, that Pixar tapped him to write and perform as a show-stealing subway busker in their blockbuster 2020 movie Soul.

Omar speaks to Tara Joshi about the charm of falsetto, sexy lyrics and speaking his truth.

Listen to the podcast in the player above and explore the Sonos Sound System Archive here.

The series is produced by Eliza Lomas and mixed by Becky Street. The series leads are Duncan Harrison and Luke Sutton.