Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music?
It just happened, really. In my early to mid twenties I was encouraged to start singing again which lead me into a whirlwind musical life of cruise ships, choirs, songwriting, backing vocals and function gigs. Somewhere in all this I met Phil Taylor who encouraged me to make an album after hearing the songs I’d written. We seemed to be a great match, so we got to work and he produced my debut album, ‘A Shake Of The Hand’, with a lot of love and care. Phil definitely gave me a lot of confidence to pursue a career as an artist. I am now very much inspired by the public who have reacted very positively to my music. The live gigs have been fantastic and I have had amazing reviews from both the gigs and my record.
Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?
I think harmony is the most important influence in my musical life. It’s something I’m very passionate about and it enriches my musical career immensely. It plays a big part in my songs with all the vocal arrangements I do which has become somewhat of a signature sound. I also love the harmony singing groups I run, singing backing vocals in different bands and doing vocal arrangements for clients. I just adore it!
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
As an artist, my career is still in its early stages, so I’m sure I’m heading for some challenges. One challenge I can recall was when I was finishing my album. I had one song left to write as the album was too short. Up until then I had just written songs at my leisure and now I had to sit down and sweat one out! That was challenging as I’d not been in that songwriting mode before. I’m pretty chuffed with the result. I wrote “Silly Happy”.
Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?
I am incredibly proud of my album, “A Shake Of The Hand”. Really proud. It was a long time in the making and I don’t regret a second of over time. It’s so worth putting in the time and effort to get it just as you want it. I really love the track “A Thousand Autumns”. I think that’s the track where the majority of the session musicians are on it. The beautiful Indian vocals by my friend, Kartik, were added at the last minute and it just transformed the track. I love it!!
I’m also really proud of my live band which is quite different to what’s on the album. We’ve basically condensed all that’s on the album into a five piece band. Here is a video of us playing at Whitby Musicport Festival
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
I don’t have a favourite concert venue, to be honest. It’s all about what goes down in the space you’re in for me
Who are your favourite musicians?
Vocally I like Rachelle Ferrell, Lalah Hathaway, Dionne Farris, Stevie Wonder, George Benson…
Instrumentally I’ve been obsessing over solos by the likes of Larry Carlton, Michael Brecker, Katisse Buckingham and Jaco Pastorius.
What is your most memorable concert experience?
Just before my band kicked off our mini UK tour at Wigan Jazz Festival, I’d done three loud nights doing backing vocals with T’Pau. Unfortunately, I lost my voice and was due to play Wigan the next day! I couldn’t hide it, but with a lot of careful note choosing and extra help from my backing vocalist, Kartik, I managed to get through it. I was terrified as it was the first gig of our tour and I had to explain it to the audience as I didn’t know if my voice would last. It turned out to be a really great gig. My band were fantastic and the audience were so supportive and encouraging. It was amazing, actually. I really felt the love and got a few hugs of appreciation at the end of the concert too!
As a musician, what is your definition of success?
Having the freedom, courage and ability to create the music that you want, regardless of what happens to it in the ‘business’ sense. If you have been blessed with a precious musical talent and you have put in the time and effort to be the best you can be without comparison to others, that’s success. If it’s something that’s needed in the world, I believe the product will find its place, but that’s not up to the musician.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
I’d say identity what really matters to you musically and pursue that. Once you’re on that path, you’ll learn and grow as you go along.
Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
I’d like to continue to be happy, healthy, full of life and still running around singing and laughing
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I prefer to focus on expressing happiness in the world
What is your present state of mind?
” …..original numbers with the verve and energy of R&B …… a fine singer, with a charming and warm presence …..”
The Sunday Times.
Odette performs at The Jazz Room at The Bull’s Head, Barnes, SW London on 13 February 2018.