Some modern artists are a bit bland and lifeless whereas some artists fizzle with an intensity that leaves you in no doubt that they treat their musical talent not as a job but as a calling. Odette has had enough knocks to make many sane people consider throwing in the towel and she has proved herself to be a welcome addition to any business department but the lure of making music proved too much.

RoomThirteen was lucky enough to catch up with the singer, songwriter and musician whilst she still has time to spare.

R13:Odette, for people who may not be familiar with your or your music, can you give us some background to yourself?
O:I started taking piano lessons as a child, writing poems about 9, studied jazz and got into a band at High School. My first band was a Pink Floyd tribute band act which was fun, playing their tunes and we also wrote some songs in their own style, so we had original material too. After that, I auditioned to be in a girl band in Italy, I got in and was the keyboard player and one of the main singers. That is where my commercial career started and we played together for a couple of years.
R13:Not too many artists on RoomThirteen have been in a girl group, how was that experience?
O:We played gigs around Italy, recorded an album, did photoshoots, all the stuff you would expect, we got a record deal but then nothing much happened after that. It’s a story that has been told so many times but it was very disappointing to me. We were actually blocked for around 5 years under the terms of the contract and as I was a co-writer of the songs, I found that all of my songs were blocked too.

R13:That must have been very frustrating, how did you react?
O:My management took me to off to America to try and become a solo artist where again I nearly made it. The comments from the A&R guys was really positive, there was talk of Sony being interested and I was being billed as a new talent where my songs could come to the fore. I was presented to the affiliates, a month went by and then I was told I just missed out for some reason or other and it was awful.
I decided I can’t do this anymore, I went back to University, studied business and forged a career from there and my last job was at MTV. I was having a good business career but I was not very happy and when I had my child, I had a lot of time to think and after my maternity leave; I never went back and decided to go back to my music career.
From there, I recorded an album with a producer I knew from my time in the Pink Floyd tribute act and we did everything here in London and now I am currently working and promoting the record.

R13:You mentioned Pink Floyd, and you recorded your debut record, ‘Just Me’ in Britannia Row Studies, which was founded by Nick Mason, from Pink Floyd. How was the experience?
O:I think that was one of the first things that attracted us, that and the fact it was a ten minute walk from my flat. We both love Pink Floyd, although my producer even more so than me, he spent the first day caressing the instruments and gadgetry! It was a magical thing as we visited a few studios and obviously I was on a tight budget but we managed to negotiate a good deal. Many studios were flexible but because we could use the downtime at Britannia Row, and although their gear was retro, it was great and suited our live acoustic mood, it just made sense and everything fell into place.

R13: Would it be fair to say that making this album has been one of the more positive times in your musical career?
O:The creative process has never been a difficult aspect for me but this was more satisfying as I was setting the style, I was pushing the arrangements and the songs, I was choosing the sounds I like and I was the driver in all of this.

R13:Its coming through that its the album you wanted to make, tell us about your album ‘Just Me’?
O:It has fourteen songs plus an extended version of what we think will be the major single, which will be coming out in January. It’s all very diverse, the songs I was writing are not similar and that’s because I like so many different types of music. I am influenced by what I hear and one day I can write a jazz song and then the next, a UK indie rock type track. Its all facets of myself and it didn’t make sense to limit the style, as it was all me. We tried to make it sound like an album through certain aspects such as my vocals or the production but its a diverse record. I’m very satisfied as it is very interesting as it’s not really a continuation of what came before; each song tells its own story.
There is some American style country rock, maybe like Shania Twain or Lene Marlin and then you have the slightly psychedelic songs. The second song on the album has a sparse and psychedelic sound. I couldn’t say track which I prefer but there is one song with just piano and voice. It’s a raw sound and song but it is about hate and about people who are hated and abused so that’s what the sound is about. And I think it works well.

R13:Do you worry about what critics say?
O:I do what I enjoy and what I like, which is great but I maybe need to understand that what I do and what I like is not going to be commercial and there will be people who do not like it. I didn’t get back into this for the money, I really did it because I need to do it and it gives me passion. For me, its important people like what I do because this will allow me to continue doing this and to make shows, which will fill the need I have to record and perform. Without people liking me or seeing my shows, I can’t afford to do it.
However, it is important to know I affect and touch people because if I don’t touch them with the emotions I feel than I am failing. Of course, I will give some people more weight or importance than others in their opinion but I am definitely influenced by many sources. It won’t be at a conscious level but I do act on what I hear, see and feel.

R13:You’ve talked about Pink Floyd and you list The Beatles as an influence. As an artist, how do you feel about the Beatles Re-Masters and people re-buying records they already own, perhaps instead of new acts?
O:It’s possibly an indication of the failure of music today. For me, The Beatles are probably the biggest band ever, they are innovators and no one has done that in the same way. There are bands out there today, amazing groups, singers, songwriters that would be able to be innovators but they aren’t given the chance.
Today’s music is a lot like fast food and I speak very vocally about this on a clip that can be found on Youtube. All these reality TV shows and the fact that the majors have been hiding their heads down a hole about music today has left the music industry facing the fact that there is very little money to invest and it is a terrible situation. People are reverting to quality and The Beatles are quality.
I agree with them, it is better to buy two or three Beatles albums, even two or three versions of the same albums than to buy a lot of the stuff that is being pushed today.
I’m not saying there aren’t great bands today, there are, a lot of the current Indie bands are great, I listen to XFM a lot. Okay, I’m a female, not a 28 year old male but I enjoy a lot of the music I hear on the radio but what worries me is that things zoom past and they are gone. There is no building, there is no room to play or experiment and grow. I think people like to buy the old stuff as there was the room for bands to develop.
Do I like that? No, I wish there was a way to evolve from where we were to a place where there is real belief in music and art, as opposed to a barrage and quantity and people wanting to be famous.

R13:You state you will hopefully have some shows in the Winter, any further news on that?
O:It’s very expensive, as a singer songwriter to organize a tour and hire a full band but in January, I am going to do a showcase at the MIDEM music festival in Cannes on the 24th Jan. I am going to invest in this and showcase my full album, the festival comes up once a year and it could really open up opportunities for me and I am going to be working with some musicians who have worked with Annie Lennox and James Morrison. I am terrified at the prospect of it but I am really looking forward to it to. I really like writing, recording and performing so this has been missing from my life.
Before then, I am setting up some Cafe Nero gigs, which should be good and cheaper to organize. I am still learning to play a guitar so I need to have a guitarist playing alongside me. I will be doing these in December around the UK and I am hopefully arranging some shows in other venues around the UK. I have been in contact with the Troubador in London and trying to arrange a date, so this is all other parts of the puzzle I am trying to work with.

R13:You have a rather popular and busy page on facebook and you twitter, do you enjoy interacting with your fans?
O:I do, I really do and I wish I could get more interaction with my fans. It seems slow at the moment but I have been told by experts that it is normally slow to develop this interaction. For instance, take facebook, the first 100 people or so were my friends but after that, I was being contacted by people I had never met and don’t know and they decided to become a fan, which is incredible and flattering and beautiful. I wish I could know about what they like and what they want to hear.

I am a bit shy and don’t know how much I should push before it pisses people off and I’m not from the UK, so sometimes I am insecure about whether I know the culture of people here and how I should interact. I’m lucky that I have a very international background but at times this makes me seem like a floating person that doesn’t have an expert knowledge of other cultures or customs. I throw stuff out there to see what reaction I get and although it hasn’t been overwhelming yet, I am hopeful that good communication will follow.

R13:As an artist, what do you feel about innovations like Spotify? Does it differ from how you feel as a music fan?
O:Spotify has deals with the artists and labels and I have signed up to join with Spotify but they haven’t got back to me yet. Obviously they are dealing with the major labels first of all.
I am completely comfortable with that as it is just as different way to consume music and a different revenue structure. As long as artists and songwriters are getting paid, then it doesn’t have to be a bad thing and I am open to new things. As a consumer, I don’t download things for free but then again, I don’t steal things, I would feel uncomfortable at doing that. In doing that, you are not allowing the industry to continue so yes, as an artist and a consumer, I am very comfortable with Spotify.

R13:What do you hope for in your musical career?
O:I would aim to gain some interest with this first album, gather a loyal fanbase, grow it and hopefully gain credibility and interest from the industry. I would like to gain respect as a singer and as a songwriter and understand what works and what doesn’t on the album.
From there, I would hopefully gain enough knowledge and money to get the chance to do a second album. I have more songs written and I am keen to do more and learn more and with a second album, I would love to crystallise the experiences of the first album and get better and better. Some people crave fame but fame for me is the opportunity to work with more creative people and have the funds to implement the freedom to work without making mistakes.

R13:You say that you would love to work with other creative people, which artists would you would like to work with?
O:I saw the most amazing concert of the year a few days ago, which was Green Day. I would love to work with Billie-Joe Armstrong as he is incredible, a very creative driving force of a person. Also, Peter Gabriel and Annie Lennox stand out as big inspirations coming from here in the UK. How they work and how they are as people and how they have evolved is inspiring. I would like to work with people I could learn from. From that, Robert Plant seems like an inspirational person and really nice guy, so he would be great to work with but anyone I have respected or have shown a real creative talent and treat music as an art would be good.

With so much behind her and yet just starting out on the road with her debut album, there is no doubt we will be hearing a lot more from Odette in the months and years to come.