In a wonderfully candid conversation Ivor Novello Award winning singer songwriter Tom Odell remembers – and sings – the first song he ever wrote as a child and reveals his latest musical ideas, all recorded on his phone’s Voice Memo. He discusses the influence of his song-writing heroes, Fleet Foxes, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello and Leonard Cohen, and why staring out of windows is the key to lyrical inspiration.
The song I wrote: Another Love, 2012
The song I wish I’d written: Thunder Road, Bruce Springsteen, 1975
The song I’m writing: various untitled demos recorded on iPhone 2019
John says: Although we’re used to hearing rough demos of songs, usually released as part of box-set re-releases of classic albums, it’s rare to hear an artist feeling their way through the very first sketches of words and melody. I was amazed when Tom pulled out his iPhone and played me several home recordings he’d made the night before, making it up as he went along, finding his way by simply following the piano chords that were forming under his fingers. Wonderful! He also tells me why he chose Thunder Road as the song he wishes he’d written, rather than The Beach Boys’ God Only Knows, which he says is the best song ever written.