Tom Odell is the type of guy who doesn't make a big fuss out of himself. However, that is just the reason why everyone else is fussing over him. He moved the audience in the Main Tent and called Joensuu a beautiful city in an interview just moments before the gig.
Tom Odell behind his piano. Photo: Pauli Järviluoto
Tom Odell walks to a Finnish stage for the first time and the crowd welcomes him by clapping and screaming loudly. He has changed the leather jacket he wore in the interview just moments ago to a denim one. He is an everyman, with just the right composition of good looks and bad boy appeal, who has risen to success. His piano-based melancholic pop is just the thing that the festival audience wants. Odell has a keen eye on talent and he has surrounded himself with other talented musicians.
His biggest hit Another Love was performed at the end of the gig, but the audience was on the ride right from the start. A ten minute delay in the schedule didn’t mind anyone and the gig went overtime to make up this lost time.
The gig follows the classic dramatic arc: at first a little guarded but building up the ambiance towards the climax, in which Odell comes from behind of his piano and sings one song on the catwalk. At this point the last, more cautious fans too are sucked in to the excitement. Then the easygoing songs calm the audience down a bit just to make a big ruckus at the end of the gig. Still, this man is not in anyway a diva.
– So nice of you to come. We’ll entertain you during the rain, he says to the people who ran to the tent just as it started to rain.
However, people didn’t pop to the tent merely to hold the rain. The atmosphere changes surprisingly emotional and the first teardrop falls onto the cheek of an young man. The audience consists of mostly young women and they are clearly as moved as this young man.
Tom Odell moved his audience. Photo: Pauli Järviluoto
Tom Odell is seemingly modest. He stresses that he doesn’t take his success for granted. He believes that he became an artist because he didn’t ever seem to fit in. He gets a sense of belonging while writing and performing songs.
– It is nice to have fans, he says.
Glimpses of the man who persistently toured open mic nights and was heavily criticized can be seen at the beginning of the gig in the 24-year-old man hiding behind his piano. He was discovered by Lily Allen and after that rose to success.
In the interview he talks about how nice it is to live in London: the city is big enough that he can blend into the crowd.
– I love it how I can just be some random guy at the train station. I have managed to keep my personal life despite of my success.
However, the success has changed his life somewhat. It is is much busier and finding time to be creative is more difficult.
– Luckily, I find moments to calm down. I read a lot of books and go for walks, he says.
He had some time in Joensuu and took a stroll on the riverside and tells the audience what a beautiful city Joensuu is.
– Last book I read was William Faulkner’sThe Sound and The Fury. Now I am reading the newest book of Harper Lee. I read mostly American literature, he says.
Odell exposes his heart and soul in his lyrics. The lyrics are based on his own life and that of his closest family and friends.
– I enjoy observing people and their relationships.
His musical idols are, for example Elton John and other songwriters of the 70’s. Lily Allen saw something of David Bowie in him.
Odell is currently making a new album. Although the release date is yet unknown, it is certain that we will hear from him soon.
As I leave the Main Tent after the gig, a rainbow arches over the sky.
Text: Pasi Huttunen
Photos: Pauli Järviluoto
Translation: Tuuli Ahonen