Interview: Odette on blending poetry and music

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Last week, Odette shared her highly anticipated debut album To A Stranger. The album is an impressive debut, with each track featuring honest and reflective lyrics by Odette. Odette gives us a little insight into the album, as well the influence poetry has on her artistry.

Congratulations on your debut album To A Stranger, what lessons did you learn whilst creating your first LP? 
I figured out who I am as a writer. It gave me so much confidence in myself and my abilities. I also learnt so much about my own presence in the studio. Often in sessions, I would be either very quiet or manically social out of stress but working with Damian gave me this calm confidence. It was really something to be able to think clearly and know that the end product was going to be exactly what I was envisioning.

You got to perform on triple j's Like A Version last month, which must of been very exciting!! What was the experience like? 
It was so wonderful. The other musicians and singers I played with, lots of which were childhood friends, really brought everything to life. The strings were so beautiful and the backing vocals were smooth and lovely. I got goosebumps as we were playing.

'Watch Me Read You' features samples from an interview with Maya Angelou, what draws you to poetry as a songwriter/musician? 
Poetry, I think, is something that conveys a message in a very short time. I love that you can fit so much about a landscape, emotion, person or whatever in just a few pages. I love its varying styles and I love how personal it can be. You really hear someone’s voice or see through somebody else’s eye when you’re reading their poetry. Of course, not all of it’s good. Lord knows I’ve written so many bad poems in my life. I just think that poetry and writing, in general, is a form of expression that is timeless.

What’s similar about poetry and the processes involved in songwriting? 
I mean there are a lot of similarities. Sometimes you can read someone’s lyrics and it’ll be in perfect prose. Other times it’s a stream of consciousness and has no rhyme scheme. I think the one thing that poetry and songwriting has in common for me is that you can create your own rules. You can write however you’d like. I know that sometimes I’ll write in iambic pentameter or tetrameter but halfway in be like ‘screw this I’m going to change the tempo and everything about the song’.

Are there any other poets who you seek inspiration from? 
Definitely poets like Sylvia Plath, Walt Whitman, Maya Angelou and Keats.

Pablo Neruda once said, "Poetry is an act of peace", what's this mean to you as a songwriter and creative? 
That’s beautiful. I’ve never heard that before. Honestly, I’d say that poetry is a calm moment. It clarifies what might be convoluted in your mind, I know this is definitely why I write. I suppose it’s an act of peace for the individual.

How do you plan on celebrating the release of the album? 
Honestly? Sleeping. I’ll hang out with my closest friends and maybe we’ll go a little crazy but I just really need a good sleep.

By Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

You can purchase Odette's album here or stream it via Apple Music

You can catch Odette live during her 'To A Stranger' tour:
Friday 10th August - Ed Castle/Rocket Bar, Adelaide - SOLD OUT
Saturday 11th August - Northcote Social Club, Melbourne - SOLD OUT
Sunday 12th August - Northcote Social Club, Melbourne - SOLD OUT
Tuesday 14th August - Northcote Social Club, Melbourne - SOLD OUT
Wednesday 15th August - Northcote Social Club, Melbourne  - SOLD OUT
Friday 17th August - Newport Hotel, Fremantle
Saturday 18th August - Amplifier, Perth
Friday 24th August - Oxford Art Factory, Sydney - SOLD OUT
Saturday 25th August -Transit Bar, Canberra - SOLD OUT
Sunday 26th August - Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Friday 31th August - Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane - SOLD OUT
Saturday 1st September - Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane - SOLD OUT
More information is available here