He’s got a voice as calming as chamomile and charisma that bubbles like a champagne toast. With long, willowy limbs and dreadlocks that dance when he laughs—which is often—reggae singer Omari Banks is a commanding presence, both on and off stage. As lead vocalist and guitarist for bourgeoning band, Eleven, he’s not just a dynamic performer, he writes and composes most of his own songs. Between his music and his magnetic mojo, one of Anguilla’s most beloved talents has the makings of an international superstar.
Music is in his marrow. He’s the son of Bankie Banx, reggae royalty and legendary founder of Moonsplash, the longest-running independent music festival in the Eastern Caribbean. Besides his famous father, his family is full of singing siblings and reggae-loving relatives. Throughout his youth, music was as ever-present as the symphony of the sea surrounding his island home. Considering the legacy, lyrics and locks, Marley clan comparisons are inevitable.
Although music is his birthright, it hasn’t always been his career. The 31-year-old is also a gifted cricket player who played professionally until a few years ago. And he was no benchwarmer. In 2003, Omari made history as the first athlete from the tiny Caribbean island of Anguilla to play pro cricket for the West Indies.
After a super successful decade as a pro athlete, Omari set his sights on another goal. With a mantel-full of trophies and music on the mind, he decided to retire his bat and pursue his other passion—reggae. And just like that, he went from breaking records to recording them.
VIBE Vixen got a chance to catch up with the handsome performer during this year’s 24th Annual Moonsplash fest and learn more about his journey—from history to horizon.
Flip the script for the full interview.