Music interviews Women in Music

Interview with pop soul sensation Odette.

As pop soul as Australian singer songwriter Odette is, she’s very proud how she has managed to incorporate her own unique touch to the Australian music landscape. With Watch Me Read You, Collide and more recently her new single Take It To The Heart making inroads on indie radio and Spotify playlists, fans are truly left wanting more! The good news is that Odette is about to drop her debut album To A Stranger this week. And so, I thought, it would be the perfect time, to discover a little more about this 21-year-old sensation’s new release. Here is a little of what we talked about.

Where do we find you at the moment in the lead-up to the release of To A Stranger?

I’m still writing! Every day, as much as I can. In this very moment I’m sitting in bed listening to ‘All Is Full Of Love’ by Bjork.

What can you tell me about the title of your album To A Stranger? Where did it come from?

I named this album after the really lovely Walt Whitman poem ‘To A Stranger’. My personal understanding of it is this yearning for human connection, this awareness of others but also this sense of loneliness. For me, it sort of sums up the four years in which I was writing the songs for this album. 

I’m equally intrigued by the albums creative artwork with that double exposure effect. It’s startlingly simple, but I can’t help to wonder whether there is a hidden meaning there?

Originally the artwork is a portrait of me by my father. His view of me was beautiful but it made me look so poised, something I definitely wasn’t when this album was being written. So I decided to present it in this distorted way. The two me’s I suppose is representative of how fragmented a person I was.

Its fair to say recording your album was a long time coming. What have you learned about yourself and your own limits making it?

I’ve learned to push myself. To really let go of all my inhibitions in the process of creating. It’s been really incredible learning new things about how producing a record even happens so I’ve definitely learnt to push myself more in that world. I’ve also come to terms with the fact that my writing style is my expression, and not to let people convolute or overly simplify it.

One of the recurring undercurrent sounds on the album is your emotionally charged piano melodies. How important is that to you?

Very. I’ve been playing since I was eight. It’ll always be very special to me.

What was it like working with LA-based, Grammy nominated producer Damian Taylor? He seems to have a real knack of knowing exactly how to add the right elements to compliment your songs. 

Working with Damian was wonderful. He really gets into the artist’s world. He taught me a lot about how to create a world and how to use space in my music. I gained so much musical insight from him. 

Is there anyone particular song on the album that gave you goose bumps when you first wrote it? Can you elaborate a little about how it came to life? And why does it resonate with you so much?

Probably the layered harmonies in ‘pastel walls’. I just love layers of harmonies. This song is also very special to me, I wrote it at a really confusing time in my life. I was sixteen and it was my first spoken word. 

You said recently in an interview that “I think that the most important thing that a woman in a toxic situation can do is to talk about it.” I understand you were referring to Collide, a song about an abusive romantic episode in your life. What has the reaction been like to the song with fans and young women whom have experienced similar situations?

Really positive actually. I think so many women have been in silencing situations, we all have a story. To be able to connect with others who have been through similar things has been really empowering.

One of the songs from your album that intrigues me the most is the swirling synth-laced Come Close. What can you tell us about this surprising gem?

I wrote this when I was over in LA and working with Andrew Wells. He had a really fresh take on pop music and I thoroughly enjoyed working with him. It’s probably the only song on the album that’s not entirely based on a personal experience. It was a story of a siren, laced with the subtle complexities of toxic love. 

Lotus Eaters is raw and intimate. I’m surprised you kept it simple in arrangement? Did you consider adding layers to its sound?

It certainly works wonderfully well as it is. I did consider it actually but it just muddied the lyrics. Damian and I ended up deciding that a raw, one-take, performance best captured the emotional intent of the song. 

Finally, you’re playing some shows in support of your forthcoming debut album in August around Australia. What’s an Odette show like for someone who hasn’t seen you perform? What can we expect?

Whilst all my songs are written mostly on piano, I’m performing this tour with my band! My buddy Liam is on drums and my childhood friend James is on the pads and synths. There are a lot of elements in the tracks that are brought out live. There’ll also be some covers! You can hear my personal stories and thoughts on the record, but this live show definitely captures the life and joy I feel while performing. I can’t wait to show everyone what we’ve been working hard on!

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Odette debut album To A Stranger is out through EMI on July 6. Pre-order HERE. You can connect with Odette via her Facebook page. Follow her on twitter. Listen to her on Spotify. Watch her on You Tube.
Also check out Odette’s To A Stranger National Tour dates via her website HERE.

Photo credit: The header image is courtesy of EMI. I am not the uploader of You Tube clips embedded here.

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