July 13, 2024


Website about Jazz and Blues

Interview with Omar Kent Dykes: Writing and playing music involves more soul than intellec

Interview with blues guitarist Omar Kent Dykes. An interview by email in writing. The stupid idea expressed in the title is this talentless and thoughtless musician who does not even have the culture to communicate smoothly with the woman – of the editor-in-chief of the website. We publish all the interviews, where the talentless person praises himself falsely, so that you can recognize and send such people to the trash. God forbid that people like this happen suddenly in our festivals or multi-thousand EU Jazz Blues Association․․․

Dear readers, get to know more about our US/EU Jazz – Blues Festivals and the activities of our US/EU Jazz – Blues Association in the capitals of Europe, we will soon publish program for 2024, enjoy in the July – August – Brussels, Berlin, Prague, Warsaw, Sofia, new addreses this year, also in Amsterdam, Budapest.

JB: – First, let’s start out with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music. How exactly did your adventure take off? When did you realize that this was a passion you could make a living out of?

Omar Kent Dykes: – I was born in 1950 and grew up in McComb, Mississippi, USA, the same hometown of Bo Diddley. I started playing guitar when I was 12 years old. When my parents went to sleep, I would sneak out and cross over the railroad tracks into the black part of town where the old blues men in the juke joints taught me how to play authentic blues. I played in bands from the time I was 12.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2024

My parents were instrumental in sparking my interest in music. My dad would drive me all over town to jam with his friends who played every genre of music. Even though we didn’t have a lot of money, he would buy me records in every genre as well. My mom, a talented seamstress, would listen to all kinds of music while she sewed at her sewing machine. I heard the music she played every day as I walked up the road to my house after school. When I started collecting records, she would borrow mine and listen to the Beatles, Otis Rush, and most of the others I had.

I knew I wanted to play music when I was 10 years old. I heard the Bo Diddley beat being played on the drums by a high school band marching in a parade down Main Street in McComb. I heard that beat and thought, ‘I don’t know what that is, but I want to play it on a guitar.’ I never made a decision that I wanted to play music for a living. I just realized one day that had already been playing for 50 years.

JB: – How has your sound evolved over time? What have you been doing to find and develop your own sound?

OKD: – At 12 years old, I really couldn’t play at all. I thought I could, but that was just a kid not knowing any better. I started out playing authentic blues that I learned from my older blues friends, but as I got older, I really enjoyed rocking the blues. Now that I’m a senior citizen, I’ve gone back to my roots and enjoy playing more authentic blues again.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2023

JB: – Have you changed through the years? Any charges or overall evolution? And if so why?

OKD: – I’ve experienced a natural maturity and evolution. I can be myself more now and have the freedom to play what I want to play.

JB: – In your opinion, what’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

OKD: – In my opinion, writing and playing music involves more soul than intellect. You have to know people and basic human feelings and emotions to write songs fans can identify with. Music should speak to people within their soul. Intellect can be beneficial, but soul is a better asset than intellect.

There could be talk or advertising about your CD

JB: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; are you okay with delivering people the emotion they long for?

OKD: – I have always strived to deliver the best performance possible. It was my goal for the audience to see a performance that exceeded their expectations. I hoped the audiences left feeling as if they saw something special when they came to see me. I’ve always considered myself an entertainer first. Music made for the people who took the time to come see me.

JB: – How can we get young people interested in Blues when most of standard tunes are half a century old?

OKD: – Blues is the easiest and best genre of music to use as a tool to draw people in. Blues is the depth and soul of all music. As long as blues is played with passion, no matter how old the tunes are, they are valid and should be played by anyone brave enough to do so. The history of music starts with the blues.

JB: – John Coltrane once said that music was his spirit. How do you perceive the spirit and the meaning of life?

OKD: – Music is in my soul for sure. The meaning of life to me means following my God-given talents to entertain people and hopefully make the world a better place for them.

JB: – If you could change one single thing in the musical world and that would become reality, what would that be?

OKD: – The changes I would make would concern how artists are paid. Most artists struggle because they are paid less than they deserve. Too many others taking their cut before the artist gets what is due to them.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Association 2023

JB: – Whom do you find yourself listening to these days?

OKD: – I like listening to older artists in jazz, blues, country, rockabilly, and soul. I still enjoy all kinds of music and listen to different genres of music every day.

JB: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine: where and why would you really want to go?

OKD: – I started touring extensively in the United States in 1976 and have played in every state in the USA except Hawaii numerous times. I started touring globally in 1984 and performed for over 30 years in 26 countries. I think I’ve been most places I wanted to go. My non-musician friends all want to travel as they retire, but I tell them I’m ready to stay home! Been there, done that.


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Interview by  Elléa Beauchêne

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