Born in England and raised in the inner western suburbs of Sydney, Odette grew up with an eclectic musical palette. Her South African mother introduced her to African music, soul, funk and rhythm; while her English father, hailing from a long line of jazz pianists, introduced her to new wave, jazz and passed on his musical talents. Odette has played piano since she was a child and her highly emotive use of the instrument lives at the centre of her songs, a grounding motif of her heritage. Captivating in presence, Odette’s songs are deeply personal and see her flutter from spoken word into warm, soulful vocals, with arrangements circling soul, jazz and pop.
— — —
SunCity Paradise: Kicking it off with Sydney, what really stands out and makes it special to you? Where would you send a first-time visitor to get a real sense of the city?
Odette: The food is pretty neat. I’d send a first-time visitor to Chinatown or into the main City for delicious food and treats. There are some really nice bars in Surry Hills too if they wanted a wild night out. What makes Sydney special to me is definitely the bars in inner west suburbia. I’m not much of a club-goer, so I love having a wild night somewhere I know and somewhere I can explore with my close mates.
SCP: What was your first real exposure to music? How did you get inspired to create your own and eventually pursue it as a career?
O: My parents always played music. Dad played piano and my mum was always singing along to something. I remember when I was younger I was introduced to the idea of being a singer-songwriter through artists like Missy Higgins and I became completely entranced with that world. My mother picked up an upright piano from a guy that was selling it just outside of Sydney and the rest is history I guess.
SCP: To create music, and traveling to promote it, must be such a feeling. What’s the most impactful and meaningful part you cherish about it? Does the travel help inspirationally?
O: I really love having the opportunity to meet people in this industry from all over the world. I really learn so much and honestly love to exchange ideas with people. I find it really interesting. Also yes, traveling is incredibly inspirational. I write most of my songs based off personal experiences, so the more experiences I have, the more I write.
SCP: Your two singles “Collide” and “Watch Me Read You” have been widely received and listened to. What does each song mean to you? How cool is it to see something you created spread through the airwaves with such fervor?
O: I wrote both of those songs in the same time period. Honestly, listening back to these songs is interesting, because I can see now how I was in such an intense headspace. I had been going through it with a pretty terrible person. It was a very silencing experience. So to have these songs be received as they have has been incredible. It’s been such an amazing feeling to know that I can speak openly through my music, and have it be understood and loved by people who might be experiencing something similar. Or, who even just like the song regardless of its context. It’s quite an overwhelming feeling … in a good way.
SCP: What’s one stark difference between traveling as an artist versus personal travel?
O: I feel a little less messy when I’m traveling as an artist in all honesty. Sometimes I get very caught up in my own world and it gets a little much, but if I have a focus and something to take up the space in my brain that usually is reserved for being a stress-head, I can appreciate where I am more. I feel as if I notice the landscape and the people and the culture of where I am a lot more if I’m in the area for a reason.
SCP: When searching for a personal getaway, are you looking for a serene beach or after a more active, adventurous getaway? Why?
O: Active and adventurous. I like to be busy and immersed. I’ve never really been a sucker for a tropical beach getaway I feel like I’d just get bored. Maybe if I was learning diving or doing treks it’d be alright, but otherwise I just don’t feel drawn to that type of vacation.
SCP: One of our core objectives at SCP is to bring people together while traveling, not only to influence people to see and appreciate our beautiful world, but to also minimize cross-cultural divides. What effect does traveling, specifically surrounding music, have on humans in this regard? How has it broadened your perspective of the world?
O: Music is truly one of those things that can transcend any cultural or language barriers, as corny as that is. I still stand by it. I feel like it kind of opens a door to someone’s personal world and we, as listeners, are almost voyeuristic in a way, as we peek into their lives and their thoughts. I’ve been exposed to so many different ways of communicating and thinking just by listening to different artists so I definitely think that the impact music has on people is profound without us even realizing it.
SCP: Everyone has a list of places that they still have to hit. What are three destinations, either work or pleasure, that you need to see? Why?
O:Canada, because I often fantasize about having a cabin near a trek and waking up to the bitter cold. Greenland, because I have this weird obsession with it. I’ve been following this one Greenland magazine for years, and I’ve versed myself with some of the old tales like the Wolf Children’ — all sorts. Yeah, I’m very into Greenland. I also need to go to South Africa, because I have never been, and I know I have so much family their that I’ve never met, so that’s definitely high up on my list.
SCP: Lastly, what do the next couple of months have in store for you?
O: Lots! I have some sold out shows coming up in Sydney and Melbourne. I also have some shows I’m opening for Kate Miller-Heidke in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne. I’m very very excited to be out on the road, showing people what I’ve been working on!