Interview Series: Odessa

The sometimes Los Angeles-based musician, Odessa, is a kaleidoscope kind of woman. At different twists and angles she seemingly reinvents herself and has the rest of us wondering where she came from. She is strikingly beautiful, but to see only that is an injustice to the life she has spent studying, playing, and writing music. She grew up classically trained on the violin, and as anything we learn in our youth it becomes a language of our interior. Odessa led an impressive musical life playing with huge names around the world, but there was something uncharted beckoning this little blonde to move beyond. In 2014 she struck out on her own on with the release of her first song, I Will Be There, which happened to be a mega hit and pluck the heart strings of pretty much everyone. Now working on the release of her second album this creative creature is making music built from the heart up. And we are beyond eager to hear what that sounds like.



LF: People got all hot and bothered with the release of your first song, I Will Be There. Did you feel a certain pressure to deliver after such an impressive first impression?

O:  I always feel a pressure to deliver something better than my last attempt. Its just about growing as an artist.

LF: With that under your belt and now working on your second album, how is this go around different?

O: This time is different because it’s into the future. I have experienced many things over the last three years. I have a whole new slew of things to write about.

LF: It’s impossible to read an interview with you that doesn’t mention your bike accident. It was a massive turning point for you it seems, leading you to strike out on a solo career. Is that true? And how much it help shape the first album?

O: Well, I usually mention my accident in passing in interviews, and it’s something that people latch on to. Yes, it was an awakening experience, but I had been working on my own music long before the accident. The accident caused me to take a long look at my life and understand how thankful I am to be healthy and alive. There aren’t any songs about it on my first album, but there will be on the next.


LF: What sort of experiences are laying a creative hand on the process for the new album?

O: Places, I’ve done a lot of traveling this year. Across the United States and up into cold Canada, Africa in April, and I’m always dreaming about all the places I want to go so I feel like I’m constantly moving. I moved back to Nashville for one month this year, rented an apartment, bought a piano, and then promptly moved back to LA. I do that a lot, move. It keeps me creating, the movement and motion and figuring out relationships, and just living. Everything I write about is a narrative of what’s happening around me.

LF: Should we be expecting a similar sound, or is this one a departure from the first?

O: It’s something new, not a complete departure, but not at all the same.

LF: I am always fascinated by the way people create. What does your process look like? I’ve heard you have your hands on every stage of the writing and production, is this true?

O: Yes. I write all my own songs and all the arrangements are my own… I write something everyday. Sometimes it’s not music, sometime it’s a sketch,  or just a piece of music without words. I fall off the wagon and get distracted with dealing with menial life shit sometimes, but I keep a steady routine of creation going on. And then after some time passes, I assess what I’ve got.


LF: You’ve already had an impressive career with previous projects like bluegrass band Bearfoot and playing violin for Edward Sharpe, among other adventures. I’d imagine some rather surreal stage moments. What stands out in your memory the most?

O: Playing with Edward Sharpe was a surreal experience. We played in a castle in Italy once. That was one of my favorite moments.

LF: I read somewhere, that you didn’t feel ownership over the songs you were writing while playing Bluegrass. Is that something you are feeling now or at least getting after now?

O: Yes. My songs are truly who I am. I can feel if something isn’t real to me now, and then I don’t use it.


LF: What does that ownership feel like?

O: It feels sacred. It’s an honor to write music.

LF: Is it easier to be a solo artist now, not so many cooks in the kitchen? What are the plus and negs of this new path?

O: It’s not easier being a solo artist in my opinion, but the reward is greater. Playing with a band provides a certain comradery and support that you don’t have being alone, but I enjoy the solitude.

LF: I am always eager to ask people this, but you in particular, because you’ve moved around so much. What are your thoughts on the idea of home?
O: “Home is where the heart is.” This is a cheesy thing you see written on distressed wood on people’s doors, but I have found that it’s true.


LF: What is better for your art, love or heartbreak?
O: Well, I can’t have one with out the other…  so both I guess.

LF: If you were reincarnated who do you think you were before this, and who would you like to be next?

O: I think I was some sort of human explorer. Next I would like come back as an animal, maybe a gazelle.

LF: Finish the sentence: I am most myself when ____________.

O: I’m alone.

LF: How FAST do you live?

O: Pretty fucking fast.

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