Omar Apollo laying on blue silk floor

Live from ASU continues virtual concert series this fall

By

Kimberly Inglese

After presenting Jason Derulo and Icona Pop this summer to thousands of people digitally, Live from ASU is back this fall with more live music on a screen near you with two virtual concerts. Presented by the ASU 365 Community Union, the concerts feature two fresh artists in Omar Apollo and D Smoke. Both artists pay tribute to their diverse cultures and will offer something lively and engaging in a live digital format for the ASU Community and the public.

Mexican American bilingual singer-songwriter Omar Apollo will perform live in the first fall concert at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8. The second concert features D Smoke, a former Inglewood High Spanish teacher turned breakout star of Netflix’s "Rhythm + Flow," at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12. Both artists produce bilingual music that highlights their own experiences growing up in multicultural environments.

“The shows must go on — and they will with ‘Live from ASU,” said Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, ASU vice president for cultural affairs. “These virtual concerts are reflective of the diversity of our community and will bring the energy and excitement of a live show, plus the intimacy of a postshow Q&A with the artist.”

The Q&A will be hosted by an ASU student and members of the community can begin submitting questions now using the hashtag #ASULive for an opportunity to have their question answered.

The ASU concert series "Live from ASU" was conceived by ASU President Michael Crow as a way to engage with students and the ASU community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each performance will be an opportunity to reinforce ASU’s commitment to students and its culture of innovation, as well as provide an interactive shared experience with artists.

The ASU community and the public can tune in to watch each livestream at livefromasu.com. Concerts will be broadcast live in Mountain Standard Time and will not be available for replay or redistribution.

Omar Apollo
7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8

Apollo, a 22-year-old, first-generation Mexican American singer from Indiana, began writing and recording his own mix of jazz, R&B, funk, alternative, soul, and pop music. His parents moved to the U.S. to give their kids a better life and the opportunity to go to college; however, Apollo always knew this route wasn’t meant for him. He began playing guitar at 12 years old, but quit soon after because he got bored of only playing in church. At age 18, he began listening to new styles of music and fell in love with the guitar again. His biggest influences are Benny Sings, D'Angelo, Los Panchos, John Mayer, Elliott Smith, Cuco Sánchez, Paul Simon, Gary Numan and João Gilberto. In 2019, Apollo completed back-to-back sell-out headlining tours throughout North America.

D Smoke
7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12

Hailing from Inglewood, California, Smoke personifies the city’s potent cultural duality: ​nurtured by the boulevards, and ​natured​ by a family’s legacy in gospel music. Smoke dove fingers-first into classical piano at the age of 6, honing his talents in church, and eventually lending vocals to Michael Jackson. Focusing on the creative arts helped him to circumvent the throes of violence present on his doorstep and propel himself into the classrooms of UCLA. During his matriculation, D Smoke was a beacon of light for his city, becoming a voice for the voiceless, using language, culture and music as tools to bridge institutionalized gaps and spread the gospel of a united Los Angeles culture. During the same years he spent in Westwood, D Smoke gained a unique and immersive industry experience by collaborating across genres with everyone from Usher, Babyface, Mary J Blige and Jahiem, to Missy Elliot, Timbaland and the Pussycat Dolls. His hard work garnered an ASCAP ​Song Of The Year ​award. After college, he taught Spanish at Inglewood High, applying his personal experiences as an alumnus and lifelong city resident to create a safe space for students to truly express themselves openly.

As of 2019, D Smoke gained global notoriety as champion and undisputed breakout star of Netflix’s ​"Rhythm + Flow."​ Smoke showcased himself as a raw lyricist, classically-trained musician and social activist with “something to say” — and nothing left to prove. The ​"Inglewood High" ​EP, released on Oct. 24, 2019, reveals the beauty and frustration of today’s Inglewood through the eyes of his former students, while capturing the essence of the city that raised him.