Last week, UK singer songwriter Tom Odell was in Sydney on a promotional tour of his new album Long Way Down. Not only were we able to catch his impressive showcase, we managed to get some time with the Brits Critic's Choice Award Winner to chat about his music, his love of touring, his fans, wanting the world to be one happy place and also his very interesting and convincing view on the question of what came first, the chicken or the egg? Get ready, get set, its the SnapCacklePop interview with Mr Tom Odell...
Hey Tom welcome to SnapCacklePop
Firstly congrats on a great showcase, the song Sense gave us goose bumps all over.
Oh cheers, thanks...
This is your first time in Australia, how are you finding it?
Really enjoying it, didn't know what to expect but seems like a lovely country.
How long you here for?
Just till next week and will be sad to leave. We just got back from Texas and it was 45 degrees so wasn't very enjoyable in that heat, like here.
We saw you were on tour in the US, how was it over there?
Yeah, its kind of different in each state. It's so big over there. We played some quite big shows in LA and on the west coast, but in the middle no one really knew who I was and in New York people knew me, so its kind of different.
So lets go back to the beginning of the year when you won the Brits Critics Choice Award, how was that?
It was really good and seems like a while ago now.
Do you feel there is a lot of pressure on you now to follow the success of previous winners like Jessie J, Emeli Sande and Adele?
There was at the beginning but not now. It's amazing to have a Brit Award, but for a few months after, you get people coming along to gigs, along with the true fans, standing with their arms crossed, trying to tear holes it my music. Because if you win a Brit Award, especially the Critics Choice, you have been put up quite high, you know what I mean. That was a little frustrating, but still winning that award was fucking amazing and a great honour.
So you are over here promoting your new album Long Way Down, care to explain the title?
It's the second to last song on the album and its funny when you choose an album title, as sometimes it is hard to get across the meaning. I knew very clearly what it had to be called that however to explain this to someone else - I haven't found the right answer. That said, the track Long Way Down encapsulates what I wanted to get across on the album, so it kind of felt right.
So, for those people who have not heard of your music, how would you describe it yourself?
Trying to make unguarded music, that is very honest and has alot of emotion in it and isn't ruled by a beat, its ruled by the lyrics and the melodies.
They are very emotional lyrics and very much around relationships aswell...
Yeah I didn't intend on that but it just happened that way. When I was writing, it was what I was thinking about alot.
We've read that you've never had a relationship that lasted more than 6 months, are you worried about dating again, as girls may feel they could end up on a song?
Not really and I reckon I can do over 6 months, I think it will happen...
Are you dating right now?
Maybe, maybe not...
Oh keeping the fans guessing, we like it. So after Australia you head back for a massive tour of the UK?
Yeah we have some festivals in the UK, then back to America for a full tour, then UK for my full tour. We're touring till the end of the year actually.
You have previously said, when you first started playing piano when you were younger, you kept it a secret as it was deemed "uncool" - why was that?
I wasn't really a secret, it was more I didn't feel the need to tell people about it as i was doing it for my own reasons. It wasn't to show off, it was more cathartic. I found alot of pleasure in it. I was never forced to play the piano, it was something I did off my own back and discovered. Kind of like when someone discovers rock and roll, it becomes very personal and it was a way to express myself. It was my own thing.
Elton John is one of your musical influences, who else?
Elton I discovered when I was just starting to song write and his influence became very key to musical journey. But I also listened to a lot of Ray Charles, Neil Russell, Bob Dylan, Tom Waite. First band I really got into were Arcade Fire, but there are so many more. However I have never really just stuck to listening to one type of music, it's always been quite eclectic.
So what is planned for the rest of the year? Since winning the Brit Award you life must of changed quite dramatically?
It has a bit. We are travelling a lot.
Is it what you thought it would be?
I really love touring and playing to crowds and my fans. Particularly in europe where its we are able to play to crowds that know the songs and sing along. Feels good you know.
Funniest tour experience so far?
We tend to have a lot of problems whilst on tour, like some of our stuff not making it onto the plane. That happen the other day where we didn't have a piano...
Kind of a key thing for you to have a piano...
Yeah. Oh the bus broken down in America. Actually all these things seems to happen when we are in America. The tyre blew up on the bus in Texas as it was so hot and we were stuck on the side of the motorway. All character building stuff.
And you have said you love seeing your fans whilst touring, any crazy one's starting to appear?
Not crazy, however now with social media like Twitter, I think you are constantly in contact with your fans and I have to say I wouldn't be here without them. My fans are very good to me. When I was last in Belgium, there was a package of gifts, which wasn't just like a bottle of wine, there were some very personal gifts that they had really thought about. It was just very nice.
So before we get to the SnapCacklePop Big 5 questions this week, summarise your music..
Piano, drums, lyrics - tried to make the most honest album I could. Make an album that takes you on a journey, through relationships and feelings and its not trying to hide anything, its very honest and very personal
So the SCP big 5 questions this week are...
Who do you have a celebrity crush on?
Always had a soft spot for Kirsten Dunst
If you had a superpower what would it be an why?
It's a strange one. I'd love to be able to put people in good moods. You know when someone is feeling down, it would be great to have a power to make them feel better.
So you want to make the world a happy place. What was your nickname at school?
It was just Odell or shorty. I was very small, very short, so there was a lot of short, small based jokes. Very hurtful.
Most funny dating experience?
I've had some funny dates in my time, but best I not talk about them.
Lastly, what do you think came first the chicken or the egg?
I think the egg came first because what's easily conceived out of nothing is an egg compared to a whole chicken. And as eggs grow into chicken, but the chicken isn't grown, that means the egg must of come first!
We like your logical thinking and most probably the best response we've ever had to that question. Tom Odell, thank you so much for your time, good luck with your album and see you back in Australia very soon.
Thanks guys, see you soon
Tom Odell's album Long Way Down is available on iTunes now..!