Spotlight on... Tom Odell

Spotlight on... Tom Odell


We announced the nominees for the BRIT Awards with Mastercard 2013 Critics' Choice Award last week and are now excited to bring to you the first of our profiles on the artists nominated.

Ex-Brighton Institute of Modern Music student, 22-year-old singer/songwriter Tom Odell burst on to the scene in late 2012. The West Sussex-born Odell has been writing songs from the age of 13 and with the acclaimed release of his debut EP ‘Songs From Another Love’, he has well and truly put himself on the map for 2013. His is a beguiling mixture of idealism (he wants the music to do the talking, preferably releasing one album a year) and self-confidence (Odell seems to exist happily in his own musical world) becomes somewhat incendiary when coupled with music so magnificently formed as that on his forthcoming debut album.

Tom gave his debut performance on 'Later...With Jools Holland' at the end of November 2012.

We sat down with Tom Odell to discuss his Critics' Choice 2013 nomination. Here's what he has to say...

First of all, congratulations are in order - how does it feel to be nominated for the Critics' Choice Award?

"I feel so lucky, especially with the other acts that have been nominated - they’re all incredible. I feel very proud to be on the same list as them and the same list as previous nominees. It’s such a prestigious award and I feel really, really happy and a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing actually."

"I was just about to play at the Royal Festival Hall supporting Michael Kiwanuka (a former Critics' Choice nominee in 2012), so it was a big night for me anyway! My manager told me and, as you can imagine, I was pretty happy. I told the band on stage whilst we were playing; it was pretty amazing and a great night all round."

How does it feel to be recognised by the BRITs; they must mean a lot to you...

"Well, I remember watching the BRITs when I was a kid and you know the incredible BRIT Awards of the 90’s, where all the crazy stuff used to happen? I’ve just always watched it! It’s just one of those nights that is almost magical: it's British music’s night of the year, and to be involved at this stage of my career is mind-blowing because I didn’t expect it at all, it was completely out of the blue. I mean, I’d do music anyway; I don’t do it for that, but to get recognition makes it all worthwhile. To be recognised by the BRITs just feels really good."

Now, for those that don’t know too much about you, or might be hearing about you for the first time because of this nomination, please tell us a bit about yourself… "I started playing piano at about seven, and ever since I remember I’ve been writing songs. I then moved away to Brighton when I was eighteen where I used to run nights and did loads of open mics. Then I started putting a band together and travelling up to London to play gigs.

"It had just been quite a gradual progression - and then Lily Allen came down to a show and saw me play, and from that I managed to get a record deal. I went to write the record, and now it’s sort of come together.

"We recorded the album over summer and it was the first (single) release about two months ago. That’s been amazing, and we just toured with Jake Bugg and been on the road with Mystery Jets, so we’ve just been doing a lot of touring over the last few months, which has been incredible.

"We’re just finishing up the record, so that’s been keeping me busy too."

You mentioned a few talented British artists there - how do you feel about British music right now?

"I think it’s at its most exciting. I guess I pay a lot of attention to it because I really like and listen to a lot of new music. It feels like there’s a real buzz around it - whether it be with AlunaGeorge or bands like the Palma Violets, Peace etc. It’s just really exciting because I feel like there haven’t been bands recently that have come through and I feel like now it’s really bubbling and you can really see something happening.

"Also, in terms of songwriters, people like Laura Mvula, it’s nice to see and there’s so much to treasure. Although record sales are down and there’s news surrounding it a lot of the time, it’s nice that we always seem to on the verge of new acts. It’s great that the BRITs are applauding new music and providing a platform. I feel like right now is the start of something and, yeah, I think it’s a really exciting time for new music."

And, finally, what would it mean for you to win the Critics’ Choice Award?

"I’m so overjoyed to be nominated that I’m not too worried about winning - I’d love to win, but I don’t really think I will, looking at who I’m up against!

"I was a fan of AlunaGeorge and Laura Mvula for a long time before I heard they were on the same list as me, so I’d be as happy for them to win because they’re just as deserving, if not a little bit more. I would be overjoyed to win, but they deserve it too."

The winner of this incredibly coveted Award will be announced on Thursday 20th December. The second and third places will also be announced on the same day.

The Critics’ Choice Award is for new British acts tipped by critics for mainstream success in the forthcoming year. In previous years it has been awarded to Adele (2008), Florence and the Machine (2009), Ellie Goulding (2010) and Jessie J (2011).

2012’s winner Emeli Sand√© has had a fantastic year. The Scottish singer/songwriter’s debut album ‘Our Version of Events’ scored a Number One in the Official British Chart; she has also had Number One singles with Professor Green and Labrinth. Emeli performed at both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympic Games this summer.





The BRIT Awards 2013 with Mastercard take place on Wednesday 20th February 2013 at The O2 Arena, London.