Working with New Look and singing in Times Square – an interview with rising duo OMYO’s William Edward

If you think you recognise OMYO, you may well have seen them before. The pop duo, made up of Tom McCorkell and William Edward, have already made it pretty far off the back of a drunk bet made one New Year’s Eve to write a song. The pair have worked on campaigns for New Look and Accessorize and have seen the music video for their latest track, Days With You, get over 300,000 views. The track, released on Friday 26 May, the day I speak to William from the duo, sees the pair performing on top of a skyscraper in New York City, on Brooklyn Bridge and in Times Square.

When I speak to William (right of featured image) via telephone, it is clear the two young men are in demand. The pair are in a train station, on their way to play in Guildford that evening, having performed a gig the night before at Plymouth University’s Students’ Union. The duo are clearly working hard, but from what I glean from the conversation with William, they seem great friends too. During the interview, I hear William get Tom’s take on things (he’s clearly right next to him) more than once, and listening to William, the pair seem in good spirits. With their Accessorize campaign coming out on the day of my interview with them too, they’ve got plenty to smile about.

Me: The first question I’d like to ask you is how the two of you met.

William: How did we meet?

Me: Yeah.

William: So we were in a pub on New Year’s Eve and we met outside and – I don’t know how – we just made a drunk bet to write a song and Tom came round my house a couple of days later. We wrote this track and then wrote another one the day after and that’s got played on Radio 1, 1Xtra [and] it was in a New Look advert. So, yeah, bit of a random bet.

Me: Have the two of you always been musically-orientated?

William: I kind of messed around with software – actually, it was at Exeter that I learnt how to use music software. So I went to King’s [College London] first and dropped out and then when I went to Exeter I had to stay in and focus so I just took up playing with software. Tom, he’d sing when he was at uni and he was sat on the toilet singing – (To Tom) What were you singing on the toilet, I’ve forgotten? Stand by Me – and someone . . . filmed him and – he didn’t know he could sing ‘til then – and they put it online and it got a load of views I think.

Me: How would you describe OMYO’s style of music? I’m hope I’m pronouncing it ok!

William: Yeah, no, you got it perfect. You’re probably the first person who’s got it right. I’d probably say like a pop, R&B, soul kind-of fusion. We both were brought up on soul and Motown music so that’s at the core of what we do, but in terms of melodies and how the songs are structured, and cause it’s all soppy lyrics, it’s all love lyrics, it’s kind of a pop, R&B, soul kind-of thing.

Me: You’ve mentioned that you’ve previously worked on a New Look campaign. What was that like?

William: It was funny. We went there and it was like a 20-people crew and they were like: “Right, go in front of the camera, sing and dance the whole song.” Then we had to stand on these turning tables which wouldn’t work so we kept getting jarred and I got motion sickness on it. It was amazing though. The Accessorize campaign we’ve just done came out today as well so that’s quite exciting. Someone texted me like: “I just heard your track on Snapchat, on an advert,” so I didn’t even know that was out.

Me: It must be great to have got this exposure.

William: Yeah, it’s really cool. We’ve always tried to work alongside fashion ‘cause it’s just a good platform to bounce off of and they seem to like working with us. From high street to smaller brands – we like picking up small brands and working with them, seeing what they’re about.

Me: [Regarding] your latest single [Days With You], which if I’m right in thinking is released today [Friday 26th May], the music video was filmed in New York [City]. What was it like to film over there?

William: It was really cold, (To Tom) wasn’t it? We were on top of a skyscraper and I got stuck up there because I’m scared of heights – had to get lowered down on a rope from the roof. Then we were driving a car across Brooklyn Bridge and stuff and we didn’t have any insurance or licences but we had to do it for the filming. Then we had to sing in Times Square so we had crowds everywhere filming it, which was just embarrassing. It was a really amazing experience and from how the video’s gone down with VEVO shortlisting it, I think it’s gone well. I hope it’s gone well!

Me: You went to the University of Exeter. What will it be like to return to Exeter for this gig that’s happening at ExeFest on June 4?

William: I’m excited – I’m looking forward to this. It was like a challenge I had. ‘Cause I used to go and watch bands playing at The Lemmy and things, I was like, “I want to go back to Exeter and play.” So this is great – I’m going to enjoy this. I’m looking forward to having a Cider Black in The Ram, if it’s still there. Does Firehouse still do pizzas?

Me: Yeah, definitely.

William: Does it? Alright, that’s what I’ll probably be doing as well.

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