Omar Thaher Preaches Radical Self-Love
Written by Vocalo Radio on January 3, 2022
“Don’t let fear or doubt stop you from pursuing your goals and turning your dreams into a reality.”– Omar Thaher
23-year-old Toronto singer-songwriter Omar Thaher has lost more than 200 pounds since he was 19, the year he began documenting his fitness journey on social media.
With a following of thousands across social media platforms and millions of views on YouTube, Omar Thaher’s mission is centered around the pursuit of self-love and acceptance — and, recently, promoting it through his music. Thaher emphasizes finding balance between fitness and mental health, frequently pointing out on his social media accounts how “healthy” isn’t about the number on the scale or the way you look. His debut single “heaven is a place on earth” explores loving yourself and ignoring societal pressures to look a certain way. Thaher strives to love himself as a complete human being without a rose-colored filter, and wants his listeners to do the same.
We virtually chatted with Omar Thaher about balancing physical and mental health, his self-love journey and the message of “heaven is a place on earth,” which was featured as one of Vocalo mornings host Bekoe’s top five songs added to the “Poised To Break Through” playlist for December 2021.
You’re very open about your fitness and weight loss journey on social media. Could you tell us a little bit about your journey toward self-love and finding a healthy and sustainable relationship with fitness?
I grew up overweight and feeling uncomfortable in my body for most my life. I always looked and felt different than everyone else, so it was a really long and tough journey to finally being able to get to the point I am today.
Losing weight and getting in better shape definitely helped but it was — and still is — a huge challenge mentally to be able to find my inner peace and build confidence in myself. That is something which I have made a lot of progress with and has allowed me to get closer to reaching a point of infinite self-love and acceptance for myself, on the inside and out. Staying healthy both physically and mentally feels like a never-ending uphill battle, but I do my best to push forward and make progress where I can. Taking things day-by-day and holding onto my faith has been key in that.
“I think [body positivity is] just being unapologetically yourself in the most authentic way possible.”– Omar Thaher
I saw you wrote in an Instagram post caption last October, “Your happiness and how you feel about your body is not solely correlated with your weight or how much weight you lose.” How did you come to this understanding, and why do you think this is important for others to understand?
Well, the more that I lost weight, and more that I accomplished things in my life in general that were external and outside of me, the less fulfilled I really felt. I think a big part of that had to do with the expectations I put on achieving those goals and trying to control the process, constantly pushing myself physically and mentally, only to still feel this emptiness inside — despite how much I achieved with my fitness journey and other career goals.
That’s what made me come to the realization that the missing piece I’m looking for is something that I can only find within me. It’s not something that I can get from losing weight, or making a hit song, or making a bunch of money. It’s something that I just gotta find in myself, and that’s what I’m currently working toward. The music helps me reflect in that regard, so I can do a better job with that.
What does body positivity mean to you? How has that definition changed throughout the course of your fitness journey over the past couple of years, if at all?
Body positivity, to me, is just fully accepting yourself and spreading a positive message that other people can be inspired and pushed to do better in their own life. I think it’s just being unapologetically yourself in the most authentic way possible. It’s really something that’s so simple and effortless, when you think of it, to its core. Nowadays, with social media, we’re so pressured to change how we look or add a filter or censor ourselves. I think true body positivity is looking past all that and just being you and doing you at all times — without feeling like that makes you less of a person, or like you need to conform to anyone else’s belief system.
Your song “heaven is a place on earth” preaches a message of self-love. Could you tell us the story and message behind this song? Why do you think it’s important for people to hear?
As you can kind of tell from reading the lyrics of the song, it discusses my journey of loving and accepting myself — physically and mentally. Growing up, I always had a lot of insecurities about how I looked. That, in turn, put me in a dark place mentally, especially throughout my teenage years. It took me a long time to get to where I am now, where I’m learning to love myself and not be influenced by others or care what other people think, like I did before. I’m still going through the motions right now, but I’m happy to be making progress in that regard.
My main message for the song is to re-emphasize that we’re all human — we’re not robots. We all bleed, we all have imperfections and things that can make us feel vulnerable or insecure at times, and that’s completely fine. What you might consider an insecurity or “flaw” of yours doesn’t make you any less of a person, and it surely doesn’t make you less worthy than anyone else. Love yourself unconditionally. This is such an important message to hear — especially today, where social media, ironically, has some people feeling more isolated and unfairly comparing themselves with people’s highlight reels. A lot of people feel alone when they shouldn’t. We’re in this together.
What’s one message you want to give people who may be struggling with body image or self-love?
Be kind to yourself, and remember that you’re the person you spend 24 hours of the day with, so make that person feel respected and like someone you actually wanna be around. It’s easier said than done, but as long as your intention is in the right place I’m sure, with time, you can get closer to where you want to be in that regard. Don’t give up on yourself, you’re all you got.
“Love yourself unconditionally.”– Omar Thaher
Tell us a little bit about your background in music. How did you get into writing songs? Have you written anything other than “heaven is a place on earth”?
I’ve been writing songs and freestyling as a hobby since I was a little kid, really, and it started off as something I did out of pure passion and fun. Eventually it formed into something … a lot more therapeutic as I grew into my older years, and went from using music as leisure to something that now feels like a key part of my life. It’s therapy for me, and songwriting and recording allows me to release all the built-up tension inside of me and make something beautiful out of it, which I’m eternally grateful for.
I actually have easily over 100 songs written, most of which I plan to release in the future, and seven other songs I’m sitting on right now and could drop at any moment. Just gotta plan it all out.
Why choose music as a platform to get your messages across?
I honestly feel like I didn’t even choose music, I feel like music really chose me. It’s just something that’s always connected with me since a young age. Not just creating music, but also digesting — going to concerts, listening to the radio, watching music videos and just always being tapped-in with the new sound. I never felt like it was work or something that I had to even think about doing. It’s the one thing that has always stuck with me and never failed to lift my spirits.
What do you hope listeners take away from your music?
I really just wanna leave a positive impact in any way I can, and reach those people who feel similar to how I have — and how I still do, with certain things. I know how it feels to feel like no one gets it or understands what you’re going through. And the one thing that really helped me get through those times — and, to this day, still gets me through those times where I am isolated, mentally in a dark place or anxious — is music. I want to build a family of people who not only support but are moved by the messages I spread in the songs I write. I want to provide for them what my favorite artists and songs have provided for me. I think that’s one of the most beautiful things that can come out of sharing the music. The energy is everything.
Are you working on any new projects listeners should know about?
Currently I’m working on my next single “circles,” which will be dropping in the next few months. And I’m also working on my debut EP titled secrets, which I’m hoping to release this coming fall. I think both the single and EP will give you a lot more insight on my come-up, especially the parts that felt too sensitive for me to casually share or discuss online. I’m a bit nervous, but mostly excited to release a body of work and let people know more about who I am, what I’ve been through and what I stand for.
What are your words to live by?
Might sound a bit dark, but, “We’re all gonna die anyways, so just go for it.”
“Don’t let fear or doubt stop you from pursuing your goals and turning your dreams into a reality.”
Follow Omar Thaher on Instagram and Twitter, and stream our full “Poised To Break Through” playlist below.
Interview edited for length and clarity by Morgan Ciocca
All photos courtesy of the artist.
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