“Intense and wonderful” is how singer/songwriter Odette describes her debut into the music industry. Charming, well-spoken and with a voice that perfectly captures the tensions of richly sweet melodies and spoken word, the Sydney-sider has already captured the attention and hearts of many.
Her first single Watch Me Read You was only released in August but has already almost reached one and a half million streams on Spotify at the time of writing. The single is a deep and provocative address of the emotional changes that so many of us face; described as a “fragmented collection of memories”.
Odette has been overwhelmed with the support and messages this song has received, and its diverse interpretation from her audience. What is a personal reflection for the songwriter has become a track with intimate meanings to so many others.
On another level, Watch Me Read You is a playful yet incredibly skilful tapestry of genres, dancing between soulful melodic choruses to fast-paced, tongue-twisting word-plays in spoken word. The influence of storytelling and poetry is entrenched in the songs composition and meaning. At one minute 30 seconds the song samples an interview from poet and activist, Maya Angelou. Odette explains that she was obsessed with this interview, and “just the way she [Angelou] sees the world”.
“It started with me writing poetry… I was writing songs and I thought ‘Why not take it that step further and merge them even more?’” This is how Odette explains the development and inspiration for her hybrid musical style. Inspired by slam and beat poetry, Odette has masterfully intertwined the art form of performance poetry into her music.
Her songwriting is personal, cathartic and very therapeutic, describing her practice as simply putting on paper whatever she is feeling in that moment; “I’m not even thinking when I’m writing… I just write it”.
Amongst Angelou, Odette lists Keats, Walt Whitlam and Sylvia Plath as favourites. Whilst we got sidetracked on our mutual love for Plath (in particular her poem Pursuit), it became apparent that Odette has a love for fierce and intelligent women. Her own unique voice is adding to this space. In a culture that has an increasingly limited attention span, it’s breathtaking to listen to the tensions she creates through swirling rhythms and expectant pauses; Odette leaves you wanting more.
Fortunately for us, she plans on giving us more. Earlier this month Odette played EMI’s New Music Night at Sydney’s The Lansdowne beside other up and comers Evan Klar and Nicole Millar. “I really loved it” she said, encapsulating her excitement and humility of being involved in such an event – especially one where all her friends could come and watch. Odette is in awe of the support she has received from significant parts of the music industry, including her label EMI. Odette said that these people “ground you, support you”; a family-like community.
November is shaping up to be another big month for Odette. She teased us with the release of her next single Collide, which she wrapped filming the video clip for only days before our chat. I’m getting excited. You’ll have the opportunity to catch her live as she performs at The Plot in Sydney on 18 November amongst a stellar line up of Australian musicians. And it doesn’t stop there – it has also just been announced that Odette will be supporting all-time favourite Kate Miller-Heidke at Sydney’s Taronga Twilight concert series in summer 2018. “When I was younger I loved KMH so much,” Odette explained, “I just really respect her as an artist.”
And if that’s not enough to hook you? Odette has promised that there will definitely be an album to come. Looks 2018 is already shaping up to be a good one…
18 November, The Plot, Parramatta Park
10 March 2018, Zoo Twilights At Melbourne