EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Odette Chats About Her Album ‘To A Stranger’

Australian singer-songwriter Odette is a sweet, smart and badass woman to look out for. This 21-year-old artist has boundless potential and is quickly accelerating to the upper realms of pop’s newcomers. Her music is an intoxicating blend of soul, pop, and jazz that has managed to cut through the clutter of millions of songs released every day.

Odette was just 17-years-old when she began working on the bones of what would eventually become. ‘To A Stranger’ is the latest offering by Odette that shows her intent to make 2019 her own. Released worldwide via EMI Music Australia / Caroline International, this highly anticipated album titled ‘To A Stranger’ is a bold and confident debut record, brimming with enchanting melodies, sophisticated compositions, and lyrical meditations, intermingled with spoken-word poetry on love and life plucked straight from the heart.

The fourteen-track album includes her breathtaking debut single ‘Watch Me Read You’ along with follow-up singles such as ‘Collide’, ‘Take It To The Heart’, ‘Lotus Eaters’– all of which are standout tracks that have set the tone of her album. ‘To A Stranger’ is produced by Damian Taylor, whose previous accolade of work includes Björk, Arcade Fire, The Killers, and The Temper Trap. This album is an inherently personal record; it’s Odette’s study of herself, capturing every fear and hope she had in her final teenage years before adulthood took hold. The songs map every scar and heartbreak enacted during what she describes as “the hardest years of my life so far”, and she’s immensely proud of being able to use music to write her way out of that time.

After finishing her first headline UK and EU tour and recently wrapping up another headline tour in Australia, we had a chance to sit down with Odette at CelebMix and chat about her latest album, musical career so far, future plans and much more. Read below to know more.

Hi Odette. Welcome to CelebMix. How have you been doing this week?

I’ve been really enjoying the days recently! I’ve been nursing all these plants and writing heaps of new songs.

While doing a little research about you, I found out that Odette is, in fact, your middle name. What’s the story? How did you come up with the decision of using ‘Odette’ as your work name in the industry?

It’s really not a very good story. I loved Rihanna when I was a kid and when I found out that was her middle name I thought it was the coolest thing ever. So here we are, haha.! (laughs)

How did you embark on your music career? Did you always want to become a musician?

I’ve always loved music since I was very young. I don’t think there was another career path that I was so invested in from such an early age. I knew it was what I wanted to do and when I met my manager it all sort of kicked off quite early as well. I love this industry because there are no traditional limitations like in a normal workplace. Everyone is constantly evolving and growing.

Earlier, you’ve released your debut album ‘To a Stranger’ and I must say, it is an effortless piece of art. Tell us about the inspiration behind it? How did you come up with the idea of writing this one?

Oh, thank you! It really is just this chronicle of my 16th to 19th years on this earth. I was incredibly distraught and overwhelmed but at the same time, I guess I thought I knew everything about how to endure conflict. ‘To A Stranger’ is always changing it’s relationship to me as I grow older. I can listen back now and hear how naive I was. But I was also very hopeful. I’m proud of it.

You’ve spent almost two to three years working on your debut album. How has the process of writing and recording been? Were you satisfied with how it ended up?

It was actually a very challenging process in the beginning. I didn’t know how to communicate the sounds I was hearing in my mind and I found it very frustrating. Over time, Damian worked with me to improve this and I found the entire process to be learning this new language. I’m very grateful to everyone who worked with me on this record. They were invested in listening to me and trying to bring my world to life.

You’ve also recently finished your successful UK & EU headline tour. How does it feel to be able to perform your own music in front of thousands of people? Is it nerve-wracking?

It was insane. Connecting with people is why I do anything, so to be able to connect with hundreds of people each night is completely electrifying. It’s been amazing.

Do you think music, in general, has therapeutic benefits to treat anxiety, depression and helps a person in healing and relaxing?

In my opinion, music is all of those things but not because that is inherently what it is. I know there are songs I can’t listen to when I’m depressed because they will bring me down. Music is exactly what you want it to be in that moment. It’s a language.

Odette, you’re a very deep and mature songwriter. Which is your favorite song or lyric written by you?

Thank you, I don’t always feel that mature! I don’t think I have a favorite lyric. If I had to choose it might be a line from Lotus Eaters. That was my favorite song when I wrote it. It holds many images from my young adolescence.

Do you remember the first ever song that you wrote and what it was about?

It was called ‘Best Friend’ and I wrote it because I really wanted a best friend.

How will you describe your relationship with music in three words?

Changing, complicated, everlasting.

Who are your major musical inspirations, dead or alive? Have these influences changed over time?

I have so many. Joanna Newsom, Laura Mvula, Phillip Glass, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Carole King. I could go on and on it’s never-ending.

What according to you is your major accomplishment in your career till date?

Releasing my album. It was the start of a great love between me and a lot of people and I’m forever grateful for that.

Do you have your favorite star struck moment which is memorable to you?

I played in front of John Travolta at this Gala in LA once and I remember I felt so sick. I was so nervous because I had to walk in front of his table and it was honestly terrifying.

Who are your current favorite artists from the industry? If offered, with whom would you like to do a collaboration?

I love Oh Pep, Angie McMahon, Dermot Kennedy. So many artists. I’d love to collaborate with flume. We’d make something insane.

How do you unwind yourself while taking a break from working? Where can we catch Odette when not in the studio?

At home. I love being at home. It’s my nest. By taking care of it, I feel like I take care of myself.

What’s next on Odette’s career bucket list? Any exciting plans for 2019 that you’d like to share with your fans?

Splendour!! I’m so excited!! It’s truly a dream come true. I’m also working on something new at the moment but more on that later!

To know more about Odette, check out here.

Tweet us your thoughts about ‘To a Stranger’ by Odette at @CelebMix

Written by Khushboo Malhotra

Autodidactic Ambivert!
Music gives wings to my mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.
Have a story? Contact at [email protected]
Twitter: @KhushMalhotra
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