By Rollo Ross
LOS ANGELES, Jan 26 (Reuters) – British singer-songwriter Tom Odell surged in popularity in the last two years and even returned to the UK charts in 2022 with his 2012 debut single “Another Love”, a song used heavily on social media to soundtrack anti-government protests in Iran and by peace activists in Ukraine.
His latest single “Black Friday”, also the title of his new album released on Friday, appears to follow suit with its themes about self-deprecation and anxiety, and has been used for videos displaying those subjects on TikTok.
“I’ve always had anxiety and over the past five years, it’s been up and down, a struggle with my head and it still is, I would say, a struggle,” Odell told Reuters in an interview in late October.
“But… there is some solace in writing about it and there’s even more solace in then subsequently feeling that other people feel the same way.”
The 33-year-old, whose accolades include winning the prestigious songwriter of the year prize at the Ivor Novello Awards and the critics’ choice award at the BRITs, says the secret to writing good songs is telling the truth.
“When we listen to something, we know what is true and what is not and as a musician, it’s so easy to become cerebral,” he said.
“When music is felt, it’s something that is intuitive and it’s from the heart… It’s something deeper and our job is to get rid of the cerebral and find the stuff from the heart.”
Being a hit on social media has given Odell more time, namely not having to continuously promote his music.
“When I first started my career… so much of my time was spent promoting the music, flying around, doing radio stuff and TV and I do so little of that now and I think a lot of that is because of social media,” he said.
“It’s allowed me to have a direct relationship with my audience and I feel very lucky to have that but when I make records, I have to kind of switch that off to some extent.”
(Reporting by Rollo Ross; Editing by Toby Chopra)