Among the wave of rising talent from the KW region is Waterloo musician Omar Elkhatib, otherwise known as B.U.D, and he’s ready to take the post-pandemic music scene by storm.
Though he was born in Toronto and grew up moving around the world, Omar has always called Waterloo home. It was the guitar he was given at 12 and his first concert (which was Coldplay) ,that solidified his desire to be a musician.
Elkhatib debuted his latest solo project, B.U.D, with the release of his first song “What’s the Point of This? (If I’m Not Into It)” last August. The song asks a question that addresses the very essence of the project and of life itself — what’s the point of doing something if it lacks passion? The single pairs fiery chords reminiscent of 90’s alt-rock with a chorus that has the heartbeat of early ‘00s pop punk.
B.U.D. was born mid-pandemic, so Omar’s experience developing the solo project has been bittersweet. Though he’s itching to play his first gig, he feels lucky to have had the time to sit down and teach himself how to demo, which has only improved his songwriting skills.
Though finding inspiration can be a challenge these days, Omar has found himself falling down rabbit holes of live performances on Youtube — anything from HAIM and Phoebe Bridgers to Beastie Boys and Oasis. It took him a while to realize that the music he grew up with is deeply embedded in the music he makes today.
“I grew up with my parents’ music, which was mostly ABBA, Shania, Celine Dion, and a cocktail of 80’s pop. But my first true loves were bands like Green Day, blink-182, Oasis, and Coldplay,” Elkhatib said.
He’s also wanted to be the Canadian Blur ever since he was put under the Britpop spell, while living overseas.
While drawing influences from every corner of music, Elkhatib still infuses his work with Canadian spirit: “King Street in the winter, the Uptown bars in the summer, the Vancouver Canucks constantly losing, east-end Toronto, the 401, Sloan — all things that weirdly have an effect on the sound of my music.”
As a solo artist, Elkhatib finds freedom in having control over his work and not having to appeal to anyone — when people enjoy the music, that’s just the cherry on top. He hopes that listening to B.U.D. helps audiences realize that there’s no reason to take life so seriously.
“I used to be in an emo band and it was a very self-absorbed thing that I quickly grew out of,” Elkhatib said. “The world would be so much better if we just let loose and allowed each other to be our natural selves. Just dance to a rock song — no one’s done it since the 70’s”.
Elkhatib’s long-term goal has always been to be a full-time musician. Before the pandemic, Elkhatib would have said that his goals for this year and the years ahead include touring the US, UK, and Europe, performing every day of the year.
“For now, my goal is to release the best tunes I can, start writing my first full length record, and make money from streaming myself playing FIFA 21 on Twitch,” Elkhatib joked.
B.U.D. is set to have an EP coming out early this year, and in the meantime, his music can be found on streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify.