boohooMAN meet Tom Odell

We caught up with singer-songwriter and all round good lad Tom Odell, just ahead of the release of his new album Wrong Crowd. We were lucky to grab him while he's so busy on his sell out tour No Bad Days, but he made time for the boohooMAN crowd. Check out what happened when we got to know him...

Can you describe your sound for anyone who hasn’t heard you yet?

I write my songs on the piano, and I guess that's always at the centre of the music. The songs are always very lyric led and melodic, and a bit dramatic. I find describing my own sound quite difficult, but hopefully that will shed some light. 

You started writing from a young age; did you always know you’d get into music?

No, it sort of just happened. I started playing piano when I was 7, and then writing songs when I was 12 or 13. I used to come home from school and play for 2 hours every evening, I’d loose myself. Its very cathartic to write songs, and I think honed in that when I was a young teenager. It was only when I was 16 - 17, that I realised I should be probably really give this a real shot, and I started doing lots of gigs.

What/Who were your influences growing up?

I guess I was one of the first generations to grow up with the internet. I had access to everything. So when I wasn’t playing, I’d be constantly searching for music online, and it really didn’t bother me when it was made, as long as it was great. The bands I loved were Radiohead and Arcade Fire, but I always loved Arthur Russell, Dr John, Feist, Supertramp, Simon and Garfunkel, Elton John, Nina Simone, Bowie, Ben Folds. I don’t know, its an endless list. 

Describe a typical day for you.

When I’m at home, I like to read a lot. I’ll jog around Victoria park or maybe go to the gym. I love my piano, and I miss it, so I’ll play that for a while, and then see some friends in the evening. I try to avoid travelling and tend to stay near my place in Hackney.  


You’re currently on your ‘No Bad Days’ tour, what inspired the title?

The album touches on themes of hedonism. Almost nihilism at times, and George Belfield, who helped art direct the album with me, kept throwing around this phrase No Bad Days, an idea of total hedonism, a denial of sadness. Almost desperate happiness! I thought it was an interesting title for a tour, and all the shows we do this year will be going under the name; NO BAD DAYS. 


How does it feel to have a completely sold out tour? Did you know growing up you’d be as successful as you are?

I guess success is relative to the people around you. I don’t feel particularly successful, a lot of my friends are musicians, some who’ve had lots of success, some less so, but ultimately for me I’m only as good as my next song. Dwelling on the past is self indulgent, and I try to avoid it. I’m proud of the work I’ve done, but there is so many songs I still have to write. 

What does your writing process consist of?

It mainly begins with messing around the piano, sometimes guitar, until a chord or melody takes my fancy. I have a lot of lyrics and single phrases written in my notebook, and I often draw one from there, or one might immediately come into my head whilst at the piano. Interestingly with songwriting, I think the strength of a song is not based on how good individually the music or the lyric is, with each year I write songs, I feel its the marriage between the two that makes a song powerful and if it feels truthful. 


Are your lyrics influenced by personal experiences?

Of course, yes! Always.. 

Who would your dream collaboration be with? Dead or alive?

I’d love to work with an amazing film director like Paulo Sorrentino or Terrance Mallik. I'm such a big fan of film, and I love how music and film go together. For me its the most moving art form. I’d love to soundtrack a film, its kind of always been my ultimate dream. 


What can we expect to see this year from you?

I think the best way to hear Wrong Crowd is live. And we are going to be touring the album all over the world for the next year or so, and I'm really excited about it. After that, well I’ve been writing a lot and I’d love to make another album very soon. 

Can't wait? Get his album first and pre-order here >> Wrong Crowd  

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