Interview: Lost Picnic bound Odette (Sydney) talks about her debut To A Stranger, her influences and poetry

Last month saw Sydney-based singer-songwriter Odette embark on her first headline national tour supporting her debut album To A Stranger. The tour proved to be a massive success, with the twenty-one year old playing to sold out crowds at each stop! This week she’ll be heading out on the road again, this time supporting The Cat Empire as they make their way around the country, before playing two sets at the Lost Picnic Festival in Melbourne and Sydney in October.

Odette has been writing songs and poetry since she was eight, she was signed at seventeen, and since then has been working towards her debut album. She released her first single “Watch Me Read You” in 2017, and has since gone on to work with Canadian producer Damian Taylor (Arcade Fire, Björk). We caught up with Odette whilst she was on the road, to find out a bit more about her debut – To A Stranger, her eclectic influences and whether we might see her branch out into poetry.

Congratulations on selling out your album tour! That’s got to feel good? How have the shows been going so far?

They have been so amazing. I don’t think I’m going to get used to people singing along to my songs for a long while yet. It’s absolute magic.

Your debut album To A Stranger has been out for just over a month now. What has the reaction to the record been like?

People seem to really be liking it! I’ve heard some really positive stuff which is amazing.

Was there a particular overarching theme, feeling or mood you were aiming for on the record?

I’m not 100% sure. I feel like I knew what I wanted to say when I was writing it and when we were in the process of adding production but now who knows. I’m not the same as I was and I hear the album very differently. I can’t remember. Now for me it’s like a time capsule that holds all my hurt and love in my teen years.

How did you find the process of making the record?

It was very cathartic. I remember the feeling of release once I was satisfied with the songs production and overall sound. It was a way of letting go in a way.

How was it working with producer Damian Taylor? What do you feel he brought to the table?

He is the sickest. A very cool dude. He brought his entire nerd brain to the table and was like ‘let me make this good’ and I was just like ‘yeah, please.’ Honestly, he really made this record everything I wanted it to be and more, it’s cliche but I learnt so much from him.

There is a wonderful literariness to your lyrics, “Watch Me Read You”, with it’s poetic spoken word elements being just one example. Who/what are some of the influences to your lyric writing?

I do quite like poetry. I’m not a die-hard fan but I have a few books that I keep around and read every now and then. I’d say Keats, Whitman, Plath are definitely my top three.

Keats is obviously very romantic and as a kid I was addicted to that. I got older though and realised things can SUCK. Whitman also just, I don’t know, he’s crazy. His accumulative listing gives me life. I had never resonated with another writer the way I did with his works when I read them for the first time. He just saw everything, always, all the time.

Likewise, who are some of the influences on your sound?

Definitely artists like Florence + the Machine, Bjork, Joanna Newsom, and Jack White. I like hearing the story. I don’t like things to be overproduced.

There are numerous examples of musicians entering the world of literature and releasing novels or poetry collections, Nick Cave and PJ Harvey for example. Would you ever consider releasing a poetry collection?

Absolutely. I’ve written quite a fair bit and usually I’d try to turn them into songs but sometimes it just doesn’t need music. I’d love to do something like that.

You got the two Lost Picnic shows coming up in October. Do you find yourself approaching a festival set differently to a solo club show?

A festival set is a lot tighter than a solo show. There can be NO dawdling. (Not that I dawdle…)

What’s next on the horizon for you?

I have no idea but I hope it’s fun.

 

 

Odette will be supporting Cat Empire on their national tour which kicks off at the Odeon Theatre in Hobart tomorrow. For full tour dates and tickets visit HERE

Odette will also be appearing at the Lost Picnic Festival, alongside Tash Sultana, Marlon Williams and more, at Flemington Nursery, Melbourne on October 7th and at The Domain, Sydney on October 13th. For more information and for tickets click HERE (Melbourne) and HERE (Sydney)

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Simon Clark

Simon Clark is the Books Editor at the AU review. A reader of books and admirer of songs, Simon has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature. All errant apostrophes are his, and his alone. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram at @simonjclark

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