Reggae Sumfest 2018

OMI's 'Cheerleader' leads the pack of summer songs

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omi-cheerleader-photo-1.jpgLast summer, a new star named Iggy ruled the season with an anthem of bitchy attitude. This summer, a new star named Omi looks to reign with an anthem of sincere romance.

Omi's "Cheerleader" boasts a sweet melody, a swaying reggae beat and a swooning vocal. It also has the right buzz, spirit, and momentum to become the song of its summer. Musically, "Cheerleader" has just what such a tune needs - a catchiness and ease made for boomboxes, car radios and days at the beach.

"The texture of the song is perfect," says Sharon Dastur, senior VP of programming for iHeartRadio. "And the timing is really right for that song to cut through."

In fact, the song's ratio of streams-to-chart-position argues for a likely ascent right after Memorial Day signals the unofficial start of the season. Currently, "Cheerleader" stands at No. 63 on the Billboard Hot 100 Song chart. But it has behind it a staggering 191 million streams on Spotify and a whopping 75 million views on YouTube. Its irresistible refrain has inspired more than 7 million listeners to seek its identity on Shazam.

No other song in the running for summer has a higher mix of numbers. More, the song has a history of success around the world. It first hit in a different version in 2012 on Omi's home island of Jamaica, as well as in Hawaii.

Omi, 29 - born Omar Samuel Pasley - grew up singing in local groups. But he didn't get his break until three years ago, after being signed by the producer behind such hot Caribbean stars as Shabba Ranks and Patra. At that point, he cut the original, rougher take on "Cheerleader."

But only the 2014 goosed-up remix of the song, by German DJ Felix Jaehn, clicked. It did so by finding an ideal mean between two proven summer loves: reggae and EDM. Since April, the enhanced version has hit No. 1 in 11 countries.

Reggae Sumfest 2018


Reggae Sumfest 2018