Tom Odell | Away from all the noise of his various successes – three UK top 5 albums including the platinum-selling, chart-topping ‘Long Way Down’; two top 10 singles; a 2013 Brit award for Critic’s Choice – there’s one thing that’s always kept Tom Odell grounded: songwriting. A classic songwriter who was awarded a prestigious Ivor Novello award for Songwriter Of The Year – relied on his passion more than ever when it came to crafting ‘numb’, his first single for 2021. Premiered as Radio 1 ‘Hottest Record’ by Jack Saunders standing in for Annie Mac…
After a dark period of mental health stalked most of his 2018 and 19, Tom Odell wrote his way through it, eventually letting down his guard and pouring his feelings into new music that will form his fourth album due later this year. It feels like both a daring creative rebirth and a solidifying of Odell’s strengths. It’s all there in his new single ‘numb’…it’s inky molasses open with Odell’s unadorned vocal over sparse piano – “I hold my hand over the flame, to see if I can feel some pain,” he sings – before eerie, wheezing electronics and layers of clipped beats cloak the song in a sticky sadness. Inspired by experimental musician Mica Levi’s soundscapes, synthetic textures are painstakingly fused with acoustic flourishes. “I would say there was this period where I was just disconnected,” he says of ‘numb’s lyrical inspiration. “I felt bogged down, like I was beginning to lose that sense of lightness.”
Tom Odell has been working as a musician in the public eye since he was 21 when self-penned debut album ‘Long Way Down’ earned him a number 1 album, a top 10 single (the epic Another Love) and a Brit. Now, 30, it’s clear to Tom Odell that the whirlwind around his debut kickstarted a work ethic that eventually became an obsession It reached an apex in September 2019 when Odell, fresh off touring ‘Jubilee Road’, went straight to LA to start writing the next album. “Then this chronic anxiety that I’d had for a couple of years just got worse” Odell woke up one morning “and I couldn’t do anymore music”. He knew something had to change. In the end he flew back home, went straight to his parent’s house and slowly got better.
Slowly but surely, Tom Odell alchemised that experience into a new album. He also realised his broader lyrical horizons needed to be matched by a musical expansion, with a lot of the songs on the album – created alongside songwriter Laurie Blundell and producer Miles James – leaning into a more electronic, bedroom pop sound that Odell has steadily become obsessed with over the last few years. This new found love of DIY electronic pop chimed with the pandemic’s arrival and songs were crafted in a more threadbare way around instruments he had at hand, like Moog synths. It was a move underpinned by both necessity and a desire to explore. So eerie synths and head-rattling beats augment the sound. And while his new music is at times heavy, there’s a lightness of touch that means Odell is able to pull off pop’s greatest trick; hiding sadness in the melodies. In this strangest of times this new music represents the start of chapter two in his ongoing musical journey.
To coincide with the release of ‘numb’ Tom Odell announced an exclusive Virtual Live performance on the Sidedoor platform on February 27th. As this has already sold out, another virtual live performance has been scheduled for April 10th. These will be special interactive evenings where he will answer fan questions and perform intimate shows including never-heard-before songs from his upcoming 4th album. All proceeds from the shows will be donated to Tom’s amazing band and crew whose lives have been turned upside down by the pandemic. More details…
- Virtual Live Show + Q&A – Saturday April 10th 9:30pm GMT // 4:30pm EST // 1:30pm PST
- Buy Ticket link: https://tomodell.lnk.to/april10
- Tickets are capped at 900, so places are on a first-come-first-served basis.
- Ticket price is £15, but fans can choose to donate more if they would like.
Tom Odell image credit Netti Hurley