Omari Love Spreads Their Wings

Omari Love Spreads Their Wings

By Justin MoranMay 01, 2024

Omari Love has always felt as though they were made out to be a demon, in both “a figurative and literal sense,” they explain. “I always felt demonized or portrayed to be someone who reflected evil.” Part of this came from the New York artist’s longtime belief that there was “something bad” living inside them — “a sort of evil that was fueled by fictional exorcisms, television, media, mercurial religious beliefs and, most of all, the intersections of identity, societal expectations and stereotypes.”

Their new EP tackles this journey of self-actualization, titled Wings Emerged in reference to overcoming the false notion that something was inherently wrong with them. “This project sort of represents the realization of the fact that I’m okay,” Love says of the project, out today on SoundCloud. “And before my wings could truly emerge, I had to realize that.”

Following their 2023 album The Flower That Grew From Blood, which explored themes of “pain, loss, grief, growth and acceptance,” Wings Emerged unravels with a similar emotional arc over five tracks. The opener sees Love repeat that their “house is made of glass” with devilish vocals before “Run Together” reiterates their fragility: “Please don’t run away, unless we run together.” Then, “Mi Piel” offers a slow, Spanish folk song while “Little Bird in Chains” follows with a touch of electronic sound added to sentimental guitar strums.

The closer, “Kali (In Your Garland),” drops all organic instrumentation for a brooding club beat and raw, low singing — the final step of Love’s musical transformation. “For so long I had dealt with this horrible dread,” they say, and now with Wings Emerged those feelings seem to have been exorcized. “I’ve discovered that growth is an ongoing process with no margins,” Love told PAPER back in 2023, and this is yet another taste of that development.

"My wings were only able to grow once I started rejecting what others and the media had to say about me, and learning to radically accept myself with my flaws and all," Love says. "Like despite what others think or how I’m perceived, I know that my heart is pure, which was a realization that was essential for my process of growth."

Stream the PAPER premiere of Omari Love's Wings Emerged EP, below.

Photography: Isaac Anthony